Diabetic group conquers four highest peaks


They arrived at the top, drenched but with seven minutes to spare. A champagne cork was popped on Lugnaquilla mountain in Wicklow and a group of young people with diabetes celebrated. They had just finished climbing the highest peak in each of the four provinces in 36 hours, breaking what the director general of the Irish Diabetics Association, Mr Paul Mooney, said was the previous 48-hour record.

"These weren't super-fit individuals. These are ordinary people who happen to have diabetes. It's important to challenge the misconceptions about diabetes, so that young people who get the condition know that life isn't over," Mr Mooney said.

The weekend climb started at 6 a.m. on Saturday with Slieve Donard in Co Down. They then climbed Mweelrea in Co Mayo and travelled to Kerry. There was another 6 a.m. start at Carrantuohill yesterday morning, where one of the nine people wrenched a knee and had to leave the group. Lugnaquilla was the final peak.

One of the climbers, Mr Fergal Cronin (19) from Cork, said the group was thrilled with the success. "We're all wrecked, but everyone was determined to do it."

Dr Chris Thompson, a consultant from Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, said all the mountain rescue people they had met were amazed at any group undertaking such a feat of endurance.

He carried the champagne to the last peak. "Most of it went over our heads but a few people got a sip."