Beware - naked jumpers

NAKED base jumping in Cheddar Gorge could be putting the lives of tourists at risk. According to a gorge trader, the base jumpers use the area

NAKED base jumping in Cheddar Gorge could be putting the lives of tourists at risk. According to a gorge trader, the base jumpers use the area for the illegal activities early in the morning, to avoid being caught by rangers. The Galleries landlord, Paul Sturmey, said: "You can often see them going up there at about 6am. They usually don't appear much during winter but I have noticed a few again these last couple of weeks."Base jumping involves parachuting off large objects such as skyscrapers and bridges. Base stands for the four things that the jumpers can leap off - buildings, antennae, spans (a bridge, arch or dome) and earth (a natural formation such as a cliff). In an investigation by the Somerset Mercury, we were able to get pictures of some of the base jumpers, including one of a naked man jumping off one of the cliffs. Cheddar Caves and Gorge spokesman Bob Smart said: "People know they are not supposed to do it, so they choose times when there are no rangers about, usually first thing in the morning."About a month ago we managed to catch someone who was about to base jump in the afternoon. Our rangers managed to stop him and he was ordered off our land."We are facing two problems with base jumpers. Firstly, they could land on someone below and do some serious damage to themselves and the unfortunate person they land on.""Secondly, if they do end up injuring themselves, they can sue the land owner for compensation. "People try and use the gorge for base jumping when they think no one is around. It is the excitement of getting away with something they are not allowed to do. "Our ranger cannot work 24 hours a day, but if members of the public see any base jumpers we would urge them to contact us." Base jumpers have hit the headlines all over the world for leaping from famous locations, such as St Paul's Cathedral, the Canary Wharf Towers in London and Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge. *The Weston & Somerset Mercury would like to apologise to Doug Blane at Alamy for the unauthorised use of his picture in the original article.


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