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Westport man to climb Reek every day in February


Oisín McGovern

A YOUNG man from Westport inspired by Charlie Bird will ascend the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick every day for the next 28 days.
Starting today (Tuesday), Gavin Walmsley will climb the Reek every day for the month of February to raise money for Pieta House and The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
These are the two causes that former RTÉ reporter Charlie Bird has chosen to support when he climbs the mountain on April 2.  Bird also encouraged people around the country to climb alongside them on a hill or mountain in their local area.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday (Monday), Gavin Walmsley explained why he was so inspired by the veteran reporter, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease last year.
“It just seems like he’s really found something that’s given him peace. He said that he used to be tearing up every night and didn’t really have any motivation, whereas now he realised how many people he has encouraged by what he’s doing,” Gavin said.
“I’ve done all kinds of marathons before and I really like a challenge that I can aim for. I just saw that whole story and I said ‘The Reek’s right beside me. I might as well do something’.”
Like Charlie Bird, who will climb the mountain with his faithful friend Tiger, Gavin will be bringing his beloved dog Jessie up the mountain with him.
“She’s probably more fit than myself,” he remarks.
The 24-year-old is also hoping to be joined by his friend Conor Cunniffe as well as other friends and family for some of the climbs.
A veteran of the Dublin City Marathon and the Sea to Summit challenge, Gavin says he is feeling ‘pretty good’ about taking the first steps up the Reek.
“It’s going to be more of a mental challenge than anything, and I’m kind of good at those. I’ve never been one to be a big sprinter or anything like that but I’m kind of good at endurance sports,” says the Rice College and University of Limerick graduate.  
“For the first few climbs, if I take it slow I should be grand.”

MORE You can donate to the 28 Day Croagh Patrick Challenge and Climb With Charlie fundraisers at idonate.ie.