The Best Views Come After the Hardest Climb

February 18, 2022

Aislinn Smyth was a getactiveabc member at the Orchard Leisure Centre for 3-4 years before the lockdown in March 2020, she regularly went swimming, to Pilates/Yoga classes and worked out in the gym. During lockdown her fitness regime took a unique turn, she started mountain climbing with her husband Harry.

The busy Mum of five boys aged from 6 to 16 years, decided to set herself a challenge of climbing all 7 Mourne Mountains. Slieve Donard, Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Lamagan, Slieve Binnian, Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Bernagh. Aislinn started with the tallest Slieve Donard with the more challenging Bloody Bridge route and climbed her way through the remaining 6 mountains, 1 per week. To keep up the fitness levels Aislinn joined Mourne Mountain Adventures.

Aislinn was delighted when the Orchard Leisure Centre reopened, her training sessions have been adjusted to train, prepare and challenge her body for the climbs. She now trains 5–6 times per week for 1-2 hours. Her focus is on building stamina and strength with cardio training most notably using the stair master and resistance training with the leg press machine and weight lifting.

Aislinn would highly recommend mountain climbing, “I would recommend anyone to try and experience the magic of the Mourne Mountains, start small and keep going. It’s not the Mountains we conquer but ourselves.  The physical health and fitness benefits are huge as you build incredible strength and endurance, you see places very few get to see.  Climbing teaches you patience, persistence and gratitude.  You appreciate the small things, such as a cold drink of water on a scorching day after a long hike. Every mountain is unique and presents its own challenges and you learn different lessons on each regarding preparation, clothing, fuel and hydration levels.”

Aislinn has her set herself a goal of conquering all 7 Mountains in 1 day, the renowned Mourne Seven Sevens Challenge and is currently working towards this. Climbing has changed her life both physically and mentally, from getting outdoors, increased fitness levels and forming many new friendships along the journey.

Well done Aislinn, an inspiration to all.


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