By Alan Finn
A father and son have climbed Britain’s three highest mountains in three days.
Jeremy Bird, the Head of Science at IT Sligo and his Paddy, a 17-year-old Grammar School student completed the marathon climb last week in memory of Jeremy’s late brother, also named Paddy, who died while attempting the same feat in 1966.
Jeremy and Paddy scaled Mount Snowden in Wales, Scafell Pike in England and Ben Nevis in Scotland over the course of three days in an effort that required a staggering 11,000ft of climbing.
“Last January I was chatting to my family and I said that we should set out to finish the climb that he started as a RAG Week stunt,” Jeremy said.
“It was carried out by students from Birmingham University in 1966 to raise money for charity. Two of them set off to break the three peaks record and one of them was my brother and his friend, Kevin Prendergast.
“I was only ten when we got news that two bodies had been found on Scaffel Pike, one of which was my brother, and it was hard to understand how it could happen in the middle of summer, but those mountains are bad news when the weather is bad.”
In order to get in to shape, as well overcoming an ongoing knee problem, Jeremy enlisted the help of his close friend, Catherine Kearns, who encouraged him to take on the challenge and prepare by scaling Knocknarea on a weekly basis.
After months of training, Jeremy and Paddy were ready to take on what would prove to be a physically and emotionally training challenge.
“We set off at 4am last Monday (June 13), we got on the mountain at noon and climbed Snowden up and down. We then drove to the lark district, climbed Scafell Pike in beautiful weather and climbed to the spot where my brother died and built a memorial.
“We then drove to Edniburgh, stayed overnight and climbed Ben Nevis and that was a different story because it such a massive mountain and there was snow on the top. It was also a miserable day for weather and because it was the last day we were tired and it was a tough climb being 4,000 feet above sea level.
“It was really emotional, we finished what he wanted to do and that is the best commemoration of Paddy we could do.”