24 Oct

So where do I start…

Well..it turns out I’m not as strong as I thought I was.

I got up this morning, feeling great and all ready to go. I made sure I was wearing two pairs of socks and took some gloves with me. We sorted out the sponsorship money and gathered the tshirts (we gave every participant a rhino tshirt :)), then set off to Gloucester with the video cam camera in the boot. Arrived at the fire station and the tower didn’t actually look that tall! I was the first to go so I got kitted up, put my hard hat on and was given a briefing. During the briefing I had to try out holding myself back on the rope (this is done at the bottom of the tower), just to get a feel of it and I think this is where it all started to go wrong. I sat back on the practice rope and I just didn’t feel strong enough to hold the rope still, I couldn’t hold my body weight on it and my wrist just didn’t feel strong enough. So this was the first seed of doubt. Next I had to climb up a 100ft industrial vertical ladder…you wouldn’t believe this thing…I had to be attached to a rope just to get up it. The rungs were so far apart, and I had to use so much strength, that on every platform I needed to stop and rest – by the time I got to the top I was tired already! Getting off the top of the ladder was an ordeal in itself though..the ladder just stopped and there was about a foot and a half where I had to pull myself out of this hole without any rungs. Somehow I managed it but it did take me a good 5 minutes to work up the courage to launch myself off the top rung.

Now the height of the tower must have increased whilst I was climbing the ladder because when I got to the top and looked over the edge I nearly threw up. The floor was so far away that I actually didn’t trust my balance not to fall over the barrier and I had to sit down. Eventually the really lovely abseil team coaxed me up and strapped me onto a safety rope and the rope that I controlled. The main guy who was helping everyone over the barrier and down the building kept stepping over and then just swinging off..he did it so much that I had to tell him off incase he fell and hurt himself.

This barrier. It wasn’t a nice height so that I could just step over it oh no, it was just too high to get my leg over and touch the floor, there was a second when I would have been balancing and could easily have slipped and fallen..although they told me the ropes would hold me. Also, the ledge you had to step onto was so thin and the barrier was actually leaning outwards……It’s giving me the shivers. At this point I was crying because I was really that terrified and tired and just not able to trust my body to hold myself up. So I got unstrapped again and sat on the floor and watched another person go first – did I mention I was going to be the first person!? – and this other person just skipped over and jumped down; easy as pie.

So after a little bit I was brave enough to get back up and get strapped in again and stand next to the barrier. Then we spent about 15 minutes trying to make me brave enough to go over and down and I was so close to putting my leg over but I just couldn’t do it. I was literally that terrified. I didn’t trust my own strength and I’m sorry :(. I then had to get back down these ladders which, to a lot of people was worse than going down the outside of the building, but to me was more inviting. Although there was a moment when I was just thinking that there was no way I could get down off the top of this ladder and I was going to have to stay up there forever. But anyway, I got over that and I pretty much had to drop myself down onto the first rung but I forced myself to do it so that I could get back down to the bottom.

What a waste right? Oh no.. No no no because then my mother offers herself up to do it! So collectively The Knock on Effect did it in the end because mum just scooted up the tower, dithered a tiny bit about the barrier but went over and then came down the way I should have done! So big well done to mum and when I saw the sheet we had the highest sponsorship money amount when we left 🙂 Not a waste at all :).

Honestly, going up that tower was the most scary thing I’ve ever done – I was more scared than I was before my last TACE and you all know how scared I was then. Also, I don’t wish I could have done it..I don’t regret not doing it..I just feel so so so happy that I am down from that tower and not standing over the edge of that barrier. I am glad that someone here did do it though – we’ve raised money and awareness for one of the best charities around; Clic Sargent.


10 Responses to “Abseil.”

  1. jill Clayton October 24, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    Congratulations! I think you showed tremendous courage just getting up there. AND you had all the worry over the last weeks. Maybe you will sleep better tonight! Well done to your Mum. Now you can all relax. Love, Jill

  2. Michelle October 24, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    Oh Rosie, how brilliant are you. You’ve shown more courage than I would have done, firstly by agreeing to do it; secondly by going near a thin ledge and looking down (I hate this, I’m okay with natural heights but over ledges and cliffs and looking down from heights freaks me out soooo much that I wimper like a baby!); and thirdly, by writing about your fears, that’s a brave and honest thing to do – but that’s you, through and through.
    And as for your Mum, wayhay for her, she’s ACE. brilliant Mum to the rescue.
    Well done TKOE, well done for the effort. I’m proud of you both. Mic 🙂

  3. Dollydimple October 24, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    Congratulations to you and your Mum. Be proud of yourself Rosie, how many others put themselves forward for this challenge and how many of those who put themselves forward are on treatment? You are amazing and so is your Mum.
    just been donating to CLIC myself tonight, it’s my brother-in-laws 50th birthday tomorrow and instead of presents he has asked for donations to CLIC Sargent, how kind is that?
    well done on your fundraising, you are helping many children; their families will be extremely grateful.
    Hope you get a good nights sleep and that you are not too achy from climbing all those ladders!

  4. Kath October 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    I’m in full health and there’s no way I’d even comtemplate an abseil – I think it’s amazing you got as far as you did. Well done to your mum too.

  5. Trudy Robertson October 25, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    Hi Rosie,Well done for going up the tower in the first place all those steps,i bet you did not look at the view from up there.Just got the citizen its in there,good pic of you and your very brave Mummy.Well done to all that took part.xxx

  6. margaret crisp October 25, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Hi Rosie, well done for going up the ladders…I can’t get above the second rung myself!!!
    Will have an explore of the Citizen site…haven’t been able to locate second column, any chance of putting it up here???
    love mags.

  7. celia butler October 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Bless you Rosie – so sorry that it turned out to be such an ordeal for you. I have no doubt at all that if you’d not been so poorly lately you’d have felt a lot differently. But all’s well that ends well, your Mum is the star that I’ve always known her to be, and congratulations on the combined awesome effort for a very important cause. Love to you both. xx

  8. Ali October 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    I could never do it in a million years, well done you for trying and wow, your Mum is fab!

    Ali xx

  9. Jenny October 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Rosie you are showing huge courage and strength everyday so no reason to feel humiliated you didn’t abseil! Everyone is proud of you.

  10. Sue H October 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    There is no shame in a fear of heights, all the best people are terrified of them (ahem!)- You wouldn’t have got me up the first rung 😉 Did i ever tell you i once had such hysterics on a fun fair ride that they had to stop the ride and get me off…
    This is where I say a typical parent-type thing- “It’s the trying that matters” Corny but true.

    Hats off to your mum for stepping in 🙂

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