So what are your first thoughts when you gaze at a huge overhanging gneiss rockface?
If you’re Dave MacLeod and Tim Emmett, it’s: let’s see if we can climb that 215m (700ft) beauty. If you’re Simon Brentford, it’s: I’d like to jump off that.
And so, inspired by The Great Climb, the live television broadcast of the climbing duo’s epic climb of Sròn Uladail in north Harris, the Leeds-based Base jumper packed his parachute and headed for Harris.
Simon’s video of his preparations and leap from a precipitous ledge are on his blog, along with an account of the trip to Harris.
Friend and cameraman Adam Bibby recorded the trip, including an abseil to recce the best take-off point. Simon explained: “When undertaking a Base jump, it’s important to check out all the components of the jump and that starts with the landing area.
“Directly below the cliff was a perfect grassy area: not too bumpy, and free of rocks. The only problem was that we stood face-to-face with a herd of red deer! For a few minutes we watched each other. Eventually they ran off and vanished into the moor. Another potential hazard, fortunately some weeks later, would be attack by nesting golden eagles on the parachute, which could be shredded.”
The jump, the first ever recorded from the crag, took place last Thursday. Throwing a stone from one potential take-off point resulted in a five-second drop to the ground, just enough for a jump, but Simon wanted to search out a higher point.
Simon said: “It only took moments to reach this second exit point and this time it was right on the lip of the enormous overhang. Throwing another rock over, this time it took seven seconds before impact, which equated to an impressive 600ft drop. I was elated and shouted a big ‘I’ve found it’ to Adam. The final component had fallen into place.
After checking his gear and preparing for the jump, he was ready.
“Taking a deep breath, I quietly counted ‘3, 2, 1, see-ya’ and pushed off from the cliff,” he said. “Looking directly below I could see it falling away behind me. Wow, it’s big! I threw my pilot chute into the air after a couple of seconds to open the main parachute.
“Accelerating rapidly by now, I was out of view of Adam’s camera. I didn’t have long to wait as the parachute did its job on queue and opened with a loud whack.”
The Base jumper finished his northern trip with a jump from the sea cliffs at Kilt Rock on Trotternish on Skye.
A full account of the Base jump on Sròn Uladail is on the North Harris Trust website.