In 2016, Dillon Lynch from County Cork became the youngest person to visit all the County Gribbons. Here, Patrick O’Brien tells us about his son’s follow-up challenge: to earn High Point Ireland's first-ever Highpointeer of the Year Gold Award.
The rules for Highpointeer of the Year allows participants to earn points for up to 4 visits to each of the 186 Gribbon locations during the same calendar year (provided there are at least 5 whole days between the repeat visits). We identified the nearest Gribbon locations and set out a plan to fit in as many visits as possible before the end of December.
We started on the evening of 9th December 2016 by climbing Knocknaskagh the highest point in the Nagles Mountains (#Knocknaskagh427m). Over the following 22 days up to and including 31st December we had walks on 11 days comprising 15 visits to 7 different Gribbon locations totalling approximately 83km distance and 4,500m ascent. Most of these walks started early in the morning so we couls accommodate School, Karate, Coder Dojo and Christmas preparations. A measure of the commitment by Dillon here is the fact that he was on the summit of Galtymore Mountain 3 times in December, all before 9am (on one of those days he also climbed to the summit of Knockmealdown).
The additional walks he completed during December 2016 were:
In early January, High Point Ireland announced the winners. Dillon was thrilled with first place and delighted to receive another Gold certificate. This time, it was for the Highpointeer of the Year 2016 Gold Award.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2017, I am sure we will have many more adventures on the hills and mountains of Ireland. Even though they are not too far from us, we have never been to the Comeragh Mountains. They are definitely on our visit list. We must climb Fauscoum while we are there. Further afield, who knows what other parts of Ireland we will visit for weekends away and Summer holidays. Wherever we decide to go, one thing is certain: the Gribbon list will be consulted.
Words and photos contributed by Patrick O'Brien.
Read about Dillon's earlier efforts to become the youngest person to visit all the County Gribbons
Visiting Ireland's County High Points (the County Gribbons) has become a popular challenge for Irish hillwalkers in recent years. Here, Patrick O’Brien tells the inspirational story of his son’s 32 Counties High Point Challenge.
Dillon Lynch from Kildorrery, Co. Cork, joined me (his dad) in the challenge of climbing to the highest point in each of the 32 counties of Ireland. At the start we were just climbing local mountains, unaware that such a challenge even existed. When we learned of the challenge, we realised we had the County High Points of Munster almost complete. Beginning on 26th June 2015, our 32 County High Point Challenge would involve traveling the length and breadth of the country, and walking nearly 200km in mostly mountainous terrain.
With skills learned in a Coder Dojo Class, organised and run for free by Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services (CDYS) in Mallow, Dillon created the 32 Counties High Point Challenge website to document and keep track of his challenge. We also maintain a Facebook page for the challenge.
Returning to the challenge in Spring 2016, we decided to use the challenge to raise funds for Kildorrery Karate Club and Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services (CDYS) Mallow. Sponsorship cards were in circulation over the summer but as a second method of fundraising, the website also had an area for businesses to advertise. Each advert appeared on all pages of the website and were visible as people browsed the website. The adverts were very successful, adding greatly to the funds raised. Dillon proved himself as quite the salesman, presenting his idea and website to the potential businesses.
On 11th September 2016, at the summit of Trostan, Dillon completed his 32 Counties High Point Challenge. By doing so, he also became the youngest person to have climbed all the County High Points in Ireland.
Dillon was delighted to meet with Kieron Gribbon, the author of Ireland's County High Points: A Walking Guide (a must have book for anyone doing the County High Point challenge). Kieron took time out to meet Dillon in Belfast on the evening of the final climb. We all had a great chat for a few hours about the book and the many adventures of the challenge.
The real end of the challenge took place on Saturday 15th October with an interview on CRK FM followed by a celebration and cheque presentation in Sheahan’s Bar Kildorrery. Dillon began by thanking everyone that supported the fundraising, anyone that helped with the completion of the climbs and everybody involved in preparing for the celebration night. He then presented a cheque of €1,670 to Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services in Mallow followed by a cheque for the same amount to Kildorrery Karate Club. Dillon went on to congratulate his club colleagues of Kildorrery Karate Club on their recent success in the SKDUN World Karate Championships in Bulgaria. Members of the club displayed some of their karate moves for everyone to enjoy. A great night was had by all with great music singing and dancing provided by Dillon’s sister, Rachel Lynch and her friends, Ciara Dunne, Micheál Fogarty, Anna O’Sullivan, Éanna Hyland and with lots of amazing participation by others making the night even more spectacular.
Kieron Gribbon, as founder of High Point Ireland, awarded Dillon and I “Certificates of Completion” for having visited each of the Province Gribbons and County Gribbons. Dillon earned Silver certificates as he had a photo at every high point and I was happy to earn a Bronze cert in each case. Dillon also received a special “Certificate of Excellence” for being the youngest person to complete a full round of the County Gribbons.
The event took place for the first time in 2014. It’s a three day, self-navigating, hill walking challenge to ‘cross’ the Comeragh, Galty and Knockmealdown mountain ranges on successive days. The cumulative distance and height gain/descent, over the three days, is in the region of 95km and 4,200m.
To date, challenge hill walkers have travelled from all around the Country to participate and we’ve raised about €28,000 in funds.
There is also a perpetual cup on offer for any Hill Walking Club that is interested in taking on this challenge. Points are awarded for each day that a walker completes. It’s not about time or speed, it’s about finishing. Clubs will have walkers that can do one day, two days or the three - it’s up to the individual.
You are notified in advance of where the registration is each day and your car is left here. We then transport you to the walk start and you make your way back, across the mountains, to your car and sign-out.
Dates for your diary:
Associated Gribbon locations:
This article was contributed by Gerard Sheehy
(organiser of the Fei Sheehy Challenge)
Gold Award (1st place)
Silver Award (2nd place)
Bronze Award (3rd place)
Congratulations to Dillon, Polly and Mark on your achievements in 2016. We look forward to your continued involvement with High Point Ireland in 2017.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in our first Highpointeer of the Year awards competition. If you would like to take part in the Highpointeer of the Year 2017 awards competition, you can now download the new log sheet / entry form.
Happy New Year! As we embark upon our 2017 journey around the Sun, now seems like a good time to look back at 2016. It certainly was an eventful year for Highpointeering and the High Point Ireland community. The website and book were one year old on 5th December. We welcomed new Completers to our growing community (including some record-breakers). The website received more than 10,000 visitors. We introduced the first of our annual awards categories. And, the website itself even received an award. Not bad for our first year.
Certificates of Completion
The following people were awarded Certificates of Completion in 2016 and have been added to the Completers Register. The relevant Gribbon sub-lists and completion years are included here in italics under their names:
(G) = Gold; (S) = Silver; (B) = Bronze
If you have completed the Gribbon list or any of its sub-lists, and have not yet received a Certificate of Completion, feel free to request one from us. Find out more about our Certificates of Completion.
Certificates of Excellence
On 6th November 2016, Polly Mollohan became the first person we know of to complete three rounds of the County Gribbons. Polly completed her third round at the summit of Benbaun in County Galway, the same place she completed her first round in 2013.
On 11th September 2016, Dillon Lynch became the youngest person we know of to complete a full round of the County Gribbons. Dillon was 9 years and 132 days old when he completed his round at the summit of Trostan in County Antrim.
A very special congratulations to Polly and Dillon on your achievements, and it was lovely to meet you both in 2016.
In December, we announced that we would be acknowledging the efforts of individual hillwalkers who visited Gribbon locations and completed sub-lists during 2016. This new points-based award category is called “Highpointeer of the Year” (the first of our annual award categories) and gives special recognition to the three highest-scoring Highpointeers. Despite the short notice, we received entry submissions from some truly inspiring individuals before last night's deadline. We will be announcing the Gold, Silver and Bronze Award winners in the next few days.
2016 was a year for building the website, starting to introduce it to the world, and sowing the seeds of our new community.
In 2017, High Point Ireland will be taking several leaps forward. You will see a considerable increase in activity from us on social media. Our blog will establish itself as a leading news outlet for our growing community. New awards categories will also be introduced.
We wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and successful year in 2017.
High Point Ireland.
Thank you for visiting the High Point Ireland blog: the dedicated news feed of the High Point Ireland website. Feel free to get in touch if you would like to become a guest blogger.