The 2013 Harvey’s Point Bluestack Challenge, which was held on Saturday in ideal conditions, was one of the most memorable yet.
With glorious sunshine throughout the day, there was a great atmosphere among the 170 walkers, who were all taking part to raise funds for the Bluestack Foundation. This community run charity, based at The Glebe, Donegal Town, offers a range of services and supports to families who have a dependant with special needs.
Before setting out on the 40km, everyone met up to register at the Bluestack Centre in Drimarone. There, they enjoyed a welcome cup of tea and homemade scones. James McGroary, chairman of the Bluestack Foundation welcomed the participants and thanked them for supporting this very worthy cause. Noel Cunningham also bade everyone welcome on behalf of the sponsors, Harvey’s Point Hotel. Walk leader John McGroary then shared a few helpful tips on how to enjoy the walk safely and in comfort and, at 9.15am, it was time to set off.
At the first of the day’s ‘pit stops’, two hours into the hike, the walkers were met by the army and offered tea and refreshments. It was an ideal chance to pause and enjoy some of the spectacular views on offer, with Nephin mountain away off in Co. Mayo or, following the advice of one wag and laying down on the grass and looking up through the windmills to get the illusion that you were flying.
Eight hours later, the tired but very happy walkers arrived back at Drimarone, where they were greeted by the sounds of a piper and the warmest of welcomes.
Chefs Paul Montgomery and Chris McMenamin had prepared a delicious meal of bacon and cabbage followed by irresistible desserts of cheesecake and summer fruit crumble. Budding young chef Carl Gysling lent a hand by serving up the ice cream with aplomb.
One of the organisers, Deirdre McGloin said afterwards: “It was a fantastic day - a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones. The whole atmosphere was one of companionship and cameraderie. Thanks so much to everyone for ma