I am a massive chicken. There’s no denying the fact, and I’m quite happy to admit it.
I don’t do danger. I don’t do extreme sports. I don’t do heights. (You should have seen me in Paris a few years ago when I forced myself to climb the Eiffel Tower and made an idiot of myself by refusing to relax my vice-like grip on every available bannister or piece of metal.)
But 2013 is a year in which I want to change things – personally as well as professionally.
So in a moment of madness I’ve gone and signed myself up for this.
Yep – I’ve actually volunteered to zip wire off the Wearmouth Bridge!
The Wearmouth Bridge is one of two main bridges that cross the River Wear. It has a span of 375 feet. It has a drop of 175 feet.
That’s a drop of 175 feet. Not much chance of surviving that if I slip and fall, or the zip-wire snaps, or I forget to hold on to the rope. Not much chance of surviving that at all. There are plenty of stories of people dying from zip wire failures, including an 11 year old boy in this country recently, and many more incidents of injury. The most common cause of injury on a zip wire is having a heart attack, apparently. I get palpitations sitting upstairs on the bus.
But nevertheless, I’ve seized the day and gone for it. Face the fear and do it anyway, and all that jazz. I suppose it’s very easy, from the relative comfort of January, to sign up for possible death and certain pant-wetting some time in the dim and distant April, and the chances are that as the event gets ever closer I’m bound to experience the common feeling of cold feet. (Much like when I thought it would be a good idea to be a nude life model.) But sometimes you’ve just got to take a leap of faith – literally, in this case.
The event, as these events usually are, is for charity of course. That was a big deciding factor for me signing up to do it. Without wanting to sound too altruistic, one of the things I feel like I want to do this year is ‘give something back’. (I know there’s a sponsored avoid alcohol thing going on this month but, frankly, throwing myself of a 175 feet bridge is far more preferable to not having a drink, right?)
The charity I’ve chosen is the Sunderland branch of Mind. The subject of mental health is one very much close to my heart, having duelled with depression for well over half my life, and watched and counselled quite a few friends do the same. If I am accepted to take part in the event I’ll be constantly asking for some of your money, probably on one of those just giving websites – I hope you’ll be able to chuck a few quid my way. If nothing else, it’ll provide material for an interesting blog in a few months time.
Incidentally, a zip wire is apparently also known as a death slide.
Why didn’t I just do a sponsored silence instead?…
You can read more about mental health here.