Look both ways when crossing the road, always wear a helmet when riding your bike and don’t accept sweets from strangers.
These nuggets of tried and tested advice (among many others) periodically recited to me by my loving mother from about the age of 1, largely stood me in good stead until my typically rebellious teenage years, in which I got run over, came off my bike and started going to raves.
If ‘climbing transmission masts’ was a thing people normally did, I assume a rule pertaining to it would have featured in that popular repertoire of parental advice, as its a rather dangerous activity fraught with all sorts of hazards that can be mitigated against by the simple action of ‘not climbing transmission masts’.
However.. I was also told by my mother that I should try everything once (except incest and morrice dancing), and so a number of weeks ago myself and a small set of other like minded individuals set off to the 771ft Moel-y-Parc transmitting station in Wales with the sole aim of climbing it.
Moel-y-Parc transmitter, for those who don’t know/care is a massive metal pole that enables people in wales to waste their time watching pointless crap. The two main BBC muxes that come off its huge main antenna at the top run at around 20kw a piece, plenty enough to fry you right if you spend too long up there. Even if you don’t fancy getting your knackers cooked by News at Ten, the DAB and FM dipole whips mounted at intervals on the way up will certainly do weird shit to your important bits if you hang around to long. As you can tell, we did some important research on the subject of WOT IZ BAD, based on a bit of sketchy info we found online. Basically this:
So avoid the dipoles and stay well clear of the top, don’t stress on the drums and dishs. Fine, we thought.
To approach was relativly straight forward, although the cow shit and wet grass didn’t help matters. A quick hop over the fence and we were on the thing in no time.
Unlike, say, a modern construction crane (which has staggered sections of 10 foot ladders), this thing really is just one massive 771 foot lader to the top. To put that in perspective, thats over twice the height of City Tower in the center of Manchester, and about as high as One Canada Square for all you southerners. Imagine climbing the outside of that on a single uncaged ladder. Thankfully, there are points of respite where you can chill out on your way to the top in the forms of metal shelves about 120ft apart.
Anyways.. Huff puff, clang, clang and we were at the top… with one of the worse views i’ve ever had to work up an appetite for. There is a reason they put these things on massive hills in the middle of nowhere, and glorious nocturnal view isn’t what they had in mind..
By the way, I say ‘the top’, but what I actaully mean is ‘the last shelf before the main DVB transmitters’. There was about another 60 ft between us and the very top, but none of us had the balls/were dumb enough to dice with that much EM radiation head on. If you fancy a go, by all means do so and write back to me when you do. I’m genuinely interested in what will happend to you with those kinds of levels of exposure.
Desipte only reaching a measly 700ft, it was a perfect night for it. The stillness of our elevated environment was utterly marverlous (if not a little bit cold), with the shimmering orange of the towns in the distance reminding us of the ultimate destination for the man-size microwave above our heads.
We’d all had enough before long and hit the ladders back for the looong climb to the bottom.
Love to j,k,and p x