A day at Head4Heights may mean you’ll be relieved to return to flat ground. But is your home in a level place? Some residential districts are so steep, a walk in the garden is a hill-climb, and the lawn is under the upstairs back window-ledge.
The MIRA automotive testing facility expects new cars to keep themselves in place on a one-in-three gradient under handbrake alone, but which of us would trust our wheels on slopes like these?
Said to be the steepest road in Europe, Vale Street in Bristol is a serious challenge for brakes, gears and pedestrians’ bodies. It’s surprising the postman hasn’t applied for a stair-lift.
The Victorians knew how to save themselves the trouble of a steep walk, and their solutions are often as much a part of the view as the scenery which required them, as here at Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
But when does a walk become a climb? Maybe when hands and feet are needed, or is it in the mind of the person ascending? Famous fell-walker Alfred Wainwright was careful and contemplative but his beloved Lake District hills attract crazier types too.
The strange and fascinating Dune de Pyla stands 110meters high between the Atlantic and the forests of France’s Aquitaine region, and the million visitors per year need to be fit to climb it. Being sixty-million tonnes of sand, it isn’t fixed but is gradually creeping inland, covering forests, houses and roads.
But what’s the real thrill in high places – going up, or coming back down? Leo Houlding’s much-watched two-hour Provencal cliff-climb, followed by a 20-second base-jump suggest it’s fun both ways, but Leo is keen to promote entry-level climbing for everyone.