As I trembled at the top of the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, wearing a climbing helmet and harness, the man asked if I had abseiled before. I replied no, to which he said 'bloody good time to start, huh?'. I trembled some more.
It was Friday 15 November and we were raising money for Children in Need. My Mum, a 70 year old, had agreed to do the abseil a few weeks before. After some though, I decided that I would do it as well (if my Mum can do it...). The thing is, I'm terrified of heights but pride was not going to get in my way (or is it the other way around? Pride got in my way so that, despite being afraid, I agreed to do it).
As I walked around the outside of the 95ft high tower, I wondered if I had just made a terrible mistake. In fact, I wondered if I should just walk back the way I had come. The only problem was that people had sponsored me; I had no choice.
I reached the end of the walkway, and was attached to the ropes, shown how to let myself down and then told to climb over the railings.
'What?', I said. Now I felt queasy. Climb over the bloody railings? You have to be joking. My body, however, was not listening to me. Before I knew it, one leg was over the other side and the other one was following it. What am I doing? I thought, though my body carried on following orders.
'Now lower yourself down'.
I started to lower myself down, eyes closed (I'm not that brave) until I realised that I wasn't going to fall. I was about 20ft down when I stopped and waved to my Dad who was taking photographs at ground level. I tried not to think about anything at all, but I knew that I was almost finding it fun. It helped that S, who was not afraid in the slightest (rude!), was right beside me for the whole way down.
|Me and S about to let go and lower ourselves down.|
We waited at the bottom for my Mum who looked grey with terror, and who had to go through the middle of the railings rather than over because she couldn't climb (she said she was too old). She did it though, and raised over £700. Although I battled with my fear to do the abseil, my Mum was the one who really achieved something. It took her nearly an hour to calm down afterwards.
It goes to show that if you don't do something because you are afraid, how do you know you won't enjoy it?