Are you ready to be ‘scalped’?
The 7th Scalp Charity Challenge for Concern takes place this Sunday May 18. The annual event is organised by local Concern volunteers to raise awareness and funds for the charity’s humanitarian work around the world. Each year, the event continues to grow in popularity with more and more people taking up the challenge of getting to the 1600 ft summit of Scalp Mountain.
The Scalp Charity Challenge is a 2.5 mile walk/jog or run up Scalp Mountain - depending on your fitness level. The route follows concrete roadway, known locally as Henry’s Highway, which snakes its way to the top of Scalp. On a good day, the view from Scalp can be spectacular with panoramic views over Lough Foyle, Foyle Swilly and the surrounding countryside in counties Derry and Donegal. On a really clear day, even the islands of Scotland and Ben More on the Scottish mainland are visible.
The starting point for the challenge is just a few miles from Derry across the border near Burnfoot in Donegal at Henry McLaughlin’s farmyard – the local farmer who built the road to the top of Scalp. The route to the registration point will be signposted from Burnfoot. Registration for the event will be from 2 pm on Sunday.
One of the Scalp Mountain Challenge organisers is retired principal of St Anne’s Primary School, Michael McDaid. He says he is delighted that more and more people are taking part in the Challenge each year. “Henry’s Highway isn’t normally open to the public so taking part in the Challenge is an ideal way for people to take in some of the spectacular scenery right on our own doorstep.” Reminding people that the weather can be fickle in this part of the world, Michael added that anyone taking up the challenge should come prepared. “There’s no such thing as bad weather if you’re wearing the right clothes so make sure to check out the weather forecast beforehand. Whatever the weather though, we’ll have water stops along the way and some refreshments for everyone when they get to the top.”
Another one of the organisers, Dr Lee Casey, believes in leading by example. He won the inaugural Scalp Challenge in 2008 - and his personal best time of 17 minutes and 32 seconds for the gruelling run to the top has yet to be beaten. He is keen to encourage as many people as possible to take up the Scalp Challenge but stresses that running to the top of Scalp is not for everyone. “Walking and running are both great ways to exercise and keep fit and everyone should just go at their own pace. If you want to stop along the way and have a breather or even get a lift up past a steep part of the road in one of the marshalls’ cars, that’s not a problem. The important thing is that everyone enjoys taking part in the Challenge. He continued: “The benefits of taking up the Scalp Charity Challenge are threefold: helping to raise much needed funds for Concern; keeping fit; and when you get to the top of Scalp, you’re rewarded with fantastic views.
Anyone who’s completed the Challenge before knows just how good you feel when you reach the top - although knowing that it’s literally downhill all the way back certainly helps too!! All proceeds from the Scalp Mountain Challenge will go to Concern to help with its humanitarian relief work around the world. Concern began working in Biafra in Africa in 1968 and since then, it has gone on to work in over 50 countries, responding to major emergencies in countries ravaged by natural disasters, war, disease and famines, well as working in long term development programmes. Concern is currently working 25 of the world’s poorest countries.ion is to help people.
Registration will take place from 2 pm on Sunday May 18 and participants are asked to make a donation to Concern. Sponsorship forms are available if anyone wants to raise additional funding for Concern. For further information or sponsorship forms, please contact Eileen McDaid, at Holy Family Primary School, Ballymagroarty, telephone 02871 2677798 (9 am – 5 pm) or Mickey McDaid, telephone 02871351411.
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