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Report - Climbing the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle 26/12/08 + Arrest

Discussion in 'High Stuff' started by Vivo, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. Vivo

    Vivo 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    May 3, 2007
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    Photo by Firmatography. Taken with CC Att 2 license.


    All of you guys that have met me will know I am immensely proud of my heritage and the North East. As with most other Geordies, I love Newcastle. For pretty much everyone the Tyne Bridge is the international symbol of our city, and I'm yet to meet someone who isn't in love with it. Over the years there have been many people try to climb the 60m bridge. Most have failed, and the successes were often suicides. I only know of two people who have successfully ascended to the top and lived to tell the tale (one was Paddy Conroy's friend and the other a Fathers4justice protest) and both those people were arrested.

    To climb the 7000 tonnes of steel that span the Tyne has been a lifelong dream of mine. Only this year had I considered actually doing it however, inspired by some other explorers who have a "just get it done" approach. I knew it was going to be hard, the Tyne Bridge is one of Newcastle's most essential transport links and is busy 24 hours a day. Getting up it, I would still be likely to get nicked. In May of this year I decided I would try and get this done before 2009 and decided Christmas day would be the best time to give it a crack so I sat and waited.

    So after filling myself with turkey I put on my new Christmassy socks and got all my kit together and walked 6 miles to Newcastle. I arrived at the bridge at a quite respectable 01:45 in the morning and kitted up behind a wall. Climbing the bridge proved a challenge, particularly on the low levels where the arch is much steeper. I had to move fast obviously due to the bridge being lit up but the lack of safety cables made it more difficult to ascend safely.

    Long story short, I made it to the top and got a few photos, nothing I'm really happy with but this was more for the sake of doing it than for the photos so I don't really mind.

    As I was just about to go down I noticed a heavy police presence below. I started to descend and talked to the coppers as I came down. They seemed quite reasonable once I explained I had safety equipment in place.

    I got down to ground level and was arrested in quite a peaceful manner, with handcuffs on in front of me rather than cutting into my wrists and behind my back. The police seemed quite positive about the whole thing, but were a little confused as to why I had climbed it. I explained I just wanted to climb it for the sake of climbing it, because it's there to climb, and because it's something I've always dreamed of doing.

    The police were surprisingly civil at the station and seemed quite impressed I had managed to get up there. To quote one officer: "You've got balls son, I'll give you that". They were extremely curious as to why I did it dressed in black at 3am on Boxing Day morning though so I explained the obvious. I didn't want to get caught so I did it at a time when I didn't think anyone would see me and I wouldn't cause as much disruption. When someone climbs the bridge, they close it for safety reasons which causes massive disruption to the traffic so I felt that doing it at that time was an appropriate way of causing people as little disruption as possible.

    As many of you will know there is no law against climbing buildings and bridges, but because the bridge had to be closed I had been arrested for causing a public nuisance. The police agreed that I had set out with the intention of causing as little disruption as possible and I was let off with a caution, which I felt was appropriate and accepted.

    Their advice was to just climb stuff that was more out of view and people won't get panicky about. I was seriously impressed with how well the police took the whole thing, and we all had a bit of a laugh about it. I even got a lift home! :p

    The papers however have not taken it quite so nicely. Even though less than ten people knew about this, someone has leaked it to the press (the Police told me they would not be releasing any information) and it is already in three newspapers as I type this. The papers try to make it sound a lot more malicious than it was by claiming that I "told police he climbed onto the upper tiers of the bridge because he wanted to cause disruption and because he knew he could".

    Anyway, even with getting arrested, this is still one of the best nights I've ever had by myself, and a great Christmas present.













    I hope you enjoyed my story even if the pictures are crap.

    EDIT: Also, please don't whine about accepting a caution. This isn't like trespass. I DID commit the offence they arrested me for. If it went to the magistrates, which is ruled by old middle-class men, I would most likely have been fined.

    Thanks to Crossy for the help and support with this, and to all the climbing chalk that was used.
    #1 Vivo, Dec 26, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008

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