It was during
my rebellious months at Hereford Sixth Form College that I heard
an old legend. This legend told a brave tale of a valiant knight
who scaled the lofty heights of Hereford Cathedral Tower in order
to rescue his Princess.
my imagination, and so not two weeks later everything was in place
to carry out a daring plan.
and myself looked up from the ground at the huge Hereford Cathedral
that stood before us. For some months it had been undergoing extensive
restoration work as the ancient stone blocks were crumbling under
the stress of life in the 20th century.
this, scaffolding rose from the ground to envelope one corner
of the tower above: unfortunately the only way to reach it was
over a 3 metre wooden fence which has a healthy dose of coiled
barbed wire running along the top.
the fence as the society that was trying to impose its rules upon
as young adults, we took great pleasure in throwing our huge rucksacks
over and then one by one climbing it with the aid of an adjacent
wall and six very sticky shoes. It was quite a painful procedure
as the barbs bit deeply, but it was a necessary part of the adventure.
Next was one
of the most stressful parts - getting onto the first roof. The
only way up was via the workmen's lift. This consisted of a narrow
steel beam up which a small petrol-powered platform would climb.
Keeping as quiet as possible, two of us began the slow, painfully
stressful climb, which was made all the more difficult as our
"ladder" was covered in thick black grease. If we were
going to be seen it would be at this point as we were still pretty
close to the ground, and there was a perfect view from Church
Street below of the section up which we were climbing. By the
time we reached the top we were absolutely filthy and pretty tired,
but the adrenaline was pumping and so we didn't hesitate in getting
phase two underway: pulling the rucksacks up.
lowered a long climbing rope, the rucksacks were attached by Tom
who was waiting below and the hauling began. We flinched with
every tug as the bags were prone to swaying, and there were several
occasions when Tom (who was now following them up) had to try
and nudge them free after they'd got stuck under a supporting
they made it (as did Tom).
the first roof we felt a lot safer. The final climb up the tower
itself was to be made on the East side which was not as exposed
as the North up which we had just come. Here, there was plenty
of regular scaffolding and ladders, making it a lot easier! Our
main concern of course was being spotted, but once again fortune
smiled upon us and not a soul appeared on the streets below.
onto the roof of the tower we felt ecstatic, and wasted no time
in erecting our tent, cracking open the beer and cooking up a
lovely meal of baked beans and fried eggs with our little camp
stove. As the night wore on we became significantly louder and
more carefree. In fact, at 3am I found myself lowering the St.
George's Cross flag, and replacing it with my favourite pair of
patchwork jeans. I was very fond of those well-known trousers;
to see them fly above Hereford was a proud moment indeed.
As dawn approached,
so we packed up our party and descended. It was a lot easier than
the climb up as we could now use the scaffolding as fireman's
poles. Scrambling over the barbed wire fence we slipped quietly
back into society, where we became well-behaved students who would
never dream of breaking the law.
night I have been quite fond of Hereford Cathedral.
sure that other teenagers have also scaled it's lofty heights, although
I'd be surprised to hear of a similar party taking place. I did
actually attempt it once again a few weeks later with my two best
friends. Unfortunately we were caught by the police just after we'd
begun our climb and, as a result, we ended up having to spend that
night camping downwind of a sewage treatment plant.