Metro Mayor scales new heights

Metro Mayor Dan Norris reached for the skies as he stepped into the shoes of a Victorian sailor and discovered what it was really like to be a member of the SS Great Britain’s crew by climbing up the rigging of Bristol’s most famous ship.

The Mayor officially re-launched the SS Great Britain’s rigging climbing experience as it opened again after a two-year break.

For £10, SS Great Britain visitors will be able to do more than walk around and marvel at the 19th century’s answer to Concorde by climbing 25 metres above ground level to take in the stunning views of Bristol.

The Metro Mayor, who is running an Explore Local campaign highlighting the amazing things to do in the West of England, said: “I love the SS Great Britain. It has some very happy memories for me. But climbing 25 metres up gives you a whole new perspective. From hidden gems to famous family-friendly favourites, like Brunel’s masterpiece, the West of England is packed with places to explore. From the dizzy heights of the rigging above to the surprises below deck, I would encourage all to climb aboard and explore all the SS Great Britain, and our region, has to offer”.

Before shinning up the famous steamship and getting a taste of life at sea, the Metro Mayor met Matthew Tanner, CEO of the SS Great Britain Trust, to learn how the company is using the new experience to support talented young Bristolians into work.

They discussed how the team have teamed up with youth charity Young Bristol to train up ten new rigging instructors ahead of the reopening. 98% of previous trainees either continue to be employed on the SS Great Britain or have moved onto full time employment or further education.

Matthew Tanner said: “Re-opening Go Aloft! and bringing ten new instructors on board is great news for the regional tourism sector, providing jobs with training through our partnership with Young Bristol. As Dan will experience, climbing the rigging is a dramatic opportunity to get some fantastic views of Bristol harbour. Go Aloft! is a great additional activity for visitors of all ages as they explore the immersive museums and ship here at Brunel’s SS Great Britain”.

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