By Bejay Browne
A 74-year-old Paphos resident has raised hundreds of euros for the Friends hospice by hurtling down the longest zip wire in Europe and the fastest in the world, at 160 kilometres an hour.
Welshman, Arlan Roach, has lived in Emba village for the last 13 years and said he needed a break following the death of his wife in July. So he travelled to Wales and persuaded his eldest daughter, Kim Miller, to accompany him on his daredevil challenge. He drummed up support for the zip ‘flight’ from family and friends to sponsor him.
He said: “I wanted to do something to help a good cause and so on September 24 I completed my challenge. The zipping wasn’t frightening but initially being lowered off a platform at a great height in a harness and looking down was.”
Roach said he was suspended face down in a harness and wearing a crash helmet and overalls, as he charged down Zip World’s ‘Velocity’ line -a mile long, 500ft high steel wire, which is set above a lake and an old slate works.
“As I was being strapped in, my greatest fear was that the steel and fibre harness wouldn’t be able to support me and that I would crash onto the rocks and rubble below; or that I might be dropped into the deep water of the lake,” he said.
The adventure is run by Zip World at Bethesda in North Wales, and stretches across the old Penrhyn Quarry in Snowdonia. The adrenalin fuelled attraction opened in 2013 and they say they offer visitors a unique experience which is ‘the closest thing to flying.’
He said: “At some points the experience felt like I was flying, especially when the wind catches you half way down and you sway from side to side.”
Roach is one of the oldest people to undertake the challenge although he says a 94-year-old has also completed it.
“I’m a youngster compared with him and I’m considering what I can do next to raise money for the hospice.”
Roach raised €425 for The Friends’ Hospice and recently handed over the funds.
He said: “It was partly scary but a really wonderful experience. I’m a latecomer to thrill seeking.”