Tallest tree climb in the U.K.

What is it like climbing the tallest tree in the U.K.

The trip to this very special Douglas fir was a privilege To do the tallest tree climb in the U.K.. Presently this is the tallest tree in the U.K..

Douglas Fir
Tallest UK tree

How you find out about such trees in the U.K.?

It is listed on a website called monument trees.

Location

Betws-y-coed Wales

The Set up

OK, first off this is a tree to be climbed in fair weather, it is not sensible in high winds. We were very fortunate to be there on a day where we had sunshine and no wind (on the ground). We climbed in two teams of two. Dylan set up the first line (yes it takes two lines as none of us had one sufficiently long enough to make it all the way to the top).

Getting the first line in the tree

What happens is Dylan shoots a throw bag into the canopy to get us into the tree. For this he uses a big shot. He uses a fine throw line so there is little drag. Even then it only reaches the lower branches of the tree. In saying this I should point out at this point the line is over 100 feet, which is not yet halfway up the tallest tree climb in the U.K.

How do you climb up?

The method used to climb up the tree is one called single rope technique or as we call it SRT. It involves a lot of gear but is physically the most efficient way to climb tall trees.

Dylan at the top
Dylan at the top

In our case we use a mechanical friction device called a Pro Rope Runner, we also use a Petzl Zig Zag and a chicane, Dylan uses an Akimbo. Every system has its pros and cons, its about what works for you. This is attached to the main line and harness bridge. Next up is the foot ascender and knee ascender. I use a CT foot ascender and a Petzl knee ascender. As you climb the friction device needs tending up. To do this I use a chest harness with a small rock exotica karabiner. This tends the device up the rope and helps keep you vertical. Top tip from my own experience is the more vertical you can be the more efficient the ascent will be.

The climb is done in two teams of two

Dylan and Jonny go first up the tree then we follow afterwards once they come back down. Josiah my son goes first and I follow, which is just as well as I’m not as fast as he is. The first ascent is long and exhausting I have to stop twice to allow the lactic acid to reduce.

Nearing the top
Nearly there

The next phase is easier using the branches like a ladder mostly and keeping roped in of course.

Looking through the branches
Climbing phase

Once you’re up there it is a case of taking in the view. It is a thrill to see the scenery. Only if you climb up there do you get to see the countryside from that particular point of view.

Stunning views over Wales

View from the top
Breathtaking

For more information:

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/douglas-fir/

Sunshine day
Amazing views