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Dunleer Girl Guide ‘scales’ Ben Nevis – virtually – from her own home

Emily Halpenny Ben Nevis
Emily Halpenny (14) from Dunleer and Ben Nevis.

Dunleer girl Emily Halpenny completed a virtual summit of Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest peak – from the comfort of her own home as part of a Camps at Home initiative run by the Irish Girl Guides.

Emily (14) ran up and down the stairs of her Dunleer home 470 times in order to complete the virtual ascent of Ben Nevis, which stands at 1,345 metres.  Emily is a member of Monasterboice Senior Branch and took part in the activity as part of Camp Echo, one of several Camps At Home that Irish Girl Guides has run during lockdown.


The Monasterboice Senior Branch is the IGG senior branch aimed at 14-30 year-olds. A pupil of Scoil Uí Mhuirí in Dunleer, Emily said she had been keeping fit during lockdown by running every evening – which stood her in good stead for her challenge. “While hiking up and down the stairs, I concentrated on counting the number of flights that I had climbed. I knew that, if I lost concentration, I would lose count.

“I knew that I had to climb 470 floors and roughly to take 6,725 steps, so I counted the floors myself while my watch counted my steps. Believe it or not, I actually found coming down the stairs harder than going up, even though I had previously thought that it would be the opposite!” she continued.

Emily, who has been a member of IGG since she was five, took regular breaks – every 25 floors or so – and made sure to drink plenty of water. It took her three hours to complete. “Once I had finished, I was very tired,” she said. “My face was the colour of beetroot and my legs were aching, but I had a sense of achievement as I knew that I had successfully completed the challenge.

“I took a long drink of water and went outside for a walk to cool down. Once my face had returned to a more normal colour, I rang my friend to tell her that I had completed it.”

Irish Girl Guides (IGG) has around 11,000 members throughout the 26 counties. Its 1,600 volunteer Leaders provide an informal educational programme of fun and challenging activities that foster confidence, independence and leadership skills in girls and young women, enabling them to develop to their full potential and to become responsible citizens.

Irish Girl Guides welcomes youth members from age five-plus and adult volunteers from age 18+. No previous Guiding experience is necessary to be a volunteer and ongoing training and support is provided. For further information, see www.irishgirlguides.ie or tel: 01 6683898.

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