How I got started with outdoor rock-climbing despite my fear of heights

As those of you who stop by here every now and then know, I used to have a debilitating fear of heights. It kicked in in my mid-twenties. The condition only started to gradually improve about two years ago, when I pushed myself to do lots of activities that involved heights. MEETING THE RIGHT GUY ON A HIKING TRIP I did a tandem skydive, some canyoning, caving, abseiling, ziplining, a flying lesson on an ancient single-propeller airplane, plenty of hiking with serious exposure, a flight in a hot air balloon and so on. Rock-climbing, however, continued to seem too ambitious until about two months ago, when I got talking with a fellow hiker on one of the GO London hikes. Ellie & I do plenty of hiking with them, such as the Goring circular walk.   All pics (c) BerkeleySqB, those pics showing me (unless selfie like this one above) […]

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Flyboarding in Sandbanks – What a Thrill – Only 2h from London

I’ve tried my hand (well, mainly my feet) at flyboarding last Friday in Sandbanks near Poole. My one-hour experience (typically 15 to 25 minutes of flyboarding) cost me £100 (£120 on a weekend). Aquatic JetPacks are affiliated with Jetski Safaris, with whom I’ve done an awesome jetski group ride to Old Harry Rocks a few years ago (no longer offered). The Run-Up In the run-up to the experience, it had been a tiny tad disappointing that my initial appointments were cancelled and rescheduled several times because of strong winds. When I booked, the strong weather dependency and the high risk of several reschedules had not been entirely clear to me. You often have to wait for a day or so for an email response and no one ever seems to pick up the phone. Aquatic JetPacks On the plus side, though, Ross, the co-founder of Aquatic JetPacks, always advised me […]

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Quad Biking with Southern Pursuits at Tulleys Farm in Crawley – Incredible how robust these ATVs are!

Ever since I met Ms B for the first time some eleven years ago, she won’t stop talking about how she went quad-biking in the desert in Egypt and how exciting it was. To me, quads never felt that attractive. They are much slower than rally cars, accelerate a million times slower than, say, a top of the range Rage Buggy (post here), you can’t jump with them like you could with a motocross bike, their centre of weight is much further north than that of most vehicles, making it much more prone to fall over in the corners or when going uphill or downhill, so what’s the attraction, I thought. All photos (c) BSqB; photos showing me have been very kindly taken by Ollie Wates, the instructor. When I saw an advertisement by Southern Pursuits for their quad-biking experience, I knew I had to book it and find out […]

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Jumping out of a plane with North London Skydiving: Best. Thing. Ever.

During Ms B’s and my recent weekend trip to Cambridge (45mins by train from London), North London Skydiving very kindly invited me to check out their services. Those of you who regularly stop by here will know that nothing scares me more than heights. Ms B, in contrast, who is normally the chicken in our relationship, is fearless when it comes to heights. During our trip to the Atlas mountains two years ago Ms B did the second half of a climbing tour we had booked on her own, because I chickened out and walked back to the valley. When we did some canyoning in Porto last year, the only reason why I finished the tour, is, because there was no other way of getting back to the starting point. Why go skydiving then, you might ask. Good question. I always wanted to do it, despite my fear of heights. […]

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