Over 40m below me, the residents of North London are going about their business as usual, oblivious to the fact that I’m leaning further and further over the edge of Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium high above them.
I’m trussed up in a reassuringly secure full-body harness, but at this height, it’s difficult to override the body’s natural desire to play it safe. I feel my knees give a warning wobble as I slowly lean over the edge, my entire body weight now held by the rope attached to my back.
I straighten my legs fully, my body completely parallel with the hard concrete below, and stretch out my arms, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible style. The countdown begins; in a few thrilling seconds I’ll be back on terra firma.
Who said you can’t have an outdoors adventure in the city?
This is the Dare Skywalk, a new heart-pumping experience offering city-based adventurers the chance to get their pulses racing during an evening or weekend in London.
The journey starts at the base of the stadium, where a staircase up the back of the stands leads to a steep, open-sided platform that continues onto the roof. It’s here that the first vistas of the city open up, with London’s skyline punctuating the views to the south.
At the top, a walk along the clear-glass-floored path leads us over the pitch. For a self-confessed football fan, it’s an incredible opportunity to see Europe’s largest stadium from a unique perspective.
But, if you’re not interested in 22 men chasing a bag of air, the height and exposure on the platform is enough to provide plenty of excitement, while the lack of safety railings on one side adds to the thrill.
It’s worth noting at this point that I was tethered in at all times, although that didn’t stop me clinging to the safety railing like a barnacle on a barge. There really is nothing like a sheer 40m drop to get the blood flowing.
With the pitch walk successfully navigated, it was time to face the final challenge; the abseil. While you can abseil off the platform backwards, I chose to face the descent head-on. What’s life without pushing your comfort zone? Then it was time for the countdown, as I braced myself for the sensation of falling to the North London pavement far below.
When my belayer hit zero I surged forwards, gravity doing its thing, and in a few exhilarating seconds, I was back on the ground, breathless and desperate to do it all again.
While the London I grew up in may not boast the lofty peaks to compete with the Scottish Highlands or the Lake District, my afternoon proved that it’s possible to find one hell of an adventure in the city.