Famous five provide quite a challenge

A CHALLENGE to tackle a collection of the biggest, best and most thrilling outdoor adventures in the country has been launched by the Kerry Reeks District where Ireland’s highest mountains meet the Wild Atlantic Way.

Locals and visitors have been invited to climb, paddle, cycle and surf as they take on an action-packed Big Five adventure which will include climbing the 1,039m Carrauntoohil and enjoying a night-time SUP experience on Lough Cloon, a remote mountain lake which sits on

the edge of the only gold tier Dark Sky Reserve in the Northern Hemisphere.

Similar to the Three Peaks in the UK, the challenge is to complete the Big Five in a limited time frame, with two options available. Participants can take on the Big Five at their own pace by spacing the adventures over multiple visits but, for the ultimate challenge, visitors must complete the Big Five in five days or less to receive a limited-edition certificate and have their name immortalised on the Big Five wall of fame.

To take part in either version, members of the public can pick up a free Big Five passport from the Reeks District Visitor Centre in Killorglin and have each adventure ticked off by a participating adventure travel company or log them on komoot – the Big Five’s official tracking app – and have them validated at the Visitor Centre.

Walkers descending Carrauntouhill on the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks which is one of the Big Five challenges.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

The Big Five experiences are:

  • Climb Carrauntoohil: Hike to the 1039m summit of Ireland’s highest mountain
  • Cycle the Ring of the Reeks: Pedal 90km around Ireland’s highest mountain passes
  • Paddle the length of Caragh Lake: Traverse 6km across one of Ireland’s most beautiful glacial lakes
  • Surf Inch Beach: Catch a wave on one of Ireland’s best Blue Flag beaches
  • Night SUP on Lough Cloon: Set high in a mountain pass, Lough Cloon is right on the edge of the Dark Sky Reserve

Those taking up the Big Five or Big Five Challenge can also use the experience to raise money for a charity of their own, or one of the Reeks District’s chosen charities – Kerry Mountain Rescue Team or the RNLI.

Visitors can book each adventure individually with activities starting from €35 per person. See reeksdistrict.com/bigfive for details of activity providers and tour operators.

The Reeks District is a not-for-profit community organisation set up to help promote sustainable tourism and outdoor recreation in the region.

Pictures: Riona MacMonagle. Click on individual images for details

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