Computer Support Flight trip to Stenigot Tower
On 16 August 11 a team of 9 members of Computer Support Flt (CSF) Flight Lieutenant Kev Knott, Sergeant Greg Southern, Corporal Bill Bradley, Corporal Paul Dufficy, Corporal Danny Hazell, Corporal Richie Nation, Corporal Daz Sharpe, Senior Aircraftman Daz Tower & Mr John Seabourne travelled to Stenigot Tower with one goal; to make it to the top.
The tower stands a massive 360 ft high and is located high on the Lincolnshire Wolds. First opened in 1940 as a WW2 Radar Station it stood adjacent to three additional towers forming part of the Chain Home Radar network with the purpose of providing long range, early warning for raids along the approaches to Sheffield and Nottingham and the Central Midlands.
After being kitted out and briefed by the Aerial Erectors at RAF Digby, the team, led by ProjO Flt Lt Kev Knott, arrived at Stenigot late morning during some unwanted windy weather. The tower looked no smaller in the flesh and was a very daunting sight to behold. Never the less the team were in good spirits and were all looking forward to getting started, admittedly some more than others.
After receiving a final brief from the ‘Riggers’ about the do’s and don’ts of climbing and having to accept that our harnesses would not be actually attached to anything, it was onwards (and upwards). First to set off was Richie Nation who was closely followed by Bill Bradley and Paul Dufficy, all eager to get started. The tower consists of 2 platforms, the first of which is approximately 50ft up. This was the first rest point for all of the team; which included a very worried looking Daz Tower who confesses to struggle with heights.
Showing admirable determination Daz continued to press on to the next rest point along with the rest of the team. The next rest point was a platform at around 200 ft so this required a further climb of 150 ft; three times the distance climbed so far.
Once the final person arrived at the second platform it was a time to take in the views and get composed for the final stint, which was straight to the top. From this height you could see the large craters in the ground that were caused by the bombings during the second world war as well as being able to make out the Lincoln Cathedral.
The team began the final ascent to the top of the tower. This had to be done in smaller teams as the top platform was so small there was only enough space for 3 or 4 individuals at any one time. Once at the top, all team members proudly signed the visitors book and took a moment to look out at the views from 360 ft. Additional bomb craters became apparent in the distance as well as the distinctive bombing lines they formed.
Every member of the team reached the top, even Daz Tower shakily arrived at the 360 ft point and when later asked to describe the feeling stated “there was only one feeling when I got to the top and that was relief”. So, now that everyone had successfully climbed the tower there was only one thing left to do and that was to get back down. This proved a much easier task than climbing the tower and many team members completed it in one stint. The whole event proved a success from both a historical and physical perspective and provided an outstanding personal challenge to all involved. CSF are grateful to the Digby Riggers for making the climb possible.
By Corporal Bill Bradley