Climbing cranes is extreme way of getting focus in life

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I find it hard to understand why anyone would want to want to clamber up a crane and dangle from it one-handed.

It’s not just because I’m a bit scared of heights.

After all, my irrational desire to throw myself off the top of tall buildings when I look at the ground below is not dissimilar to the desire James Kingston felt when he decided to climb a 315ft crane in Southampton.

My feelings, I am assured, are just a symptom of acrophobia – much like my shaky legs are whenever I have to climb up a tall ladder.

One thing’s for sure, however. I only go up ladders when it’s unavoidable. Master Kingston obviously reacts to the adrenalin from fear in a slightly different way.

He said his life was never in any danger, but watching the footage of him hanging with just five fingers separating him from certain death means I’m not convinced.

He says he does it because it gives him confidence and a better way of life.

Leaving school without qualifications, overweight, he began drifting through life, locked away playing video games.

But then the sport of parkour took over – the free running most famously seen in the opening scenes of Casino Royale which, incidentally, features James Bond chasing a bomber up a crane.

I’m all for people using exercises and challenges to give them a focus in life and as a way to feel a lot better about themselves.

I have experience of that myself, having trained for and completed the Great South Run last October as a reaction to getting divorced.

But climbing cranes is very much an extreme way to go about it.

Finding new challenges is one thing, but where will he stop? And it only takes one mistake, one over-confident step, to cause a tragedy.

It’s akin to those people who tombstone off the end of piers, breaking their backs or being killed landing in too-shallow water.

And it’s their families, ambulance staff, the paramedics, and the public who have to deal with the aftermath.

Maybe it’s time James kept his feet on the ground and found a new challenge.