A Dundrod boy has become one of the youngest to climb Britain’s highest mountain , raising £500 for a children’s cancer charity into the bargain.
Eight-year-old Izaak Sharpe, from Budore Road, a keen walker, went with father Ashley to climb the 1,344 metre high Ben Nevis to raise money for the NI Cancer Fund for Children.
Their guide, who has climbed Ben Nevis 300 times, said Izaak was the youngest he had ever taken.
Despite the hazardous weather conditions they had to face during their adventure on May 5, the three completed the climb and descent in eight hours.
Mum Brenda said, “We are all so proud of Izaak. He loves walking and will go out often with his daddy.
“It was a great achievement for him. The only problem he faced was the weather.
“He brought with him waterproofs and a change of clothes and an hour before they reached the top the weather turned for the worse. Snow fell and they faced really bad blizzards.
“Both his daddy and the guide told Izaak that if he did not want to complete it that it was okay; they could turn back - but Izaak carried on.
“When they reached the top they got into an emergency cave and Izaak changed.”
As if the climb was not tough enough for the McKinney Primary pupil, whose idol is Bear Grylls, he now plans to face other challenges.
He hopes to climb Snowdon in Wales and Scafell Pike in England to complete the Three Peaks Challenge. He would also like to partially climb Everest.
“Izaak loves walking,” said Brenda. “You cannot make a child do something that he does not want to do. His brother Lucas is only two and I think he too will want to follow in his footsteps.”
Izaak took up the hobby of walking with his father. Both would often climb the Mournes and nearby Divis Mountain.
In February 2009 Ben Nevis was climbed by a seven year old - believed to be the youngest ever to climb the mountain.
Izaak, according to mum Brenda, loves the outside adventure.
“It was Izaak that wanted to take up the challenge,” she said. “His dad was really there to help him.
“We are very proud of what he has achieved. He is a determined young lad who will not give up. There were times when he faced freak weather. He was knee deep in snow but refused to give up. We could not believe his determination and never grumbled.”