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Helpful hikers boost funds for Mountain Rescue Service

The Belfast Four Peaks played host to eighty-three hikers taking part in a 25km Challenge as part of the Belfast Walking Festival organized last weekend by the North West Mountain Rescue Team, in co-operation with the National Trust.
Members of the Mountain Rescue Team accompanied the hikers round the 25km route which covered Divis Mountain, Black Hill, Black Mountain and Armstrong’s Hill. The first group completed the course in five hours and checked in at the National Trust Centre on Divis Mountain to collect their Certificates of Achievement.
Seven teams competed in the Festival’s Night Navigation Competition on Saturday with Lagan Valley Orienteers declared the winners. All participants in the Family Treasure Hunt quiz on Divis Mountain on Sunday successfully completed the course and went home with goody bag prizes.  The success of this second Belfast Walking Festival has established the event as an annual fixture which will enable the area’s voluntary Mountain Rescue Service to fund the purchase and maintenance of essential rescue equipment. 
“We were delighted to see such great support for the Walking Festival", comments Joe Dowdall, Team Leader. “The good weather helped bring people out on the day and also enabled more participants to complete the whole 25km.  The Team would like to thank all participants and sponsors for their generosity in helping raise much-needed funding to support our work.
In a busy year the Team can be called out up to fifty times to help find people who are lost or injured all over Northern Ireland.   All members are volunteers and largely supply their own equipment but The Team also relies on public support to supplement a revenue grant provided by Sport NI. The funding raised this weekend will help cover costs for our three all-terrain vehicles, training and the purchase of special equipment needed to help find and rescue people from remote locations.
For further information about the Mountain Rescue Team and their work, please visit www.nwmrt.org