Athlete Hannah Shields, the first Northern Irish woman to scale Everest, is encouraging people to sign up for the NSPCC HACK – Hike Against Cruelty to Kids. The 23-mile hiking challenge takes place on Saturday 11 September 2010 in the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Limavady.
Hannah, who does her training in Binevenagh as well as in the Mournes, said: “I’ve been encouraging people to sign up for the NSPCC HACK as it’s a great challenge for a really worthy cause in one of the most beautiful locations in Northern Ireland.
“I never tire of Binevenagh and I’m up here training two or three times every week. It’s something to do with how it never looks the same two days running, because the sun will be shining on a different patch of the mountainside, or the sea will be reflecting differently. Also, lots of blackberries grow in the hedgerows around Binevenagh – in early September the sides of the road will be laden with them which is another benefit for walkers taking part in the HACK!
“Mountain walking can be a surprisingly social sport, but the beauty of it is that you can have it either way – if you like being alone you can head up by yourself, or if you’d like to have a chat on the way round it’s an easy sport to do with a friend. I also like it because it’s so easy to go walking – all you need is a decent pair of shoes and a waterproof jacket and you can do it straight from your own front door. It’s great that we have so much accessible countryside here in Northern Ireland, it’s quite unique in that respect. Everything you need is on your doorstep.”
Hannah has some useful suggestions for people who are taking part in the HACK: “Do lots of walking in the shoes or boots you’re going to wear on the day of the HACK – you’re going to be in them for a long time on the day and if they’re comfortable that will help a lot. I’d also say that if you put in the hard work beforehand and do plenty of training for the event, you will get much more out of it. If you’re not in pain the whole way round, you’ll have more of a chance to enjoy yourself, make friends with other walkers and take in the fantastic scenery.
“At times when the going is tough you might wonder why you’re putting yourself through it. It helps to remember why you’re doing it – you’re only going through a few hours of strain, but compare that to what some children and young people are dealing with on a daily basis and that will help you keep going. The feeling of euphoria you’ll experience at the end will be unbeatable!”
The HACK is an amazing challenge experience in the great outdoors which offers a valuable opportunity to support the NSPCC projects and services in Northern Ireland.
As usual there are limited places available for each walk. The registration fee is £15 and is for over 18s only. For further details and online registrations and payments, click here www.nspcc.org.uk/hack or contact the NSPCC Northern Ireland fundraising office on 028 9035 7970 or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org