River crossings, mucky lanes, steep forest tracks and a foggy mountain wind farm were some of the high spots of the 2011 Temple Street 4x4 Challenge for Charity in the west of Ireland in early October.
At a Castlebar, Co Mayo campsite, 24 teams met up, ready to raise €20,000 in the event's seventh year, totalling €177,000 for the Dublin children's hospital. Using Discovery Series maps provided by main sponsor, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the teams headed for off-road sections up in the Sheeffry Hills where they forded the first two rivers.
After a quick run to the Atlantic coast and the beach at Bunlough Strand, the trucks arrived at a 150 year-old stone clapper bridge near Roonagh Lough, a wide crossing of the Bunleemshough river. On the night navigation, a 90 degree bend onto a tight bridge challenged some but a 130 only had to back up slightly.
This year's winners were Graeme Archibald in his Discovery 300 TDi commercial and his brother and navigator, Andrew Archibald. Michael McGrath and navman, Éanna O'Connell, took overall second place.
By popular demand, organisers Robert Archibald and Jonathan Crozier of ACT Training are planning routes in Donegal for next year's event, when they promise to revisit a cliff-hanging track above the Atlantic, known only as the Scorpion's Tail.
More information at www.4x4challenge.org/ click here for 4x4 Challenge
click here for full events listing