The view from the aqueduct

We decided to go to see the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a huge feat of engineering. This was possibly not the most sensible decision we ever made, given we were comprised of a man with vertigo, a man with one leg, two middle-aged rather unfit women, one recovering from cancer, the other from a heart attack and Dog. But never say die! We don’t think of our limitations, only of what we want to do. So we set off, Ruth only thinking to mention the height aspect when we were crossing the car park. “Everyone is OK with heights, I take it?” Hmmm. We have had some interesting adventures with the height thing. In South Africa once, on a guided visit to a monkey sanctuary, the guide suddenly asked the same question. “We have one of the highest treetop walks in Africa!” he proudly announced. Cue Mark to go green at the thought. “Last week we had to take a pilot off in a cargo net” he said, chuckling at the thought. We had a choice – go back the way we had come or go forward and risk the humiliation of a cargo net removal. We decided to go forward and did OK. We had a similar experience in Borneo on Mount Kinabalu. The treetop walk there appeared to be constructed of aluminium ladders covered with planks, the sides remaining tantalisingly out of our grasp at times. Mark insisted I went first at high speed so I missed all the hanging over the side moments, taking photos and marvelling at the height.

“Do you think you can make it over?” I asked. “Hmmm, probably not” he said. “You’ve done worse. You’ve crossed the bridge over the River Kwai – or some of it. And this doesn’t have trains running over it, either”, I pointed out. But the decision was made that Mark and Dog would go down a path at the side of the Aquaduct, Ruth and I would go over the Aquaduct and Philip would sit on a seat given that he couldn’t go downhill and had been across before. We set off, shouting “Oo oo!” over the side, trying to attract Mark’s attention. After a while of crossing, we decided it would be easier to go down the path and join Mark and Dog. We found either a) an art installation b) an alfresco toilet c) a strange item of rubbish.

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We walked down to join Mark, not thinking of the basic law of physics which says what goes down, must come up. A million steps later, we had a nice walk talking about taking revenge on people who have been really horrible and taken advantage of their position to bully, especially in the workplace. Mark suggested we set up awards for ‘Worst…………..’ (fill in the blank yourselves) and then award a runner up prize to the bully, showing they are not even good enough to be the worst at something. Ruth thought this was an excellent idea and spent all day sniggering at it. We set off climbing back up to the top. Ruth advised “We have to go up in stages and pretend we are stopping to admire the view”. I was way ahead of her on that one. It is only 126 feet high (or 38 metres for our metric cousins) but we only have little legs.

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