Scottish highline record smashed during 320m-long rope walk

Rowan Pocock felt 'a rush of joy' after walking hundreds of feet high in the Cairngorms.

Rowan Pocock breaks Scottish highline record with 320m-long rope walk in Cairngorms

An adventurer has smashed the Scottish highline record by walking 320 metres without falling.

Rowan Pocock, 29, who lives in Edinburgh, performed the feat in the Cairngorms near Blair Atholl – breaking the previous record of 180m.

The PhD student and his friends lugged 100kg worth of gear for the four-and-a-half kilometre hike through the valley before rigging up the slackline.

Walking at a height of 120 metres through the U-shaped valley, Rowan completed the challenge in 24 minutes without slipping off the webbing once.

“It had been my goal this summer – twice the length of any slackline I’ve crossed before,” he said.

“You’re walking into such a large expanse, and you have to keep your body relaxed while doing something that it naturally reacts quite viscerally to.

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“It was quite overwhelming but I was trying to be with that feeling while not falling off.

“I had a huge rush of emotions at the end and a sense of joy. I didn’t want to stop at the end, I just wanted to keep going. My friends were all excited for me too.”

Slacklining is a sport with various disciplines which involves moving along a flat rope, referred to as webbing, suspended between two anchors. Highlining involves typically longer distances at height on one-inch webbing while tethered to the line.

Rowan first got into slacklining after his brother brought home a kit at Christmas eight years ago – spending ten hours in a single day mastering his balance in the garden.

His passion has taken him all over the UK from Scots beauty spots to the Lake District and Aberystwyth in Wales.

He said he had been “obsessive” with training over the last eight years and joked that staying balanced for his latest stunt involved “plenty of falls in the park”.

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He added: “When people come across slacklining who have never seen it before, it looks dangerous.

“But we take everything seriously. It’s incredibly safe and we have rescue protocols. It’s always a team effort.

“I reckon you could hang a car or a lorry off our gear and it would be absolutely fine.”

Rowan hopes to beat the current English best of 380 metres in the near future.

“It would be great to get bigger and better, and getting on longer and higher lines, but it’s more about the experience than breaking records,” he said. “It’s intense and enjoyable and I just want to keep doing more of it.

“It’s a really exciting time to be getting into highlining in Scotland.”

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