My Sunrise Summit story!

Irish Red CrossAs a fairly inexperienced climber and someone who is a bit nervous of heights, climbing Lugnaquilla for the Sunrise Summit Challenge 2017 was certainly a challenge for me personally. I had helped to organise the event and really wanted to take part as well so chose to take part in the Lugnaquilla climb.  


We met our guide, Kieron, at 2.20am on a bank holiday Sunday morning, at a cark park that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. He checked that we all had every single item of the necessary equipment with us, including wet gear, head lamps, water and sandwiches!  

We set off into the dark unknown at 2.50 am. The next three odd hours were spent walking purposefully up a hill, sometimes gentle and sometimes steep, and occasionally stopping for breaks to check that everyone was doing okay.  “Fuel up, two minutes!” was frequently heard from our guide. At one point about three quarters of the way up, Kieron told us to turn off our headlamps and the views that surrounded us were incredible. The light was just starting to break and there were rolling hills below and a black summit above.


The hour that was spent around the summit was pretty tough. The wind was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The sense of achievement though, was fantastic. We took a photo at the top and then started our descent. After we had come down a bit from the summit, we tucked into our sandwiches and, those who were clever enough to think ahead, had some tea.


For the remainder of the descent, everyone around me relaxed into the rhythm of our legs and took in the views, which were incredibly beautiful. At approximately 7.50am, we arrived at the bottom, done and dusted after six hours of walking.


It was a really great feeling to take part in something with both people I knew and people I had never met before. There was a real sense of togetherness and everyone helped and looked out for each other. On top of taking part in a breath-taking and challenging experience, to know that you are helping to raise money and awareness for people in crisis, is very rewarding. I will certainly be taking part again next year.


You can keep an eye on what’s happening by signing up to our Sunrise Summit Challenge mailing list by emailing



Alison Byrne