Turn End’s gardener, Jackie Hunt, enjoyed views across the garden and village when she recently climbed Turn End’s Giant Sequoia tree to measure its height.
Jackie was joined by Rachel Aldington, who grew up at Turn End. The two were supervised by tree climbing enthusiast Michael Spraggon. The Sequoia was an easy challenge for Michael, who measures trees for the Tree Register of the British Isles and has climbed and measured some of the tallest trees in Europe. Here is Jackie’s report of the climb:
“The tree has a straight, branch-less trunk near the base and the branches in the middle section of the tree slope steeply downward, so Michael started the climb by using a sling shot to launch a line carrying the rope over a sturdy limb half way up. Once he’d climbed the tree and secured the ropes, Rachel and I were able to quickly ascend the lower half of the tree using Michael’s own rope climbing invention, called the M- System, which enabled us to almost walk vertically up the tree!
We used the network of dense branches nearer the top to climb the upper section of the tree, secured by a Unicender which enabled us to hang safely from the rope and also to abseil down. Near the top there was natural bowl of branches where we could sit and admire the view. Being an experienced climber, Michael was able to climb to the very top and look out above the branches and take a measurement of the tree from tip to toe. We opted to watch him from a secure perch whilst he walked out along the branches too!
We had all made guess at the height of the tree – none of us were correct! We measured the tree at 21.15 metres in height.