Summer is all but completely and utterly over. The evenings are drawing in, the nights are getting longer, it is colder, everything is a hue of amber and awash with pumpkin spiced, cinnamon everything. It won’t be long until Christmas songs are playing in all of the shops and everyone is getting oh so festive.
Before I go ahead with my Winter Bucket List for 2019/2020, I did tick a lot off of my summer list this year. Whilst I will do a separate post on what I have achieved, as you might be able to tell by the name of this piece, one of the things on my summer bucket list this year, and actually last year, was to zip wire across London. Hot on the adrenaline filled heels of tobogganing in Wales, I found myself super motivated to get zipping ticked off my list.
Yes, London has a zip wire line (in summer)! Located in the centre of the capital, a stones throw from Waterloo, the launch pad/zip is 35 metres high and up 183 steps *pants*.
As it was something I had wanted to do last year but never really got around to, I made sure I picked up tickets when they were on offer for £15. I had previously seen them ranging between £30 and £45 which I definitely did not want to pay, but at £15 each I snapped up two and luckily my Mr took little to no convincing, as he signed himself up to be my zip buddy.
When you arrive, you have to check in. This involves checking the tickets, getting weighed (really briefly so nothing to worry about), and watching a safety video. After the video, you get a locker for your bags, any clothing not acceptable for the zip, valuables and basically whatever you need to put in there. You then step outside into the kitting up area where you get into your harness and put on your super sexy hard hat.
Members of staff make sure that you are all fitted and tied in safely and securely. You then need to walk to the other side of the park where you climb the tower, and all of those steps. You are allowed to take your phone or camera to the top of the tower, but obviously using them on the zip is not permitted. For this, you get a wonderfully unattractive bum-bag/fanny pack that clips on to your harness. They do permit the use of Go Pro’s when attached to a wrist strap, but this needs to be checked first with security advisers at the venue.
At the top of the tower you can see many of the iconic London landmarks, as well as the super pretty park below. You get yourself into position and more security advise you on what to do at the start and end of the zip, where to hold and where to place yourself.
You walk down onto the metal steps, which hang precariously off the top of the tower. They call out to bend your knees, and then in 3-2-1 JUMP! You’re off. Whizzing along, through the London skyline and reaching up to 50km per hour, it feels like you are flying through the sky.
There were four parallel zip wires so you could do it in groups if you wanted to. When you are coming in to land, the breaking system on the zip slows you down. For me, this was the part I really hated. The breaking system is obviously really powerful and as you come in, it is very jarring, especially on your arms, as you are basically supporting a large percentage of your own body weight in the harness and your hands.
They advise reaching out for a red rope, so they can pull you in. Now this is fine, but unfortunately on the day I visited, they seemed to have a 12 year old weakling pulling people in. She struggled a lot trying to pull me, which didn’t exactly make me feel great, before shouting to her larger, male colleague for assistance. This seemed to make the last part of the zip a little chaotic. As I approached the landing ramp and tried to stand up, it was really poorly managed as the lady and her male colleague advised me of conflicting things, like what to reach for after the rope, what to pull on and where to walk.
Fortunately I don’t have any issue with heights at all, but if I had, and had been completing the zip as a personal challenge to myself, I don’t think that this would have been a good end to the experience, something which I fed back to the company after my zip.
The staff putting on the harnesses on the ground, and advising you of the safety features, were really large, muscular guys – these people would have been a lot better suited for pulling people in than the tiny person at the top on the day I visited – or even just a stronger woman was needed.
At the end of the zip, there is a ‘Mega Drop’ zone, which no doubt intensified the excitement if you wish to add this on to your booking. Instead of taking the stairs, it is a leap off the top of the podium/tower and a 40ft free fall to the ground – harnessed of course.
Once at the bottom, you de-kit and are able to collect your belongings. I am glad I finally got to do this, dodgy landing aside. As it is something that is only in London over the summer months, I hope it comes back next year as I would like to do it again. I think…
Have you ever zipped? Where did you do it? Would you like to do it in Central London?