It started out as chilly morning, nothing like the gorgeous sunny days we had had during the week. I was attempting to dress for an active adventure but also for something fancy that afternoon. How the hell you do this I don’t know… I took an outfit change in the end! All this secrecy of not being told what we were actually doing was because it was all a surprise. Something my best friend and boyfriend had prepared together and now here I was stood at the o2 at 9.30am wondering what on earth I was doing there at that time.
Thankfully there was a logical answer and as my best friend inform me shortly after arriving our first adventure of the day was climbing over the o2. Now I was excited, I had wanted to do this for ages, I find it is hard to find adventure fun in London so when there is a good opportunity to do so I like to jump at the chance. I just hadn’t gotten around to actually jumping at this chance.
We were a little early for our climb time so hung around in Starbucks for a while until we headed over 20 minutes early (they say to arrive 15 minutes early in our defences). Still it was worth arriving early as we got bumped onto the 10.15am climb instead of the 10.30am climb. Later, we learnt this had been a blessing as the 10.30am group has nearly double the size of our climb group.
We did the obligatory safety video before making our way into the changing room to get suited up. Due to the horrific weather the day before many of the suits were still soaked which meant not all sizes were available. This meant I ended up wearing a suit that was about double my size. Still it kept me warm from the chilly wind which was blowing. After we’d changed our shoes, layered up and been strapped up with a harness they were a few more safety points given by our instructor Kate before we were ready to go.
Did you know the dome has 12 yellow spikes one for each month of the year, is 52m tall one metre for each week of the year and 365m round one metre for each day of the year.
There was a quick photo stop at the start of the course for everyone and then we were lining up ready to do this. Because it was my birthday the next day I got selected to go first. I think everyone regretted this decision as soon as I started walking. My slightly dodgy knee from all the marathon training meant going up and down was not the easiest thing to do. This was made slightly harder by the fact the first incline was incredibly steep. I certainly kept the pace slow for everyone during that steep incline, however, once we were over that it was all plain sailing. In hindsight had I known what we were doing I probably would have worn a support on my knee to stop it hurting so much.
Once we reached the platform at the top of the dome our pulley was unleashed from the cable we had been attached to at the bottom and we were free to roam around the platform as we pleased. This was the one occasion we were allowed to take out our phones, which had been zipped in special pockets in our suit. We wandered around admiring the view, taking photos of it and of course selfies of ourselves. It was a great view even on the grey day we had but the wind chill made standing still very cold. We kept walking around the platform in an effort to keep warm and I really regretted not being prepared with gloves because my hands were so cold. After around 15 minutes as the other group approached the viewing platform we began our decent down the other side of the dome.
Much like the climb up it started gradual and then began a steep decline towards the end of the walk way. However, unlike the climb up I was at the back this time and not holding anyone up except myself. The climb down seemed to take no time at all and before we knew it we were stepping off of the walk way straight onto the ground. Then handing back out suits and shoes and exchanging them for our bags which the team had stored and bought round to the finishing side.
Overall, I loved climbing the o2 and I thought it was a great way to see London from another view point. It isn’t often you get to see the east side of London as most buildings with a view are based in central London unless of course you work in Canary Wharf. Despite being a grey day we still experienced great views. Our instructor Kate was a lot of fun and she worked the group dynamics and made she sure spoke to every member of the group which was nice. It certainly seemed like everyone enjoyed theirselves. She was also super knowledgable about London and the landmarks you can see from the dome – great for tourists to London who maybe don’t know the city as well.
My only advice would be dress for the weather, I absolutely did not do this because I didn’t know what we were doing until we got there. An extra thick layer, hat and gloves would really have helped me enjoy all of it that little bit more. I especially advise this as they run no matter the weather (unless it is gail force winds!). They run tours throughout the day and up until sunset so you can pick the time of day which you prefer best.
I did not pay for this experience as it was a birthday present but if you would like to find out the price and more information you can on their website.
Have you climbed the o2? What did you think?