Remarkable Donegal woman Nikki Bradley has started training for the gruelling four peak challenge.
The four peak challenge will push her physically and mentally, as she aims to climb four of Ireland’s most iconic mountains next summer – Lugnaquilla (Wicklow), Carrauntoohil (Kerry), Croagh Patrick (Mayo) and Mount Errigal (Donegal) – in less than 24 hours!
Nikki was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at sixteen and by twenty-six, had two hip replacements. Nikki is one of less than ten people worldwide to live through what she has.
Nikki says that she is not letting her Ewing’s Sarcoma get in the way, having taken on some of the world’s most demanding physical challenges.
Since reaching her first summit on Muckish Mountain, Nikki has done rock climbing, diving, abseiling, and has even done the ‘Fan Dance’ in the Brecon Beacons in Wales; a task used to train the British Special Forces! This January, Nikki became the first ever woman to finish the gruelling race on crutches.
She began training this week with mountaineer Iain Miller, beginning with an early morning climb up Croagh Patrick followed by a trek up Mount Errigal.
Pulling herself out of bed at 4am, she arrived at Mount Errigal at 5am and met Iain Miller. As the wind and rain battered down, they opted to begin their day of training at Croagh Patrick in Mayo instead.
“We were relatively lucky with the weather at Croagh Patrick and were spoiled with strong sunshine moments which made for perfect photo opportunities. The banter was good as we slowly made our way upwards and for the most part, I was pain-free. It was at the two-thirds mark that I began to feel niggling pain but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.
“When we reached the summit we celebrated with a couple of pieces of Dairy Milk and a brisk walk around the chapel. It was ridiculously windy so we didn’t stay long before making our way down. The descent was harder than I expected. Usually, I make up time on the way down but the combination of increased wind and loose stone underfoot forced me to tread carefully. I was beginning to tire by the time we reached the carpark and the thought of a three-hour drive followed by another climb was not exactly appealing.
“However, this was exactly why we were there. To experience the feeling of wanting to give up and to push on regardless.
“If I were to choose a word to describe how Errigal looked at 4:30pm, I would say ‘angry’. The weather had not improved in Donegal and the winds were both brilliant and terrifying. I took roughly four steps out of the carpark before face planting the wet, slimy muck. A great start to our second climb I think you will agree.
“We battled the wind the entire climb. It forced us to stop in our tracks numerous times and it threw me around like a ragdoll. Mist turned to fog and daylight began to fade leaving us with a sense of urgency. We did not hang around on the summit. A quick photo where I physically could not stand straight due to the power of the gust and we quickly made our way back down.
“It was smiles all around as we reached the carpark and I was reminded once again why I do what I do.
“When you push yourself physically and voluntarily place yourself in situations that are, at times, unpleasant, you get an exceptional feeling of pride and wellbeing when you come out the other side. I basked in that feeling as I drove home tired and happy.
“This is just the beginning.”
Unstoppable Nikki has established ‘Fighting Fit for Ewing’s’, scaling The Sturrall, Slieve League, abseiled off Fanad Lighthouse and even scaled a glacier in Iceland!
To keep up with Nikki’s incredible adventures, you can check out her blog by following this link: