India Mill Chimney Climb, Darwen - June 2011.
India Mill chimney stands now as a lone memorial to King Cotton
Built in 1867 by architects Ernest Bates of Manchester and modelled around St Marks Campanile in Venice the original structure was 91M
The original cast iron crown was removed in 1943 due to war damage reducing the overall height by 6M (20ft)
Home to Peregrine Falcons and fantastic brickwork, the chimney now tops out at 85M (279ft)
This chimney needs no introductions from me - Just watch a legend explain this iconic structure HERE
Rewind nearly 2 years and myself and Solo1 stood at the foot of this beast
"One day we will stand on top of that"
Having looked at many pictures including the iconic black & white shot of the 'old chaps'
which I'm sure SL will dig out, a waiting game it was
We knew an inspection was probably imminent and after a chance conversation I overheard ladders were in place
No fucking about here, we had a small window of opportunity, SL was out of the picture so myself & Tweedy
decided to hit it up, we left him a message and decided to made our ascent
This was no mean feat, a 9M climb up the base, followed by a further 13M up the pitched roof to the ladders whilst lit up like an x-mas tree and surrounded by dome camearas was indeed lulz
(shouts to everyone involved, you know who you are)
Without further a-do I shot up the ladders without a care in the world until I reached the 30M mark and looked back down
It felt like the whole of Darwen was watching us, as the moon was strong and the sky was bright
I carried on up to the first ledge (approx 60M) from ground level and waited for my mate, stopping for a few pics before carrying on
As I hit the first overhang, suddenly the rope started to stretch.. WTF? I couldn't pass the deviation between the connecting ladders so literally had to un-clip and free climb back down a good 40ft+ to the ledge below
As I neared my mate, he told me that someone else was on the rope - Solo1 no less, and within no time he joined us on the ledge
There was now a genuine buzz as we carried on up the ladders one-by-one towards the summit, SL naturally shooting off into the night sky
As I approached the final overhang (around 80M) my gear got caught around the fixings, I couldn't pull myself over or even move back down, this was some scary shit, but I had no choice but to man-up and persevere
I soon got my shit together and made it onto the final ladder, a quick 5M climb and I joined SL, followed by my mate on the top of the chimney with the biggest grins ever
- Get a few pics and get the fuck down...
We made it
"You can ride a bike around here"
- Fred Dibnah
And finally our ladder awaits
The sun was rising, I hadn't slept, full of mixed emotions we made it back down safely, bitten to death by midges for a quick ppl shot we packed up and f00ked off
Massive Shouts to Solo1, Tweedy & the rest of the crew who made it up here