300ft is really quite a lot

Last week I told you all about Team SCA‘s bloody AMAZING all-female crew winning the 8th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, and that in honour of their win I was encouraged to take part in a challenge that would test my boundaries. I picked the 300ft bungee jump: the equivalent of jumping off the tower of Big Ben.

On Saturday 6th February I set off to Tatton Park to complete my challenge. The weather was utter shite: freezing cold winds and torrential rain accompanied the journey, and at several points I honestly wondered whether the venue would let the jump go ahead let alone whether or not I’d be able to do it.

I was third in the queue for my time slot when I got there and third strapped into the various harnesses, which in my mind was absolutely perfect. Seeing someone else jump first would allow me to see the ‘procedure’: how it works, how high 300ft looked from the ground, how close the jumper got to the crane etc. All the little things that — as someone suffering from mid-cycle anxiety anyway — would help to cement a picture of what was going to happen in my head making it easier (mentally) to jump.

And then they picked me to jump first.

I wasn’t nervous UNTIL THAT POINT. Suddenly all my unanswered questions were swirling round in my head and I had no baseline, no point of comparison, nothing to steady my mind. At this point I wasn’t even thinking that “shit 300ft is quite high” I was literally just thinking I AM FIRST I AM FIRST WTF.

I’m not ashamed to admit that at THIS is when I started to panic. I started asking questions: what’s the likelihood that I would hit the crane on the descent? What does it feel like when the bungee reaches the point where all the slack is gone and you start to spring back up in the air? WHY DID I AGREE TO JUMP OUT OF A FUCKING HUGE CRANE 300FT IN THE AIR?

Anyway. We reached 300ft, and after a few false starts I knew I had no choice. I had to do it, or chicken out, and with a small crowd below there was no bloody way I was letting that happen. I let pride and ego take over and with a bit of a nudge from the guy in the cage I was away. See for yourself…

tl;dr: I jumped and would totes do it again.

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Risks, boundaries and a 300ft jump

Back in June 2015 Team SCA won the 8th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race which in its whole, spans 5 continents and over 39000 nautical miles. The first all-female crew to enter the Volvo Ocean Race in more than a decade, the women battled across 647 gruelling miles, which saw multiple crew members suffering from sea sickness, sleep deprivation, hunger and fatigue but their win put them in the history books as the first ever female team to win a leg of the epic race.

Just before the win, I was contacted to see if I’d be interested in completing a challenge. Team SCA wanted to find out if I’d be up for a bit of boundary pushing of my own, offering me the chance to take part in one of several activities, including a 300ft bungee jump.

I’ve always wanted to do a bungee jump, but never really had a reason to do it. What better reason than doing so as a nod to some of the most badass women in the sailing world? I mean, a 300ft jump is not quite as impressive as winning a boat race against 6 all-male crews, but as I still can’t swim that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

Unfortunately my first jump was cancelled by the venue, but we’re now rapidly approaching Jump Date Two: it’s this Saturday. And I’m starting to get a wee bit nervous. A 300ft jump doesn’t sound too bad when you’re blindly agreeing to blogging challenges in the heady summer days right before you disappear off on holiday, but when it’s February, and it’s cold and wet and you suddenly realise that the 300ft jump is the highest bungee jump you can do in the UK… a jump that is basically akin to jumping off the tower that houses Big Ben:

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…well, that starts to seem a little bit more like something I should have actively thought about. A cursory google, for example, points out that risks from bungee jumping including popping eyeballs, muscle injuries, spinal fractures, herniated discs and even paralysis and quadriplegia. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, you can even die. (Apparently Noel Edmonds’ BBC programme The Late, Late Breakfast Show was cancelled in the year I was born after a bungee jump went wrong and a man died.)

But, Dr Google also thinks I have 4 different forms of cancer, so I’m not rushing to do a last minute cancel here. I’m no stranger to pushing boundaries and taking risks. Not many people jack in their job to go freelance with two kids and a mortgage to pay on their own; nearly completely stripping off on a beach in Spain despite barely exposing half a leg before; agreeing to marry a man despite being vociferously feminist and against virtually every wedding tradition… if I can do those things, push those boundaries, I can do this.

I mean, what’s 300ft between friends…

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0