Belfast Telegraph

Looking down the Nose of a striking landmark

by Fiona Rutherford

The Belfast Hills Partnership has come up with an over-the-top way to raise funds, with the first ever abseil from Napoleon’s Nose.

The Cavehill abseil is to raise |funds for the Save the Belfast Hills campaign, launched after the Partnership lost a large slice of funding through Assembly cutbacks this year.

It has had an uphill struggle winning permission to stage the historic event, 1,000 feet above the city, but the final hurdle was overcome when Belfast City Council gave it its blessing last week.

The actual drop will be 100ft from the ancient McArt's Fort — also known as Napoleon's Nose — with spectators positioned at Cave Hill Country Park.

The cliff-face abseil will allow for spectacular views of Belfast Lough, Divis and Black Mountain, the Antrim Plateau, and Strangford Lough, and is scheduled for September 11.

Projects officer at the Belfast Hills Partnership, Dr Lizzy Pinkerton, said it was an event not to be missed.

“This is an abseil of a lifetime and the very first time a descent has been made this way over the top of Cave Hill. The abseil will be overseen by Activities Ireland. The setting is as spectacular as any abseil anywhere in the world.”

Dr Pinkerton said the abseil would have literary symbolism also, as the site — resembling a sleeping giant — is believed to have provided the inspiration for Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.

“With the ropes and the people on the hill, it really will look like a representation of the novel, right at the spot that inspired Swift's giant.

“It will be quite a spectacle,” she said.

Dr Pinkerton said the Partnership needed to recover a shortfall in its funding of £30,000, after the Northern Ireland Environment Agency was forced to reduce its core funding.

She said abseilers are being asked to raise £150 to take part, but “they can raise more if they like” as this is one element of a series of fundraising events.

“We had a sponsored walk in June, and we’re having a street collection later in the year,” she added.

Dr Pinkerton is in two minds about nosing over the top herself, but says a couple of staff members are already excited about their opportunity to do so.

Anyone wishing to join them can register online at www.belfasthills.org or can call the Belfast Hills Partnership on 9060 3466.

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