An excerpt from my diary.
I had been living in Newcastle for a year whilst Colin was traveling Europe. On return he started university up there and moved near me. We were both living on opposite ends of Leazes Park. One night we were leaving his accommodation on route to mine and Samantha’s house and per chance strolled the long way through the park. As we came up to the lake we noticed it had frozen over. As a rational man, I would always advise anyone considering walking over a frozen lake to think twice.
The antics started light, I pissed on the ice to see what would happen and we were amazed when it did not make a hole. We looked around for large stones and bricks to throw onto the ice as hard as possible, and still nothing would break through. At this point the conclusion was obvious. If the ice could take lukewarm piss and resist a few stones it was more than likely able to take the weight of two twenty one year old males with a combined weight of around 24 stone. I braved the first step and it seemed fine, I took about another ten, I looked back. Now ten steps may not seem that far, but when you’re stood on the ice below a pool of freezing cold water, the distance feels like a mile or so. Still, I could hear no cracking and the Ice felt pretty solid. I urged Colin to come join me, he did so promptly. We looked at each other, made a few jokes, and considered our options.
We thought, we could turn back now and say we stood on a frozen lake or we could walk across the biggest part and say we walked across the length of it. The answer was obvious and thus we began to walk away from safety toward the opposite end. We were cautious as we stepped yet fairly speedy, we had that dangerous adrenaline feeling you get when you’re doing something you know is risky. We paused when we were at what we thought was the closest to the midway point so we could look in all directions and just see Ice before us. I must admit, at this point the fear began to take over the adrenaline. At this point, things started to go wrong. Anyone reading this will know the sound of Ice cracking underneath you. It’s a truly hard sound to describe in writing, but if you should ever ask me in person I will always be able to replicate that sound. It’s instilled in me. It sounds like a Star Wars baster rifle being fired in the water, below the ice, echoing across the entire lake. We had a moment or two; I looked at Colin with a panicked expression and said “What do we do?” He looked back to me and said in a very obvious tone “Fucking run man!”
As we ran the last half of the frozen lake the cracking sounds began sound a lot more like you would expect and their visibility was now terrifying. Huge black lines now were chasing our steps, splitting the ice and running alongside us as we darted for the edge. I was following Colin to which he shouted “Don’t follow me, run away from me”. Though I could see the sense in splitting the weight; he had the most direct route to the other side. I threw caution to the wind and really began to sprint. By the time we had reached the end, the centre we once thought so safe was now completely submerged. Ice was tearing away from the sides of the lake. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am far from ‘athletic’. The gap we had to jump to clear the ice was around 2 and a half meters from the remaining ice. We were side by side, it was now or never, we both threw our bodies horizontally in a desperate dive to avoid the water and we made it.
We were both laid on our stomachs and began to laugh, we stood and turned to look at the ice, what was left was chunks with giant cracks and splits throughout it. Pools of water were laid on top and pieces were sinking and floating all around, we laughed uncontrollably. We had made it, we had survived and we were exhilarated.