The longest zip wire in the UK was actually the first activity that made the list. So I was super excited that only a few month into the list I was able to complete it. Better yet I was going to have company as my little brother, Kieran, and my mums partner, Chip, were also going to sore through the sky with me. Plus mum was organising it as a Christmas present, reducing some of the financial strains of this list, BONUS.
We set off on the 30th December at 7am, Kieran, my two boys, and I in one car and my mum and Chip in the other. As we made our way to zip world I was getting increasingly nervous, butterflies like eagles were loop the looping around my stomach and by the time we arrived I was seriously questioning my mental stability. Why on earth would anyone choose to throw themselves off a slate mine – wire or not, it’s still a little crazy!
We parked up and had a look around, then made our way to check in leaving my mum to wrangle my 2 and 4 year old boys, when I heard someone shout my name. Now bearing in mind I was miles from home, in an unused quarry with only another 10 people in sight, I seriously thought I was hearing voices. But when I looked over in the direction of the voice I could not believe that an old work college and good friend was stood there with her family, looking equally as nervous as I felt, talk about a small world. After a nice catch up we realised that we would be doing the zip wire together, a truly lovely surprise. Having not seen each other for at least a year I was speechless that Lorraine knew that I was there as part of the list and had been following the updates!
We made our way for the safety briefing and it was just that – brief. I kept thinking “there must be more, you’re about to throw me off a cliff, surely there is more I need to know” but apparently not. Next we had to be weighed, this was probably the most traumatic bit of the whole day, who ever thought it was a good idea to ask people to weigh themselves in front of a room full of strangers needs sacking. Then we geared up into our kits and made the walk to the little zipper.
I am not entirely sure why it’s called the little zipper, ok it’s smaller than the main attraction, but it sure aint small! We reached the top, had another brief safety talk and then the first people were strapped in and off they went. This is the point when Kieran said I had gone white and had tears running down my face. I was petrified. Despite having a list full of extreme activities to complete before I turn 30 I am not a true adrenaline junky, infact I am a total wimp. I tried to distract myself by looking out at the view but it didn’t help, firstly all I could here was my youngest crying somewhere in the distance and all I could see was a drop that I would never survive from if I was to fall. Kieran, Chip, Lorraine and her family were all getting more excited, me? I wanted to escape. Kieran and I were called up to the platform and then started to get ready. I glanced at Kieran and he was in position waiting for me, I was going so slow, anything to put this off, I really had made a mistake. I was terrified, but the staff were brilliant and hooked me up regardless of my death grip on the railings, they asked if we were ready, of course I said no, and then the count down began… 3.. 2.. 1 and we flew.
It was breath-taking and heart stopping and utterly amazing.
The view was unreal and I loved it. Then it was over, far too quickly, but that was of course just the taster for the real attraction. As we dismounted I looked over at Kieran and his smile was amazing he had clearly loved it as much as I had. We watched Chip and Lorraine come down next and watching their goofy smiles was brilliant.
Once everyone was finished we got into the back of what I can only describe as a cattle cart. We took a 15 minute bumpy ride up to the top of the slate mine for the main zip. On route a lovely tour guide gave a very informative talk about the history of the mine, the start was fascinating but the higher we got the less I listened and the more nervous I became once again.
As we reached the top the view was outstanding. We were asked to go straight into the wooden hut for yet another safety briefing, infact this was even briefer and went something like “same as before, look for hand signal and enjoy” that was it! I don’t know what else they could of said but “enjoy” didn’t cut it. This time the instructor asked for people with a certain weight to go first, the room was silent, either no one matched the weight or no one wanted to go first, Kieran and I were the latta. Then chip chirped up with “those two are in that bracket, aren’t you guys!” Well gee thanx for that one! And so it came that me and Kieran had to go first.
Same as before my brother jumped right into position and was eager to go, even asking if one wire was quicker than the other and bagging himself the quickest, whilst I shook like a leaf and tried to convince myself I wasn’t about to die. Once in I allowed myself to look out at the drop – wow, it was a big drop over water, not so bad I thought, I can swim – ha like that would have helped!
3 2 1 we were off. This one was so much faster from the start, you went over the slate mine for a second or two and then it all opened up and you were over the water, it was truly majestic. That split second of the land opening up to reveal the water was the most incredible sight and the best image from the whole experience. If felt as if you were truly flying, I honestly don’t think a human could feel any closer to flight than that.
On the incline up from the water the wind seemed to catch me a little and I went out to the side, this really worried me as I thought I was about to come loose especially as I could see Kieran hurtling forward in a straight line at some speed. Needless to say I didn’t fall off and before I knew it it was over. I couldn’t get the smile from my face it was the most amazing experience ever – pure adrenaline with a dash of magic.
We watched everyone else come in and land, and like myself, many people on the right wire said it had gone sideways and worried them a little, but I guess that just adds to the excitement of the day.
Chip hired a camera and we have since watched the footage, amazing. I was dubious about what he would actually be able to capture but I am really please he did now as it was like reliving it and I was able to show the kids what mummy could see the day she learnt to fly.
The guys at the centre say you can sign up for a free video of you flight, unfortunately none of us have received this yet so I am unable to review it, but fingers crossed it will be pretty amazing.
Being able to share the experience with friends and family made this even more special. Thankyou mum for the opportunity to tick another adventurer of the list. Thankyou to Kieran and Chip for coming with me and sharing in this amazing experience – the one in the cave next? And thankyou to Lorraine for unintentionally joining me on this journey and making me smile J
If you want some more information on where we went click here