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News reporter gets roped in to try out new Merry Hill Sky Trail
Buy this photo » News reporter Bev Holder. Buy photo: 081311MH
WALKING on high wires has been almost as enticing to me as trying out the trapeze in the Big Top - an ambition this colourful job afforded me a few years ago.
Now - thanks to Merry Hill's new Quest For Adventure complex - I've managed put another tick on my adrenaline-pumping activity wish list.
Invited along with other members of the media to try out the new Sky Trail High Ropes course at the shopping centre - I figured this would be my one and only chance to legitimately try out what I'd initially thought of as a climbing facility for young mall rats.
Having taken to rock climbing and abseiling like a duck to water in my teenaged years and more recently having re-lived that a little on outings to woodland adventure course Go Ape - I thought the Quest high ropes course, which is the highest of its kind in Europe, would be a breeze.
But as I made my way up on a variety of Indiana Jones style rope bridges and circus-like tightropes to the highest corner of the glass-fronted mall's roof space - my heart was in mouth and my palms were sweating.
Despite being completely connected to an idiot-proof safety wire at all times - with zero potential for disaster - it was almost impossible not to feel the fear when peering down at the ever-shrinking shoppers and onlookers on the ground floor.
Do it anyway, however, was the phrase I kept repeating to myself as I cautiously but swiftly made my way through the fourth, final and most testing part of the course - determined not to be beaten by a few rope bridges and a 17-metre drop!
And now I'm safely back on the ground I'm glad I heeded the mind over matter advice parroted by self-help authors around the world - but when you're up there, alone in the roof space, trying not to look down and wondering whether your balance is as good as you thought it was...that's easier said than done.
Not for the faint-hearted, the course is a treat for youngsters and the young at heart wishing to combine a little thrill-seeking with their shopping.
But it would also make the perfect challenge for vertigo sufferers keen to conquer their fear in a risk free environment.
Meanwhile a daring Stourbridge mentor gave pupils a day to remember by bravely going where no teacher has gone before in term time.
Neil Bate, a 28-year-old teacher at Rufford Primary School, was picked to try out the new high ropes course having been nominated for the daredevil challenge by students seeking revenge.
Not only did the gutsy year six tutor make it to the top of the course, which is as high as four double-decker buses stacked on top of each other, but also walked some of the way blindfolded and while being fired at by plastic pistol wielding pupils who turned up to cheer him on.
And to congratulate him on his bravery Quest has promised to donate £300 to the Bredon Avenue school.
To find out more about activities at Quest, which is near Debenhams, check out www.thequest.co.uk