A young 15-year-old Bundoran lad is on top of the world, after he and a colleague from Magh Ene College in Bundoran summited Africa’s highest mountain recently. Diarmaid Mac a’ Bhaird, Rathmore and Emily Chapman (16) from Sheil Ave were part of the Ian McKeever’s Kilimanjaro Achievers summer 2012 initiative.
Diarmaid, a fifth year student, told the Donegal Democrat that it was a great feeling when he got to the top of what is considered to be the tallest freestanding peak in the world.
“It was great and I was delighted that we managed to get to the top without any altitude sickness. It was tough in parts, especially the last climb, when we started at 4am, but when we peaked at 10am, it was such a great feeling,” he said.
Training at home included climbing Croagh Patrick and Errigal and generally keeping fit.
Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is a dormant volcano in Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania and the highest mountain in Africa at 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level. Two of its three peaks, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct while Kibo (the highest peak) is dormant and could erupt again. The last major eruption has been dated to 360,000 years ago, while the most recent activity was recorded just 200 years ago.
“Mount Kilimanjaro was an amazing experience for someone like me. We left Ireland on the 21st of May and started climbing on the 22nd. It was an 8 day climb 6½ days up and 1½ days to get down. We got back home to Ireland on June 2nd tired, but delighted with our efforts.
“Emily is a TY student at Magh Ene and she was also delighted to scale the mountain. It is a memory that we both will cherish for many years to come,” he added.
Diarmaid said that he would especially like to thank everyone who sponsored him and he was also able to raise €500 for charity.