Olympic torch zip wire

Kna Knaresborough Viaduct.(0210014a)
Kna Knaresborough Viaduct.(0210014a)

A WORLD record attempt could be made as part of the Harrogate district’s Olympic torch celebrations.

The Advertiser can reveal talks have been taking place for a world zip wire record attempt in Knaresborough on June 19.

The idea was put forward when it was realised there could be around 200 photographers camped out for up to an hour on High Bridge waiting for the quintessential photo opportunity of the Olympic torch with the world-famous Knaresborough railway viaduct as a backdrop.

The current record, which is for the most people down a zip wire in one hour, has stood since May 2, 2010 when 122 people crossed a 50 metre (164ft) zip wire at Waldklettergarten, a climbing park in Enzklosterle, Germany.

Thoughts on how to entertain them while they waited to see the handover of the Torch ranged from getting a steam train positioned on the viaduct to a boat event down on the water until a meeting with Fiona Martin, owner of Mother Shipton’ Cave, England’s oldest tourist attraction, led to the concept of a Mother Shipton lookalike appearing to welcome the torch to Knaresborough.

Coun Tony Handley, who is one of a small team who have been considering how best to welcome the torch to Knaresborough, said:

“I was walking back across High Bridge having been to see Fiona to tell her about the photographers when I had this vision of Mother Shipton flying across the Nidd,” said Tony.

“The rest of the team thought the idea was different enough to guarantee some media coverage and it was then, when we started exploring if it could be done, that we discovered the world record.

“That’s when it got really exciting because if it can be done then Knaresborough, well, in fact, Mother Shipton, who will, of course, be the last one down the zip, will be seen to break the first world record of the 2012 Olympics. And that’s a story that will go around the world.”

But with just weeks to go until the torch arrives, the clock is ticking for organisers to make the idea a reality.

Tony said: “Time is running out but as news of the idea has spread so has the enthusiasm to make it happen.

“Everyone who has heard of the idea thinks it’s great.

“Inevitably there have been a lot of people saying you can’t do that but Welcome to Yorkshire, who do want to see it happen, have this week put us in touch with the Web Adventure Park in York who have contacts who can build the structure and the Yorkshire Regiment have volunteered to throw people at it.

“I believe that as news of the concept gains momentum, the weight of support will overcome all the potential obstacles and make it happen.”