Haslemere Admiral’s challenge to climb the rigging

Left DS Ian Garnett and right the mayor of Medway
Left DS Ian Garnett and right the mayor of Medway

TWO ADMIRALS have climbed 50ft to the fighting top of the 18th-century HMS Gannet in a bid to raise funds for charity.

And although the ship may be old, the health and safety standards for climbing rigging in the 21st century are very new, with safety helmets and safety lines not dreamt of in the ship’s heyday.

Ian Garnett, who lives in Haslemere, is in charge of The Historic Dockyard at Chatham where the latest project is to renovate the Wooden Walls Gallery – to be reopened by 2015 as The Hearts of Oak Gallery.

Ian challenged the Mayor of Medway, who has the courtesy title of Admiral of the River, to the climb, which they achieved on a very cold day with a 20-knot easterly wind adding to the interest of the climb.

The renovation project involves building a new gallery showing the Age of Sail and opening a free-to-view orientation display for the tentative World Heritage site, Chatham Dockyard and its Defences.

It also involves displaying many of the timbers of HMS Namur, built at Chatham in the 1780s, which served 47 years in the fleet, including nine fleet actions.

The money raised by the intrepid admirals will all go to help pay for the project.

To support the new display at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, readers can send a cheque to the Historic Dockyard at Chatham, Kent ME4 4TE.