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Master’s Abseil for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, The Leadenhall Building

What an incredible experience.  My grateful thanks to all the sponsors for the opportunity.

If you would like to contribute to my abseil for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal my justgiving page is https://www.justgiving.com/page/martin-bigg-1713264669847

After watching the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress accomplish their descent with ease, it was my turn.

Kitted out with harnesses and helmet I was ready to go.  All valuables were removed before ascent to the 47th floor. I took the lift.

The worst bit was waiting to descend.  I talked with my instructor about the breaking strain of the rope (3 kilo newtons) and the descenders which controlled our speed.  He had five attached to his harness including the basic one I was to use.  They are far more sophisticated since I last abseiled, two included speed controls.

Then we connected up to the ropes and connected together.  This was to control my descent especially if anything should happen such as a loss of consciousness.  Then – over the edge! The worst bit as we were resting horizontally against the handrails which were not designed to be walked down sideways.  Then onto the glass walls and a pose for a picture.

Slowly we eased off.  To control my descent I fed the rope into the descender.  More than 215 metres of rope weighs a significant amount as I lifted it up.  Once we started to descend my hand-over-hand feeding the rope was too slow and I started letting the rope run through my hands freely.  This was counterintuitive as when climbing I remember always ensuring I had a hard grip and not to let anything slide.

A short distance down and the was no pressure to hold my feet against the glass wall.  I bounced out and slid down with little contact with the wall.  I soon got into a rhythm and we were well on the way as the start disappeared above us.  We could see everyone working in the offices on each floor and the various potted plants.  I wanted to see the view so we slowed and I swung round.  We had started higher than the Gherkin Building and the ground was still a long way off.  It was disconcerting to see two abseilers go bombing past as I admired the scenery.

Descent continued with a few more swings about to admire the view.  As we approached the ground we slowed right down and I let go completely.  It was an amazing experience just hanging there on the harness.  All too soon I was on the ground again and using my legs in a more conventional way.

A few pictures and it was all over.  My grateful thanks to my instructor and the team for the incredible experience, and to our younger daughter and Eileen for their moral support.

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