Daredevil pals have risked their lives by jumping off the top of England’s biggest waterfall in flood.
But the hair-raising feat was just one of many completed by experienced divers Luke Yardley and James Williams-Fuller who have been ‘cliff jumping’ for the past three years.
They regularly travel across the UK practising their sport - and have hit out at ‘tombstoners’ for giving cliff diving a bad name. “We’re not tombstoners,” they say.
Luke, from Washington, and James, from Cuckfield, spend hours each week on fitness workouts and make a detailed analysis of risks before undertaking a leap.
Luke, a 29-year-old electrician, said: “Every time we go out (cliff diving), a lot of people have a massive negative on us because they think we just jump off the cliff, but we train for months on end.”
Their training includes white water training, water rescue work, pool diving and gymnastics. James, a 29-year-old tree surgeon, agreed: “It’s not a case of just turning up somewhere and jumping off.”
As well as their in-depth training, the cliff divers always carry out detailed checks of the area they plan to jump, including checking the depth of the water, whether there is any debris beneath the water, which way the water is flowing, and the best water entry point.
“You can never rule out all the risks 100 per cent, but we’re very serious about the safety side of it,” said Luke.
Luke and James first met when they were both pupils at Oathall Community College in Haywards Heath and are now part of a five-strong cliff diving group known as Legends of the Falls.
One of the group’s most recent exploits was at High Force waterfall over the River Tees in County Durham. Their next big leap will be when they take part in the UK’s highest amateur high dive - 25 metres - in north Wales.
The group plan to make a documentary soon about their sport.