By Paul O’Donovan
Fergal Hingerty’s story is a remarkable one.
Born in Dublin, but having lived in Mullingar for the past number of years Fergal has overcome major back surgery to not alone walk again, but climb, and not alone climb, but conquer some of the highest mountains in Europe.
Fergal’s story is a real inspiration to anyone looking for a lift in their life, a new challenge, away from the mad every day rush of suburban life.
Without the surgery eight years ago Fergal could have ended up in a wheelchair. Since that surgery Fergal has battled back and slowly began walking. He continued walking and gradually began walking longer distances. He progressed on to climbing small hills, then mountains and then extremely difficult mountains – mountains only climbed by experienced mountain climbers.
Along the way Fergal began breaking climbing records. As the hills and mountains totted up, so to did the climbing records.
Thanks to his great courage, desire and determination Fergal became the first man to climb the highest point in every county in Ireland and Wales in 2015 and then in 2016 became the first person to climb every county in Wales, England and Ireland.
Fergal has not alone climbed the highest points of Wales, Scotland, England and Ireland, but also climbed the highest points in eight other countries across Europe, as well as numerous other peaks in the Caucasas and the Pyrenees.
Last year he climbed Mount Olympus, followed by his biggest challenge yet Mount Elbrus, which he completed last September. Mount Elbrus is the highest point in Russia and also in Europe at 5,642 metres, a fete which took Fergal and his team seven days to complete – a magnificent achievement by any standards.
To add to all this, Fergal completed the last few hills in Ulster on top of all the hills he has already climbed in Leinster making him the first person to climb every mountain/hill in both provinces ever.
Fergal has now climbed a total of 28 of 32 counties in Ireland and a total of 1180 new mountains/hills in Ireland and 2915 new hills/mountains in Ireland and UK combined.
These facts have been verified by Mountainviews.ie
Not surprisingly Fergal has received numerous certificates and awards for his great sporting achievements.
Fergal’s next goal is to complete the last 22 hills in Connaught, the 99 hills left in Wales, and will undoubtedly break some new records after that.
So what is Fergal’s motivation? “Hill climbing and mountain climbing has got increasingly popular lately,” Fergal told Topic. “People feel the need to get outdoors and get away from technology, mobile phones, cities and industrialisation and reconnect with nature. It is better for your mental health and your wealth. People who don’t climb mountains don’t understand its great values. If someone like me can achieve this with some motivation, zeal, drive, resilience and determination then so can anyone else. Everyone‘s everest is different. People who saw me barely able to stand with my walking distance restricted to 100 metres can’t believe how far I have come. It is simple really, do whatever your goal is. Just go for it and never ever give up. if I can do it so can you. Just believe…believe…believe…Believe in yourself, believe in achieving and you will reach your goal,” said an inspirational Fergal.