Climbing The 02 - Elaine Pell
A coach load of 50+ members and friends went down to London to the O2 complex. Some of us were going to do the O2 climb and others had their own agendas. Although it had given out rain, the weather held out and in fact when in London the sun shone all day. We were booked on to do the climb at 12.30, so after leaving the coach we had a bit of time in hand to wander. Myself and two friends had a cup of coffee and then decided to find the cable cars as that was what we wanted to do in the afternoon. We noted that there were no queues, plenty of cars twoing and froing across the Thames and thought brilliant, and were really excited at the plan of action. Bad move, we should have booked our tickets there and then.
We went back to the O2, went through the safety instruction and briefing. Kitted ourselves up, with the trainers they provided, jacket and harness and off we went. The walkway was actually on what I can only describe as material similar to that of a trampoline. There was a handrail and also a cable that you were linked up to. After a steep upward climb we reached the viewing platform. Although I wasn't actually aware of the height we were climbing, which I think was due to the roof of the dome either side of you, rather than a steep drop, once you were on the platform, the views were outstanding. Pauline got a really good shot of the shard, between two tall buildings, which although looked misty came out really well. We were up there for about 15 minutes and then started the descent. It would have been quite easy to get carried away and charge down the slope, or rather bounced down the slope, but it wouldn't have been much fun for the person in front. Really enjoyed the climb and would recommend it.
So after having our lunch we went off to the cable cars to be met by long queues. We joined the queue, stood there for a little while to be told by an attendant, that unless we had Oyster cards, we had to go into another queue to buy our tickets and then to join the first queue again. By this time, the hours had started to go by and we didn't think we would be back in time for the coach, so we went for a walk up the Thames. Tried to get on a boat trip without success, so went back to the dome and sat in a bar, deflated.
The moral of all this, is that if this trip is put on again to the O2, plan your day in advance. There is a train station, various boat trips, some need pre-booking and there are the cable cars. I think Carol did say all this in an email, but I thought I remembered there being more to do in the complex.
Sailing - Hilary Connon
It was a surprisingly bright, fresh day when we arrived at Cransley Reservoir. We were given a talk and appropriate equipment - waterproofs, lifejackets, helmets etc. (wet suits were all on offer, but none of us chose to struggle into those having no intention of getting seriously wet except for Keith who had brought his own). We were the first three to go out with our helmsman, Nigel. I sat in the middle seat while the boys did all the ropes, changing sail tension. It was a gentle sail around the reservoir under reduced sail and we got to see a lot of the wild life including some beautiful pink water lilies at the far end. The other boat seemed to be doing faster manoeuvres and I saw Pat leaning out backwards in a very impressive manner.
While the other groups were having their sailing tasters we headed for the rowing boats. A bit different to the white water rafting paddles, so after several clashes of oars and going round in circles, Dave took over both oars and I just sat and enjoyed the manoeuvring around the buoys. We went out and around the farthest buoy only to be called back like naughty children as we should not
have gone past the yacht.
We then sat in the sunshine as the wind picked up and enjoyed our free drinks, watching the others going out sailing, in the safety boat, or in row boats. Once everyone had had a go there was an opportunity for us to go out again. Carole was already in the boat and had enjoyed it so much she was keen to do more, so Dave and I joined her.
This time we had a full sail and a very exciting ride where we did tight turns and all had to scramble across quickly and strap our feet in and sit right on the edge of the boat leaning out as it sailed at 45 degrees. It was really exhilarating and as we approached the quay we were all laughing and relaxed. Suddenly a freak gust of wind caught our sail and the boat starting tipping. I scrambled to the other side but Dave and Carole were not fast enough and were thrown into the water! I hung on with only my feet in the water while our helmsman had neatly jumped onto the dagger board. He told me to drop down into the boat so he could lever it back upright. Carole and Dave were completely submerged under the sail but Carole managed to scramble in while Dave swam behind.
Perhaps the wet suit was not such a bad idea! Anyhow after a hot shower, change into dry clothes and a lovely picnic in the club house, we felt like we had a real taster sailing adventure.
Many thanks to Pauline for organising it.
Segways - Tim Holt
There were 13 of us at the Segway and we all had a great time. It is an unlucky number though and I am sure that was the cause - rather than a lack of skill(!) - which led to somebody falling off rather than dismounting at the end despite the procedure being very well explained! That apart, the tracks to follow were very different & great fun with healthy fruit and coffee available whilst you waited for your turn. Not sure if any of us will stop overnight in the Red Bus when it is finished! - but lovely people and well worth the money ( and very clever machines that stopped you from going too fast). Thank you Pauline for organising everything for us - again.
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