The man, who must have been an Octogenarian stood there clutching his certificate proudly and smiling for the camera.
‘If he can do it, so I can I’, I thought to myself. Yet I couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive as we waited to zip wire 240 metres across the River Severn.
We’d arrived at Shrewsbury with ample time to spare as we didn’t really know where we were going. Even as we approached the river we couldn’t see anything resembling a zip wire running from bank to bank. As we made our way towards the park we heard it before we saw it. A huge crane hoisting a group of participants up into the air before they each took it in turns to zip wire back down to the ground over the River Severn. The zip wire wasn’t running from bank to bank at all, but took you along one river bank, with the position of the crane ensuring that you soared above the water.
The event was running late. A post-wedding tidy-up at one of the boating clubs had over run putting our event back. We sat and waited watching other participants nervously enter the basket of the crane, only to zip across the river moments later. Everyone who came back was smiling, that had to be positive, right? I couldn’t help but be nervous. I’ve never been a natural at anything PE-ish or remotely outward bound. In fact I wasn’t even very good at jumping off low walls, let alone throwing myself from great heights. I reminded myself that it wasn’t a bungee jump and so would be a much more serene descent. But still my palms were clammy.
The Mayor of Shrewsbury turned up. A friendly, likeable chap who talked to everyone and who was more than willing to have a go himself. And then, our names were called. We were kitted out with helmets and safety harnesses and escorted into the basket of the crane. As it lifted us up over the river it became chillier. I became quiet – my default at moments of nerves. One of the girls who was in the basket with us was shaking with fear. I checked she was OK – the mother hen instinct in me. She was fine, but suffered with anxiety and was doing this as a personal challenge. Good for her and if she could do it, so could I.
The crane stopped. We were suspended high up above the river. We were given our instructions. The first two from our basket took the leap of faith. Followed by Hubby, who, having spent time in the Air Training Corps as a youngster, had actually done stuff like this before. He whooped as he exited the basket. I watched his descent. He looked like he was loving it. But in the back of my mind all I could think was ‘Sh*t! It’s me next.’. I made my way to the edge of the basket and attempted to sit on the edge. It was no good. I was too light and simply floated in mid air. Rather than shuffling off the edge, the instructor held onto my safety ropes (as I dangled) counted to three and then released me…
At first I screamed. That scream that you get when the rollercoaster makes it’s first descent having spent the initial part of the ride slowly ascending. And then it became calm and tranquil. I released my arms and enjoyed the sensation of floating across the water. I felt almost weightless and like a bird. I didn’t have a care in the world. A bit of concentrating on landing and a wobbly descent down the ladder and it was all over. We collected our photos and spent the remainder of the day buzzing. It was so much fun. All those nerves and yet, now, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Which just proves that although things seem scary at first, they’re never insurmountable and once you’ve done them once they become a helluva lot easier (there’s one for the ‘lesson of the day’ types).
We spent the afternoon in the beautiful riverside park in Shrewsbury, eating M&S sushi and ice cream van 99’s with flakes and sauce (mandatory).
Oh and in the process of doing our zip wire we raised £140 for Hope House. Thank you to everyone who sponsored us.
Not a bad day on all counts, huh?