Monday 23rd February, and Fred Riches and Alan Wolstencroft braved the cold in Greenwich, but the sun was shining and just a few clouds in the sky as the first group gathered in the anteroom to watch the safety DVD before donning our safety gear – jacket, shoes, harness and link which we needed to attach to the chest-level wire that’s mounted beside the canvassy, bouncy walkway that leads up to the top viewing platform and down the other side.
We hadn’t realised the Dome measurements and positioning were all planned in relation to time. It’s 365 metres circumference and 52 metres in height, with twelve of those spikes sticking out – and all as close as possible to 0 degrees longitude.
We were a group of about 16 with a leader. The first bit goes up a one in three slope, so you’re digging your toes in and leaning forward while pushing the link along the wire with one hand and holding on to another safety wire/rail with the other.
Then it evens out gradually till you reach the top. There you’re allowed to unchain yourself and look around on all sides of the viewing platform. Highly recommended for the summer! Brilliant views over the Thames and across London.
However, the weather decided to do the dirty on us and just as we reached the top a large black cloud chucked a mixture of sleet and hail at us through the rising gale. I have a lovely video of two ladies who helped organise the event reading a congratulatory message from a leading international Rotarian. Picture’s great. Sound = loud crackling wind… Hey ho!
Then it was back onto the wire link for the clamber down, perhaps the most strenuous bit, because the last bit is one in three slope as well and pulls on your thighs while you try to keep your balance.
Overall a really good experience – and thank you very much for helping use reach our sponsorship targets.