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October 2014 Archives

October 19, 2014

Freefall off the Forth Rail Bridge: for Canine Partners

This morning I stepped off a girder on the Forth Bridge and descended 165 feet on a rope. It doesn't sound like much, but it felt a big deal. The reason was fund-raising for Canine Partners, whom I first mentioned in June. Anyway, thanks to wonderful support from my friends and family I seem well placed to raise my £600 target for them: thanks so much to everybody who has contributed.

The scariest part was waiting to get started: registration, kitting out, getting into position. Hanging around patiently has never been my strong point, to put it mildly. Anyway here are the CP fund-raisers, assembled just before we jumped, looking more cheerful than we felt:


Then there was the long, slow walkout on a walkway high above the bridge. The weather was windy, showery and blustery, and the walkway rather too transparent: we were advised not to look down. (Just after we jumped, abseiling was suspended because of the high winds, so in retrospect we were incredibly lucky to go when we did, or there would have been more hanging around.) The event was brilliantly organised, and the instructions, although minimal, were just-in-time: i.e. just before we stepped over the safety rail they told us what to do.


Once over the parapet and teetering on a girder, the thunderous roar of a train overhead seemed a mere detail. It was a pleasant surprise to find that I could control my descent speed, and that, despite trembling knees, I did manage to stand up unassisted after alighting on the beach below. And I was so pleased to be rejoining Keir and Toby, and also Sandy, Anna and their three children who had very gamely braved horrible weather to watch.


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