Photos: Megan Claase
Originally, we had no intention to mission to this secret location. But receiving just one phone call suggesting the mysterious algorithm for the Slacklife, and our plans had changed.
Britain’s slacklining collective; people that walk on one-inch wide webbing for fun, had just found the UK’s very own training facility for tranquillity.
Deep in the foothills, miles away from anywhere, lay sleepy arrangements of cold looking houses, deceptively whispering ‘nothing to see here’. Undulating hills and winding roads left a trail of cryptic evidence as to why the Romans never conquered this far…
When the weather is good, crisp views to the horizon become ornamented with the peaks of mountains, creating an existential postcard.
One immediately asks oneself ‘Why have I not been here before?’
However, the beauty of the area is not exempt from the dark side. After only minutes of entering, a fierce amount of rock tumbled hundreds of meters down a blackened face, letting us know just whose house we had stepped in to.
Britain is known for its temperamental weather conditions. Any mood swings of Mother Nature and we were the first to know. In an hour you experience all the weather options on offer. Hail storms that could strip paint, horizontal rain shards and even glimpses of midge-waking sun. By force we learnt to appreciate the moment we had.
Ben left his shoes outside his dirtbag palace (Mercedes estate), yielding a soggy surprise for his toes the following morning. I too, had to overcome bouts of trench foot, as rock pools formed in the quarry, submerging some of our bolts under glassy waters.
Sleeping in the van on our last night was a joy for the first six hours. I had enough chemicals circulating my veins to knock me out, missing the apparent attack from the locals who had attempted to run Ben’s tent over on their quad bike, kicking around bottles of water and leaving a blip the size of an anvil in my comrades’ sleep patterns. Looking around though, if I lived there, I would make my Saturday night one of tourist-terrorizing, too.
Come 4 or 5am, I awoke shivering, eyes wired wide, opening the door to an 8am wake up call. Eager to get my blood pumping, I tied my wet shoes around my feet before looking up to witness the white magic all around us. We had been hit by snow, glazing the entire area of mountains in icing sugar. It was beautiful. The intimidation of jagged edges had been softened with a frozen purity. Beetroot-faced-Ben crawled out from his battered tent trying not to snap his frozen fingers, jogging laps with me around our coach-park campsite to regain feeling in our limbs. A grainy coffee and chocolate bar breakfast later, it was time to rig the UK’s first ‘zen’ line; “Watch Me Wallaby Slack, Jack”.
Fortunately, a couple of our crew knew a great deal about the line-rigging potential of the area. It has potential for at least 15 highlines, the perfect place for perfecting one’s skills, knowledge and inner calm. On the menu was a selection of five lines, three of which we rigged over our two days. The first two lines, (~18m and ~22m respectively) ran over a 15m high hole.
The third line was the longest in the UK to date. At just over 40m long, the ‘Wallaby’ line stands at double the height of 1 and 2, sneering down upon their inferiority. Just rigging at one end you are overwhelmed with exposure, looking right to witness half the country in one eyeful.
One commonality that I’ve become aware of since giving myself to the UK slacklining community is that of control. All the slackliners that are pushing the UK scene like to be in control of their own lives, as opposed to having their lives controlled. Having a community of adrenaline-fuelled-control-freaks really does produce some miraculous trips and experiences such as this one. Getting to know everyone a little better in Dan’s VW transporter van was when I realised the above; 7 of us packed into a tiny space, necking our beers and sheltering from the blistering cold.
This was the place to come to progress. In one day you can effectively double your progression whilst increasing the difficulty, both physically and mentally. To us slackliners, such a location is cosmic, and we have discovered at least another 15 + projects for the future. Join us for our next holy highline communion and experience the magic for yourself!
Mixture of :
12mm expansion bolts
12mm bomber bolts + glue cartridges
36V Hammer Drill
- 18m long 15m high vectra webbing (backed up with static rope)
- 22m long 15m high mantra webbing (backed up with mantra webbing)
- 20m long – 15m high: didn’t rig
- ~35m long, 15m high: newly bolted but didn’t rig
- Wallaby – newly bolted, white magic webbing (backed up with white magic)
~40m long, ~40m high