Sunday, 29 March 2009
Abberley Clock Tower
It was a bit of an impulse decision. I was flicking through the local paper last night and came across a story about how the charity Diabetes UK was having a fund-raising event on Sunday (ie today). Diabetes is a disease close to my heart (well, my pancreas, anyway) thanks to it running in the family. My father was diabetic, as was I during both pregnancies, and several more distant relatives have come down with it over the years. So, as far as I am concerned, it is a worthy cause. The event consisted of abseiling (rappelling) down Abberley Clock Tower, which is about 5 miles away. We pass it regularly on the way to swimming.
I took Mel and Saskia swimming this morning. Saskia went up a group at long last. She is now in the group with orange hats (ah, the prestige). On the way home I decided to stop at Abberley Clock Tower and take a look at what was going on.
What can I say? It had to be done! I called Nick to bring my climbing shoes and the camera, and a few minutes later I was donning a harness and climbing the stairs to the top of the tower.
It is quite a long way up - at least three times the height of the regular climbing wall I go to. I'm not sure if it is a blessing or not, that you can't see directly down from the stone balcony we were abseiling from. Climbing over the wall and trusting your weight to the rope tests your nerves, that's for sure! I was way above tree height.
Once I started down, it was quite peaceful. The clock face is enormous, made from little tiles like a mosaic. The chain across the front caught me, and then whacked me in the head (so that's what the helmets are for!). It also spun me round so I could get a great view across the parkland that the Tower is set in. That was an improvement on just looking at the side of the Tower, though it did initially make me feel somewhat vulnerable!
Once I arrived back on terra firma, the kids wanted to show me an ancient tree they had been climbing. It had a rope ladder and tree-house platform, as well as massive branches that sunk right to the floor. Perfect for a good scramble.