20000th Jumper

Bungee jumping is now one of Scotland’s most popular extreme activities after the number of dare-devil plummets in Scotland topped the 20 000 mark.

Officials from Perthshire adventure company Highland Fling Bungee confirmed that highland care worker Alison Laird (31), who jumped in Perthshire on Sunday afternoon, was clocked as the 20 000th in Scotland.

That statistic means that, in three and a half years of the adrenaline sport arriving in this country, 5700 people have taken the plunge each year, with the numbers steadily growing.

It is estimated that 5000 people skydive each year in the whole of the UK, placing the popularity of bungee jumping in context.

The jumps have been performed at Highland Fling Bungee’s two sites, at Killiecrankie in Perthshire and the A-listed Titan Crane in Clydebank.

Customers have travelled from six continents, bringing a significant economic boost to the regions as well as placing Scotland on the global extreme sports map.

Interestingly, the news comes 35 years after Oxford University students were arrested after performing the first unregulated bungee jump, from Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.

Murray Trail, Managing Director of Highland Fling Bungee, sees no indication of interest ‘cooling off’ in Scotland, with people more keen than ever to throw themselves off high structures, attached to an elastic cord.

“Reaching the 20 000 mark is incredible and shows how much Scotland has embraced the activity since 2011,” said the adventure fanatic, who previously operated a bungee jumping site at Victoria Falls.

“We are ahead of where we thought we would be at this stage but I had no doubts bungee jumping would change adventure sport provision in this country.

“I think a significant part of the appeal is that there are few other pursuits where you can literally walk up and get an amazing adrenaline surge without the need of specialist training. You can arrive in your pipe and slippers and do something you may never do again in your life.”

Extreme sports and adventure activities have a major beneficial impact on Scottish tourism.

Statistics from The GB Tourism Survey 2013 showed that visitors incorporating adventure activities in their stay spent £35 million a year in Scotland and took 92 000 trips.

Highland Fling Bungee negotiated for four years with planners to gain permission for the UK’s first and only permanent bridge bungee jump at Garry Bridge, Perthshire, in May 2011.

Since then they have welcomed charity jumpers, brides, ex-service staff and Europe’s oldest bungee jumper, Bob Steele, who jumped last year, age 90.

Alison Laird, who became the 20 000th jumper on Sunday, admitted the buzz was ‘amazing’.

“My only previous dare-devil experience was doing the Harbour Jump at Forres, which is a Boxing Day tradition.

“When I was on the platform, I didn’t think I would manage but the staff were brilliant with me and it was an amazing adrenaline rush.”