We’re all familiar with the workings of a drawbridge, and most of us know how to erect a ladder. Putting the two together in an attempt to scale a spire, however, would cause many to bury their head in a moat.
Enter the WallWalkers, who revelled in the challenge set to them by those at Cheltenham College: reach the top of the spire replacing any damaged shingles, followed by a full photographic survey of the spire’s internal and external condition.
Getting to the underside of the spire would be of no issue, with the WallWalkers using their tried and tested technique of bolting themselves to the building and scaling the stone face to the top. The problem lay in developing a system whereby a ladder could be erected to the peak of the spire for shingle work to commence. Since the ring-beam at the base of the spire protruded to the point it was level with the lead capping base below, they wouldn’t be able to position a ladder on the lead in an upright position, as the rig-beam would push the ladder outwards at a vertical angle and away from the spire’s peak.
The WallWalkers would want to hit the ground running, so set to work devising a way to solve the problem far before a work date was set. Lateral thinking and multitude of coffees later, they unearthed a solution, developing a system which utilises three ladders; one acting as a drawbridge-like base suspended in mid air and anchored to the tower’s interior structure, and another double extension ladder which then sat on this first ladder, far from the tower’s edge, to achieve the correct working angle for the spire.
D-Day arrives, and suffice to say the plan went perfectly, with the system being erected with efficient ease. The WallWalkers quickly set about replacing the broken shingles followed by the completion of an in-depth photographic report detailing the condition of the tower, its structural composition and any recommended works to be carried out to maintain its longevity. With their work being so efficient, they even found time to take some snaps of the system before it was lost to memory for good, proof that the legendary Cheltenham Ladrawbridge once soared high above the town.
All in all, another successful day at the office with no moats required!