At Whiston Solutions we are proud to get involved and participate in local community activities – we REALLY enjoy active challenges. The opportunity arose to support two such challenges, within a week of each other – Both involving a head for heights!
A 16 floor Free-fall abseil off the top of Carolyn House, overlooking the new redevelopment sites at East Croydon. (You can see Carolyn House from a southbound train – look out the right window as you approach East Croydon)
I was part of the 4 strong Croydon Chamber of Commerce team. As we waiting in the 5th floor ‘Muster’ area (which seemed quite high enough) the anticipation and nerves started to build. These emotions turned into excitement and the sudden realisation of the task ahead as we donned harnesses and were led out onto the roof. Lucky for us the rain had stopped from the previous day.
Having been connected to the descending rope and told how to control our rate of decent, by the professional climbers, the ‘point of no return’ was fast approaching as I edged slowly towards the end of the overhanging platform…
“Toes on the edge of the platform and pivot backwards on the balls of your feet until your body is horizontal” was the instruction (this was the relative easy bit – see photo)
“Now, whilst remaining horizontal, transfer your weight to one foot whilst moving the other foot onto the ‘end’ of a 5cm projecting scaffold pole a meter below – which you can’t see under the overhang” What sort of instruction was that I thought as I was dangling 180ft above the expectant crowds gathering at street level below. Missing the end of the scaffold pole would definitely lead to a full face plant into the edge of the overhanging platform.
Having complete trust in the instructions, I landed my foot comfortably on the scaffold pole end.
“Now transfer your weight onto the scaffold pole foot and move the foot (still on the overhang) down to the end of an adjacent scaffold pole” - having achieved the starting position now the free-fall abseil can now begin!
Concentrating on the descent, your straight arm position controls the rope speed through the figure of 8 device. The exhilaration of descending in thin air past the office windows was a great experience.
Having safely reached terra firma my first thought was to go back up and have another go !
Thanks go to my team mates who all conquered the overhang and successfully completed the challenge, also our supporters who had to endure an ecstatic debrief in the local pub.
We raised funds for Croydon Commitment which helps Croydon businesses help their local community and provides financial support for projects and charities in the borough.