Monday, 8 April 2013

Daily Life: Up at The O2

Remember this photo? Well, the previously suggested 'future post' is finally being written...

Back in October 2012, (yes, I've been that bad with blogging) we climbed The O2!

For those who do not know, the O2 centre actually started out as the Millennium Dome - a dome shaped building built especially to celebrate the arrival of the millennium (year 2000). It housed the Millennium Experience, a major exhibition to celebrate the start of the third millennium throughout 2000. Several years later, the dome became 'The O2' as we know it today.

'Up at The O2' is a 90 minute experience for visitors to make their way across a fabric walkway along the roof of London's famous Dome. From the central observation platform, you can get a 360 degree view of London and its other attractions.

The contents of this day out had actually been kept from me. When I was told I should wear comfortable clothing and trainers, I did not expect to climb The O2 at all. I didn't even know you could! I genuinely thought we were going go karting again, as it was in the same area.

Once I found out what we were going to do, I was both excited and a bit curious. How do you climb a domed building without the feeling that you'll slide all the way back down.. even if you have a harness?

I needn't have worried - our guide introduced himself and let us watch a super informal safety video before asking if we had any questions, and collecting in our safety forms. It felt a bit weird having someone who looked about 3 years younger than me calling us 'guys' and making awkward jokes, but I guess he was professional enough.

After the video, we were taken through to collect our gear. Each person was given a box containing an all-in-one climbing suit, a harness, and gloves. We were then taught how to put them on, before our guide ensured each person's harness was on correctly and tightly enough. We zipped our cameras into the allocated pockets, before making our way up towards the start of the fabric walkway; base camp. Our guide then lined us up in front of the walkway, before clipping all 8 of us to the central wire.

You could see the Emirates Air Line from the observation platform!

The beginning of the climb was not difficult, but it took some quick learning before we could move our safety clips (which we were instructed to keep one hand on at all times) smoothly through each different section of the central wire. I do admit though, that the steep ascent of the first 20 metres was a bit of a workout for my legs *hangs head in unfit shame* It did, however, begin to flatten out after this, on the rest of our journey to the summit.

Once we got the hang of the safety clip, walking up was a breeze. The walkway had a slight trampoline-like bounce to it with every step. I actually found that quite fun :) With the slight breeze and warmth, the walk was quite relaxing when I wasn't wondering if my legs would be able to reach the end of the first 20 metres.

The view back down the way we came!
By the time we reached the summit and the observation platform, I was feeling quite happy :) The sun was peeking out from behind the clouds, and the view was truly amazing. I've been up the London Eye (Millenium Wheel) once before, and I don't remember the view from there being as good as it was on The O2. I really think it gave the best overall view of central London.

The time spend on the summit seemed to go by so quickly! I think we spent about an hour there? The walk back down felt slightly more difficult. Especially the last 20 metres where the descent, like the ascent, was at 30 degrees. My Converse don't exactly have good grip, so my foot slipped once or twice, but apart from that, I was fine.

Despite being anxious about what this surprise activity was, I'm really glad that he took me here.
I had so much fun, and it was a once in a lifetime experience. It is certainly pricey at £22 a climb, but I see it as a one time thing. I don't think I would go again for such a price, but it was definitely an experience :)

If you're interested, you can take a look at their website and take a look at the FAQ section for further information regarding age, height and weight limits, etc :)

It feels good to have conquered the O2.


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