View from the top: climbing Turn End’s Giant Sequoia

Michael filimng from the top of the Sequoia, watched by a Red Kite

Tree climber Michael Spraggon filming from the top of the Giant Sequoia, watched by a curious Red Kite!

Turn End’s gardener, Jackie Hunt, enjoyed views across the garden and village when she recently climbed Turn End’s Giant Sequoia tree to measure its height.

Jackie was joined by Rachel Aldington, who grew up at Turn End. The two were supervised by tree climbing enthusiast Michael Spraggon. The Sequoia was an easy challenge for Michael, who measures trees for the Tree Register of the British Isles and has climbed and measured some of the tallest trees in Europe. Here is Jackie’s report of the climb:

“The tree has a straight, branch-less trunk near the base and the branches in the middle section of the tree slope steeply downward, so Michael started the climb by using a sling shot to launch a line carrying the rope over a sturdy limb half way up. Once he’d climbed the tree and secured the ropes, Rachel and I were able to quickly ascend the lower half of the tree using Michael’s own rope climbing invention, called the M- System, which enabled us to almost walk vertically up the tree!

Nichael ascending the tree

Michael climbing the tree to secure the ropes

Climbing the Sequoia Jackie takinga break half way up.jpg

We used the network of dense branches nearer the top to climb the upper section of the tree, secured by a Unicender which enabled us to hang safely from the rope and also to abseil down. Near the top there was natural bowl of branches where we could sit and admire the view. Being an experienced climber, Michael was able to climb to the very top and look out above the branches and take a measurement of the tree from tip to toe. We opted to watch him from a secure perch whilst he walked out along the branches too!

Michael and Rachel climbing the Giant Sequoia

Rachel near the top of the tree, Michael also climbing to measure the height

We had all made guess at the height of the tree – none of us were correct!”

If you would like to try to guess the tree’s height, visit the Turn End Trust’s stall at Haddenham Village fete on Saturday 11 June and enter the competition. The fete is open 1.00-4.30 on the village green and Flint Street.


Michael at the top of the Sequoia

Michael at the top of the Giant Sequoia