A Government spokesman today confirmed that a multi-departmental committee is examining plans for the construction of a zipwire linking Scotland to Northern Ireland.
“The Scotland-Northern Ireland Zipwire, or SNIZ, as the project is known, will bring equality of opportunity to infrastructure projects in the North,’ explained the spokesman. ‘There are two proposals currently being considered. One will connect the uninhabited point at the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland to the uninhabited point at Torr Head in Northern Ireland. In terms of public safety, which is a number one priority, the idea of linking two remote uninhabited points has much to commend it.’
‘A second option is to connect Portpatrick (pop. 960) in Scotland with Ballystrudder (pop. 992) in Northern Ireland. The potential for increased revenue from this scheme with such a rich and diverse hinterland and a burgeoning population may prove decisive.’
Several correspondents from engineering and architectural design journals posed questions of the spokesman about the construction of the zipwire system.
‘Well, working on the accepted principle of a minimum gradient of approximately 1m drop per 100m travelled, we consider that the Kintyre-Torr Head line will necessitate the construction of a tower over 200m high. Given that this would land the traveller directly at sea-level at the other end, we may wish to extend the construction somewhat higher, and provide a higher landing spot.’
‘The longer Portpatrick-Ballystrudder line will in all probability require a launch tower some 375-400m high. We are also looking at longer-term development of a higher-speed higher-capacity SuperSNIZ or SS2 where the gradient will be much steeper and the corresponding journey time will be cut dramatically. Even higher launch towers and softer landing zones will be investigated by this committee.’
The spokesman did add one proviso: “Of course, we recognise that initially all the traffic will be one way, but that is really not this Government’s fault. Gravity is an issue that was not dealt with adequately by previous Governments. Indeed, several EU Directives mandated the nature of gravity.’
‘But now that we are free from these we intend to invest strongly in a marvellous new British gravity designed here by our magnificent boffins. Freedom from the restrictive red-tape will have us producing gravity to travel over, under and sideways as well as down.’