My Ziplining Challenge
Wow (then – a fun and scary challenge)
So long that I can barely see its end, the largest zipline in the Northern Hemishphere and fastest in the world, stretches across the entirety of Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda. Even though my entire body is comfortably harnessed, during the safety check my terror returns with the adrenaline shock of a plunge into ice cold water. That disappears as soon as I’m launched. The land whizzes below at around 100 miles (161 km) per hour, but it feels more like a free floating glide than a headlong forwards rush. After the plummeting steep grey slate of the quarry, placid aquamarine lake and rough ground, I travel through a pass and approach the steep snow-spotted ridges of the ride’s end.
I’m ziplining the world for a book, and so far Zipworld.com is the safest, longest and most easily accessible I’ve done. Through different experiences in the Dolomites, Whistler, Colombia’s Tanimboca and Go Ape I’ve discovered the longer the line, the shorter and safer it feels and the more I want to do it again. At £50 it’s affordable too, so I plan to return in the summer.
Umm (now – a touch of realism changes my plans)
I had it all planned. Even though chemotherapy for aggressive breast cancer had left me with chronic fatigue, I was sure it would work. You don’t need energy to be strapped into a zipline. I was sure I wasn’t expecting too much.
I’m a sucker for a challenge. Nobody had written a book like this before. What a wonderful challeng. The first person had to be me! I tagged on zipline experiences as I travelled the world. I was doing quite well. But to finish the book I needed to pick up the pace.
And that was the problem. While I did not need energy for the zipline itself, I needed to get to the zipline first. Sometimes the only way was to walk a very long way, or to go through the exercise of an adventure- or assault course. On a solo adventure park trip on a rainy afternoon in Italy I very nearly got stuck. That’s another story. But it made me a little more realistic. Maybe I could have completed the book, had I been prepared to ask for help, and spread the research over five or six or seven-odd years. But life is too short. There was – and still is – too much else to do. So I gave it up.