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by Colin Grainger
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Intrepid climb to the top of the O2
We did it…like all those famous climbers who have felt that special something when they reached the summit they just had to conquer.
For a few moments we stood in amazement and realised…we had conquered the O2!
Looking back down at what we had just climbed up was perhaps more scary that the climb itself.
It’s probably the best place ever to ever to get a bird’s eye view of Newham and all of the Capital. It most certainly has a special something. The view is just incredible. ExCeL, the Thames Barrier at Silvertown, and all the other parts of the borough that your Newham Recorder covers daily.
My wife Lesley and I had just conquered the O2 thanks to London’s newest tourist attraction….Up at the O2.
When it was the Dome and ever since it has become the O2, I have always wondered what it would be like on the top of that landmark on our skyline. Now I know.
When we first heard about it a month ago, we decided it just had to be done.
Tickets went on sale and within ten minutes, the first day’s climbing was booked up.
But we managed to hand over our £22 each for the next day of business and got the early evening slot.
Not the best of weather on Saturday but never mind. The Graingers are made of stern stuff.
After booking in at base camp, signing the disclaimer, meeting our guide Don and having our mandatory safety film, it was into the climbing suit and harness, having first made sure you have visited the loo!
You are only allowed to take your phone to take pics, as there is no room for anything else.
It was decided that our of our group of about 16, the old gits, ie the Graingers, (my words not the guides) would bring up the rear, as the younger ones led the way.
A few adjustments and we were away. Probably the hardest bit was understanding how to operate the attachment and wheels on the harness strap as you wend your way up the walkway and handrail. But after five or ten minutes you do get the hang of it.
It was windy and as you tackle the upward slope you realise exactly what you are doing.
But Don was a diamond, so reassuring and so calming and before you know it, you are up at the top. It is a great feeling. You believe you have just been intrepid (for about 15 minutes) and the views are just stunning. North, south, east and west for all the 360 degrees of the O2 top, you just take it all in.
You viewing platform is simply great. And then they started testing what will ,from tomorrow, become, London’s next greatest attraction…the Cable car from Greenwich to Custom House.
Then it was time to begin the descent down the other side of the big dome, to Thameside at the O2. Having by now mastered the technique it was a lot easier.
And the Up at the O2 team on the ground were waving and cheering as we came down.
Then it was into the changing area, and getting out of the suits and harness was a lot easier than getting in! It was farewell to Don and our fellow climbers and into the gift shop for some souvenirs. It was here I told the team they had missed a trick.
No Up at the O2 fridge magnets! Surely a must have souvenir.
Then it was back into the 02 to replace all of the calories we had just lost with a beer and a meal, and back home to Eddie the cat and Euro 2012. Magic.