One of the things I’ve been mostly learning this week is that the best way to get someone to try out the abseil from the Titan is to shut up. Shut up entirely and let someone else say it better.
It’s been two years of abseils and I’ve tried it three times now (once dressed as a tortoise, evidence provided). But it’s been a little while since I’ve abseiled it for the first time, and been absolutely terrified. You can read those blogs here if you want to look through the archives. I’ve gone from completely petrified of heights and things going wrong to being a regular climber, and someone who looks forward to getting a go. And the majority of our charity abseilers are doing it for the first time, because they care about helping ENABLE Scotland.
Which is where people who’ve abseiled the Titan in the last year come in. I thought I would give three reasons why they are the ones to help, and follow it up with an appeal to anyone who’s done it – please do something small to spread the word. It might be just sharing this link on a Facebook, or putting up a poster for the event in your local pub. Or it might be persuading a group of your friends to come and do it with you again, just for the experience. We need you – you’re simply better at this than I am. Because:
1) You remember the thrill of abseiling for the first time. The blind terror at the top. The determination it took to step over the edge, and how surprised with yourself you felt afterwards. Realising you’re getting the hang of it halfway down, and then wanting another go… your experience will be different, and only you can tell the story.
2) You already persuaded someone else. You just don’t neccesarily know about it. Could be more than a few of the people who sponsored you were dying to try it, or since you’ve done it they have felt inspired by you. You never know what seed you might have planted in one of your friend’s minds, and it just needs a little nudge to grow into a Titan abseil tree. Ok, that analogy might be a little spurious, but hopefully you know what I mean.
3) You know that ENABLE Scotland can do great things with the money you raise. Your abseil let us do things like help over 400 people with a learning disability to find and stay in work, creating vital autonomy and independence. But your decision to support a charity in itself speaks louder about our work than us saying it. You know why you supported ENABLE, and you can inspire others to do so too.
I hope that’s made sense… and so now I’m going to shut up and let the experts get on with it – Kat]]>
After a brilliant chat with Rock Radio back at the end of August, we had arranged to put on an abseil like no other – our night-time rock abseil, 150ft up with classic rock blasting out and some live music too. It was an idea we all loved, but having never done anything like this I wasn’t sure how the rock community in Glasgow would respond. I mean, there’s a lot of good gigs on in this town and Slash didn’t get good at guitar by popping out for a quick abseil every weekend.
A fortnight later I was back from a trip to the States and was shocked to hear we were nearly fully booked for the event… not only that, but Rock Radio’s Tom Russell and Lisa Johnston had both pledged to freefall abseil from the Titan on the night. I’m still adjusting to how great the response has been from the lovers of classic rock in Glasgow, Ayr, Stirling and Edinburgh – we’ve had some genius song requests, promises of full Kiss makeup and some incredible fundraising efforts already.
The last thing we wanted was for anyone to miss out, so in the last week we’ve made sure no one will. The event on the 2nd of October is now fully booked with eager abseilers ready to rock the ropes, so we’ve added the 9th of October to our calendar and we’re already signing people up with over 3 weeks to go. Solid Rock Cafe have offered us a prize for the best rock-oriented fancy dress on the night, and our friends at Funktion 1 hire will be bringing back the soundsystem to blast out the choice of song for our intrepid night abseilers.
Our original plan to have a Silent abseil hasn’t died either – we’ll be switching off the soundsystem at the end of the night for those who want to experience the thrill of being alone, suspended over the Clyde in darkness with just a rope to hold you. The chaps at Glasgow Climbing Centre have assured me that there’s nothing like it.
That’s all the news I can think of for now, other than to say thank you to everyone who abseiled in August – it was a very busy weekend with lots of great people facing their fears to support people who don’t have the same opportunities in life. There were also a few people supported by ENABLE who abseiled too, not to mention serial abseiler Ross Ward!
Can’t wait for October, which has firmly shown itself to be the month of rock here at ENABLE Scotland. And I think the rockers of Glasgow are going to continue to surprise me!]]>
So there’s just three sleeps to go until the big day, and I properly can’t wait to see everyone’s costumes, hear the brilliantly appropriate choices of song and see the look on people’s faces when they complete their challenge.
Our big challenge the past few months has been to put on the biggest abseil ever we’ve ever done, and with 135 people set to abseil this weekend we’ve done it! Highlights of the weekend coming soon… if you’re ready to abseil, see you there.
Thought it would be great to put up this press release from our friends at RSA – they braved the abseil on Saturday in bright yellow workmen’s jackets (should that be workpeople’s jackets?) and it was a properly lovely day – sunny, great spirits from everyone and some very enjoyable abseiling too.
“Royal Sun Alliance celebrated 300 years of trading by falling a collective 30,000 feet for learning disability charity ENABLE Scotland on Saturday 19th June. Staff from RSA were parachuting and abseiling to raise thousands for the Scottish charity over the weekend, in what the insurance business sees as the perfect chance to give something back to the local community.
“RSA across the world is celebrating our 300th birthday, and the focus is on volunteering their time, donating gifts in kind and supporting fundraising events to benefit charities that we have a personal connection with,” Linda Welsh, Operations Manager of RSA in Glasgow, explains.”We have been supporting a variety of fantastic organisations including schools, hospices, animal shelters, victim support and now ENABLE Scotland. It’s a great way to give something back and means we benefit by engaging with the local community”.
The abseilers pictured, who carried out the daring drop on Saturday 19th, are all staff in RSA’s Glasgow company. They were joined too by friends, family and other adrenalin seekers for a day of abseiling from the formidable Titan Crane.”]]>
I’ve been spending the past few weeks finding willing abseilers – my search has taken me to the sunny banks of the Clyde and beyond, and it’s great to find that so many people remember the abseils from last year. Lots of them are up for it too and I can’t wait for the 1st of May!
But I seem to keep being told “Oh, not me. I’m not the kind of person who would do that!” So I started thinking about all of the people who’ve abseiled the Titan in the last year and all of their different stories – 16th birthday celebrations, abseiling was on the list of things to do before reaching the big 40/50/60, Â a grandparent who worked on the Titan – and I realised there really isn’t an average abseiler among them. Here’s a little snapshot of some of the Titan conquerers.
Henry Wilson, 23, got persuaded by the neon lights of October’s night rave abseil. Having abseiled before but never from such a height and definitely never in costume, Henry even surprised himself by raising over Â£230 with his efforts. “The Titan Abseil was amazing. Between the adrenalin rush and the views of Glasgow I hit the ground and wished I could head straight up for another go!”
Patricia MacKay decided to abseil the Titan pretty much on the spot, as she works in Clydebank College and takes part in charity challenges every couple of years. “If it’s for a good cause and you’re able to do it, why not?”
And last year’s Titan success story, Ross Ward, wanted to give something back to the charity that had supported him. With an indomitable will, Ross managed to raise over Â£1,500 with his abseil, and is coming back for more this May! “I thought at the time – IÂ conquered Titan. I did all this for Enable Scotland which I think are a brilliant organisation. They have done so much for me. They helped me get a job and changed my life for the better.”
Find out more about abseiling by calling 0141 225 1642, or sign up via the website.]]>
The ground vibrated with theÂ thump of bass. Above us, the imposing figure of the Titan Crane was suddenly lit up withÂ rows ofÂ bright green lights underneath the jib. The sound of N-Trance, Darude and Tiesto filled the air as theÂ bus pulled upÂ and a dark shape illuminated with strings of fairy lights and glow wire staggered out. The Titan Night Abseil had begun!
I’d been getting excited aboutÂ October 3rd’sÂ rave-themed Night Abseil for about two months, so when at 5pm on Saturday the winds still hadn’t stopped their 70mph course across Clydebank, I was gutted. With severe weather warnings across Scotland, we had hoped for the winds to die down as predicted for the evening, but no such luck. A box of glowsticks sat redundantly on the table. We called off the abseil.
Luckily, the good people at Clydebank Rebuilt and our abseil team moved mountains to help us reschedule the evening abseil for the very next day. Around 30 people were able to make the new date and the clear night, brilliant costumes and amazing sound system (you could hear it perfectly clearly even 150ft up!) made it all worth it. We don’t have a grand total yet but there were some great efforts with the fundraising, including Helensburgh man Ross Ward who raised just over Â£1,400! Prize-winners are listed below.
Our last remaining prize is the Best Photograph competition – we’ll be collecting photos from the abseil by uploading them to the Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1190343@N22/pool/Â orÂ you can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be announced on October 23rd – you have until 10am then toÂ get your photos to us! The winner will receive aÂ Gordon Cowan photographic experience worth Â£450: check out some of his work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gordoncowan/Â Gordon photographs and then paints a person or scene of your choosing to create a unique memory for you to keep. It’s a brilliant prize and we want to see your photos of the event, so please get sharing!
Thanks again to everyone who abseiled and if you didn’t get to due to the change of date, don’t worry as we will be having another night event next year and plenty of chances for you to abseil the Titan.
Top Fundraiser: Ross Ward (raised over Â£1,400) wins an overnight stay for 2 at theÂ Glasgow Radisson.
Best Rave Outfits: Ashleigh Niven, Charles Diaper and Carol Diaper all won a bottle of wine for their neon creations!
“Seasoned Professional” Award goes to two first timers, Katherine Coll and Kenny Walker. See Kenny’s abseil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1alMRvRnSU]]>
See our abseilers take on the Titan on August 1st 2009! These heroic folks raised around Â£8,000 for ENABLE Scotland and you can too – it takes Â£20 and 2 minutes by calling 0141 226 4541.ENABLE Scotland August Abseil 2009]]>
The weather was rough but our abseilers were tougher! Despite the intermittant rain and wind, everyone who made it up onto the Titan fulfilled their pledge and managed to do the 150ft abseil. Wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who raised money for ENABLE Scotland…. we’ve raised nearly Â£20,000 this year through your brave actions and tenacious fundraising.
Take a look at the ENABLE Scotland blog to see some of the crucial work we’re doing. http://www.enable.org.uk/blogs/news_blog/
It’s also a reminder of how far we still have to go in changing attitudes towards learning disability – whether it’s increasing support for people living in and around Glasgow, helping someone to overcome prejudice and underconfidence and find their first job, or piloting new schemes that will give a person receiving disability allowance more control over their budget.
Thanks to everyone who took part in the abseil – you have transformed lives.]]>
Imagine feeling that you don’t want to do anything at all. This video showsÂ the experience of Jayne Burnett,Â who benefited fromÂ one of the many projects ENABLE Scotland runs across Scotland. 25,000 people over 16 in Scotland have a learning disability – we campaign to ensure that people like JayneÂ have the confidence toÂ take full advantage of all life has to offer.
The Â£18,000 raised so far will go a long way towards ensuring that ENABLE Scotland can continue to provide invaluble services, but we still need toÂ raise another Â£42,000 this year.Â We rely on the money raised by our supporters and are lucky to have people who are brave andÂ generous enough to push themselves to the limit forÂ our charityÂ -Â become an ENABLE Titan today andÂ transform someone’s life.]]>
a) So, I got to the top of the Titan and I just couldn’t go through with the abseil. I was too scared to move and had to be ushered down by a well-meaning tourist…
b) I did it! But I’d never do it again. The wind, rain and torrential gales made it one of the worst experiences of my life…
c) I’m writing this blog on Kat’s behalf after the tragic accident last Saturday during the abseil. Kat was a lovely person, always up for something different, but this time it went too far…
The above are all possible beginnings to today’s blog that had been going through my mind for the last week or so. But luckily, none that apply. For some reason, after all my worries and fear, part of me had become determined to do the 150ft abseil. Nay, exhilerated and eager to do it – a bit of a suprise to me. I ended up leading the group of 5 of us onto the crane, only to find that everyone else had dropped back and I was to be the first abseiler of the day.
The safety rope was attached via an epic and expertly tied knot affixed to my two-part harness and I was then instructed to ‘just climb over the railings and off you go’. I started laughing and then realised they were serious – this was the part where reality became very surreal. I grabbed onto an overhead steel cable and swung out above the inky-black waters of the Clyde and a sheer drop onto concrete, and placing my feet onto the bottom of the railings I was hooked onto my abseil rope.
From this part on, no kidding folks, it was just brilliant and fun. I sat back into my harness, let my legs rise above my head to kick off from the crane itself, and descended at some speed. The view was spectacular – Clydebank is surrounded by very pretty mountains and if you time it right you are in the flight path of the airport! I loved it – even though it was several hours before I stopped having butterflies in my stomach. And there’s lots of photos to prove that I did it as well! Would definitely do it again and I’m sure that the key is not to think about what could go wrong and just enjoy the ride!
I’d love to hear other abseilers’ experiences – please comment here if you abseiled too!]]>