Ever since 90 BC, or thereabouts, in China when the Emperor Shun tied some straw hats together and jumped from a burning tower, people have been jumping from great heights thereby attempting to emulate the birds.
It certainly made things easier when in 1791, a Frenchman by the name of Andre Jacques Garnerin invented the frameless parachute. Skydiving was born! People then proceeded to excitedly jump out of perfectly good planes just for the thrill of it. And why not....!
plane over Scotland
Skydiving has been described less as falling, but more as flying your body....
tandem sky dive
I understand why people are so excited about it, especially in Scotland as there can certainly be no lovelier place on earth over which to soar like a bird.
There are four major spots in Scotland where you can learn, jump with an instructor and experience all four aspects of this thrilling sport. They all offer courses for beginners, equipment and expert tuition.
- Strathallen (near Auchterarder - (halfway between Perth and Stirling) www.skydivestrathallen.co.uk (see map below)
- Errol www.paragonskydiving.co.uk (halfway between Perth and Dundee)
- St. Andrews www.skydivestandrews.com.uk
(near Dundee - see below)
- Stirling - www.stirlingparachute.co.uk
(see map below for location of Stirling)
Three of these are affiliated with the British Parachute Association (only Stirling parachute is not).
more about Stirling..
There are four kinds of jumping
(For more about AFF courses go to skydiveworldwide.com)
Skydiving is probably easier than you think as long as you follow the expert guidance and training, but bear in mind your general fitness.
There are some restrictions as to age and general health, chief among them that you must be at least 16 years old and those between 16 to 18 years need parental consent. Your eyesight has to be reasonably good - that is you have to be able to read a car number plate at 25 yards. In addition, those over 40 years of age may require a medical certificate from their doctor, but remember George Bush Senior celebrated his 80th birthday with a 13,000 foot parachute jump, so for those over forty - take heart!!
As you will be falling at about 120 mph you really need to have your wits about you here!
As quoted in the excellent BBC article about skydiving, "Yes, skydiving is dangerous, but if you have asked questions and do what you're told when you're up there, you'll walk away intact!"
Also, most of these sky diving centres will record your adventures on film, so you can live and relive the entire heart-stopping experience..
For more details about drop zones, safety and training, maps, contacts and competitions check out the website of the British Parachute Association at www.bpa.org.uk which also includes details of the European Skydiving League finals which will be held in the Netherlands, www.euro-skyleague.com. Also check out Skydive UK at www.skygod.demon.co.uk.
For an excellent and informative article about the skydiving experience go to www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/outdoors/features/skydiving
Auchterarder is at top right of map
See map below for location of other major cities..
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