This Blog is written first-hand by Ellie Berry, one half of Tough Soles. Who are Tough Soles you may ask?
Carl Lange once worked in tech, but having spent the last few years in Dublin he's excited to just be outside again. He might be persuaded indoors by some interesting statistics.
We are extremely proud to say that Ellie and Carl at Tough Soles are Great Outdoors Brand Ambassadors!
Now - on to the blog...
This is directly quoted from Tough Soles' website
On the 9th of June, I stood on a small rise at the edge of the forest, and looked up at the mountains looming over me. Carl lifted the camera, and I tried to smile in a way that wasn’t too nervous looking. This was it, the start of the Vandeleur-Lynams Project.
Applying definitions to nature and our landscapes is a fool-hardy endeavour - but it hasn’t stopped our us, or our forebears, from trying. And standing in the strong afternoon sun, squinting out at the world around me, I knew I was joining in.
The Vandeleur-Lynams list defines a mountain as a point of 600m or more, with a prominence of 15m. Across the island of Ireland, there are 275 summits on this list. And I was going to do them all.
Carl, satisfied with his photo of my grand beginning, waved me off as I started climbing up the east side of Derryclare - my first of the Twelve Bens of Galway. Reaching the summit, I was dripping in sweat from the humidity hanging in the air around me. The stones of the cairn were warm to touch, having baked under the sun for hours.
50 days, 5 hours, and 45 minutes later, I crouched beside the small cairn on the summit of Knockbrack in the Mangerton Mountains south of Killarney - once again soaked through from the sideways rain that had been pelting me for hours.
A lot happened in those 51 days. Stifling heat, lightening storms, and the wettest July on record. Rolled ankles, tired knees, and the litany of cuts and scratches that come with spending your life completely outside. I went through it all.
For this project, I traversed 1,000km across Ireland’s mountains, and climbed 68,333m of elevation (which roughly equates to climbing Mount Everest every week of the project).
Carl and I shared short daily videos on YouTube and Instagram, which summarise many of the highs and lows. More writing and documentation to come, but for now I feel privileged to say that I spent my summer pushing myself and seeing a side of Ireland that few see. I undertook this project purely for my love of the mountains, and seeing how hard I could push myself in the hills. There aren’t many chances in life when we can take on crazy ideas, so when the opportunity came I went for it.
And thank you Carl, who was my one stop shop support crew throughout. Carl did all of the logistics throughout this trip - the driving, route planning, and video editing being the biggest three each day.
Notes for the Editor / Further Details:
Ellie Berry of Tough Soles has set a new record for climbing every mountain in Ireland. This list of mountains, the Vandeleur-Lynams, is an island-wide challenge, taking in all the most prominent mountain ranges and totalling to 275 summits.
Ellie’s time from the 1st summit to the 275th summit, was 50 days, 5 hours, and 45 minutes. The previous record was 56 days.
Tough Soles is a joint project between Ellie Berry and Carl Lange. They document outdoor challenges and share resources on exploring the outdoors with a Leave No Trace ethos. They were the first people to walk every national waymarked trail in Ireland between 2017 - 2019 (42 trails totalling to 4,000km).
The Vandeleur-Lynams list documents the mountains on the island of Ireland of 600m or more, with a prominence of 15m or more. This list is maintained by MountainViews, a website that started in 2002 as a place to provide useful information about all of Ireland’s hills and mountains. It is now one of the leading places to learn about summiteering and hiking routes in Ireland.
The previous record for climbing all of the Vandeleur-Lynams was established by James Forrest in 2018, climbing the then list of 273 mountains in 56 days. This style of record is referred to as an FKT or Fastest Known Time. It is recognised by MountainViews.ie, who acknowledge many different mountain- and summiteering achievements at their yearly Gathering.