Sydney Harbour bridge

Sydney Harbour bridge is an iconic image of the city and everyone can bring it to mind without really thinking about it.

Built by Middlesborough company Dorman Long in 1932, it has been lovingly adopted by Sydney-siders as 'The Coathanger' due to its' original eye-catching design.

It had long been my ambition to participate in the bridge climb up to the apex of the construction and when the opportunity arose, I seized the moment.

Safety is paramount here, so after a breathalyser test and briefing we had to empty pockets of all objects and don overalls. Not flattering, but we all felt part of an exploratory team that had our pulses racing.

Next came the harnesses which would hook us securely onto the guide wires by means of carabiners. Slowly we progressed over the test rig of metal steps and open weave platforms in order to get a taste of what was to come. Little did we know.

Nervously, we set out along the underslung walkways of the bridge and out into the open air, with the spectacular harbour beneath us. The curved steel arch stretched away ahead of us and we plodded up towards the centre.

The dark clouds that we had seen around the harbour in the distance had taken on a worringly purple hue, though we were in bright sunshine on the bridge itself.
Getting a bit of a sweat on by now as we puffed uphill to the very top, 134 metres above the water, we reached the pleasingly flat top and stood beneath the enormous twin flags of Australia.

Photograph time now as we took in the wonderful 360 degree sights of the city.
The Opera House took centre stage, resplendently white in the sunshine as ferry and pleasure boats prowled beneath us looking like toys in a bathtub.

The purple clouds had closed in by this time and suddenly the air was rent as a shocking thunderclap seemed to vibrate the bridge itself. Everyone ducked instinctively. Lightening lit the clouds as the electrical storm began to vent its' spleen. Multiple lightning forks flashed down into the sea. It was a magnificent, if scary sight.

Aware of the danger of being exposed in these conditions, we were quickly guided down over the opposite arch away from the potential danger and back to the safety of the dressing rooms. Relieved to be on terra firma once more, we reflected on the experience.

Breath-taking didn't come close.


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