#walk1000miles lat­est

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Contents -

The walk of the month is amaz­ing! And look at the size of this meet!


James For­rest, 35 from Cock­er­mouth, net­ted 701 miles in one epic walk – climb­ing ev­ery moun­tain in the is­land of Ire­land!

Right: Tri­umphant James took a huge bite out of his 1000 this month!

I climbed 273 moun­tains in Ire­land

in ex­actly 8 weeks. It was the fastest ever com­ple­tion of the moun­tains and the first ever con­tin­u­ous ‘sin­gle round’ of the moun­tains. It took me 56 days – 46 ac­tive days and 10 rest days. I walked 701.5 miles and climbed the height of Ever­est ev­ery week for eight weeks in a row!

The list of moun­tains I ‘ bagged’ was the Van­deleur- Ly­nams. The most moun­tains I climbed in a day was 12, which I did on four oc­ca­sions. I walked 25km per day on av­er­age and my long­est day was 40km.

The ex­pe­di­tion took me to over 1500 miles for the year, so far.

There were so many highs –

ec­stasies re­ally. The free­dom and es­capism of the moun­tains, the na­ture, the fresh air, the sim­plic­ity of your only goal for the day be­ing to walk from A to B. The soli­tude and tran­quil­ity of walk­ing alone, and of sleep­ing wild un­der the stars. The sense of achieve­ment that comes with a big chal­lenge and the hap­pi­ness-in­duc­ing en­dor­phins of ex­er­cise. The heart­warm­ing gen­eros­ity and kind­ness of the strangers who gave me lifts when I was hitch­hik­ing around. The un­pre­dictabil­ity of a big ad­ven­ture and the joy of over­com­ing the mishaps and ob­sta­cles in my way. The land­scapes of Ire­land are in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and rugged, es­pe­cially in the west and south-west. So many of the moun­tains are path­less, which means the ter­rain is un­for­giv­ing and rough, nav­i­ga­tion is trick­ier, and you have a stronger sense of be­ing in wild and re­mote coun­try. I of­ten hiked for days on end with­out see­ing an­other soul. The coastal views from many moun­tains which rise up pre­cip­i­tously out of the ocean are in­cred­i­ble too.

But my most eu­phoric mo­ment was wak­ing up to a per­fect cloud

in­ver­sion. It was on a moun­tain called Knock­owen in the Beara Penin­sula. I un­zipped my tent and couldn’t be­lieve my eyes. It was truly beau­ti­ful, like wak­ing up in heaven and I will re­mem­ber that mo­ment for­ever. An­other glo­ri­ous mo­ment was reach­ing my fi­nal sum­mit and know­ing that, de­spite all the hard­ship and low mo­ments, I’d com­pleted my goal.

There were, nat­u­rally, loads of lows

too. Fall­ing vi­o­lently ill with stom­ach prob­lems af­ter my first week in the wild. Los­ing my wal­let in Kil­lar­ney – only to luck­ily get it back af­ter it was handed into a shop, while some cards that fell out of it were handed into the po­lice. Be­ing be­rated by an an­gry Air BnB owner for ‘mak­ing his house smell of old socks’ af­ter stash­ing my hik­ing gear in the room – one of the most awk­ward and cringey mo­ments I’ve ever had! For­get­ting my lighter on a multi-day wild camp­ing trip mean­ing I couldn’t use my stove. But eas­ily the big­gest chal­lenge was the weather. At one point I hiked for 10 days in a row, climb­ing over 50 moun­tains, in tor­ren­tial rain ev­ery day and didn’t see a view from a sin­gle sum­mit. It was hor­rific. I felt like giv­ing up so many times. It was de­mor­al­is­ing and I felt bro­ken men­tally. But I per­se­vered, as I didn’t want to be a quit­ter, and I’m so pleased I kept go­ing.

Ev­ery 600m sum­mit in Ire­land and North­ern Ire­land with a min­i­mum promi­nence of 15m

A cou­ple of hu­man ex­pe­ri­ences stick out in my mem­ory. I was

The view from the sum­mit of Eskatar­iff on the Cum­meengeera Horse­shoe in the Caha moun­tains range on the Beara Penin­sula.

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