A MAGHERAFELT man is urging all keen walkers to sign up for the Cancer Focus N.I’s winter hike to the top of Ben Nevis.

Adrian Pattison, who previously took part in the challenge wants people to get involved in the 4,408ft ascent to the top of the UK’s highest mountain.

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, the new name for the Ulster Cancer Foundation are behind the winter hike in the hope that it will raise much needed funds to support those affected by cancer.

The hike takes place from 7th to 10th March 2013 and participants can expect snowy, wintry or even blizzard conditions in temperatures that can go below -20 degrees.

Mr Pattison said: “Taking part in the Winter Ben Nevis Challenge was a great physical and personal achievement. It was tough going in parts but thoroughly rewarding and a great way to meet new people and improve my fitness whilst raising money to help local cancer patients and their families. I would definitely encourage other people to sign up and raise as much as they can for Cancer Focus.”

Neill Grainger, Senior Development Officer, Cancer Focus said, “Ben Nevis offers an exhilarating personal experience but one which also benefits the work of Cancer Focus. Every year in Northern Ireland 11,200 local people are diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately more than 4,000 people sadly die from the disease. Wherever you are, Cancer Focus is here to help. We’ll help your community take positive steps to a healthier life, to lower their risk of cancer and we are determined to bring a more hopeful future by funding ground-breaking research.”

Neill added, “Of course, the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the challenge. Make sure you take regular exercise in the months before the event – walking in the mountains is the best preparation. Participants will spend the first day on the mountain learning to use specialised winter mountaineering equipment (which can be hired in Fort William). On the second day we will start our walk up a long, uneven and strenuous track all the way to the top.”

Registration for the Winter challenge as well as June and September’s Ben Nevis Challenges, are available online at or contact Sarah on 028 9068 0765 Those taking part are asked to pay a £75 registration fee and agree to raise a minimum sponsorship of £600.