Jesmond Dream

You do know that there’s a highline spot 10 mins from where you live right?

“Take me there!” I said to Dane. So when we were dry from the waterlining we took our bikes an cycled to Jesmond Dene. The Dene is a beautiful forest valley running straight through the two principal housing districts of Newcastle.

Upon seeing it, I immediately thought that this would be the perfect location for my to-be local highline spot.

So that weekend, we carried our gear to the Dene and started rigging. The line is 45m passing over the Ouseburn weir. At about 15m in height, it makes for a great little highline. I was excited to be using my own gear for the first time to rig this line. The rig was double Type-18 and after a few hours of rigging, one chilly river crossing and an clumsy tumble down a leafy verge, the line was ready!

I tied in, slid to the safe zone, and admired the view. This line was beautiful; with ivy and trees surrounding it and a delightful stone bridge to the right. The soundtrack to this line was the flowing water crashing over the pebbles below. After some time, the noise of the water transformed into a white noise similar to radio static that engulfed the space of the line. With my head in gear, and my breathing composed, I was in a calm state to begin. I slowly stood, and started to walk.

In addition to this line having about 3m of height difference between the anchors, we also made sure to keep it loose. This meant that the end of the raised side was very steep to walk on.

I would chose low tension nylon over high tension when rigging my lines any day. A practical reason includes not shock loading the anchors with too much force. My personal reason for this preference is that I’ve found that the looser the line, the looser my body tension is while balancing. My movements are slower, more controlled, and overall less frantic.

The main difficulty with loose lines however, is that as you get closer to the anchors, the line that you’re walking on gets more and more steep until you can walk no more- This is because your feet start to slide backwards.

I walked the line on my first crossing so now it was time to enjoy myself. Playing in exposure felt super nice on this saggy line. Type-18 was quickly becoming my favourite highline webbing.

For the first time we had the opportunity to do some filming with a drone. It was a surreal experience to be standing on the line surrounded by nothing but this floating machine with absolute control of its movements. We got a shot where the drone flies high over the canopy of the trees. This really nicely illustrated where we were in my city in relation to other landmarks.

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