Hotel chill-out in Wigan for tightrope walker!

The first thing most guests ask at a hotel reception is if the parking is free, or where the bar is - not whether they can practise tightrope walking in the garden!

But that’s what happened when 31-year-old Dan Lee from Billinge found himself at a loose end.

Dan practises at the hotel

Dan practises at the hotel

And while everybody else was chilling, shopping or recovering from new year excesses, he was fixing his more accurately described slackline between two of Holland Hall’s trees.

His impressive feats were enjoyed by several of the Up Holland hotel’s guests and staff.

Dan, a supervisor at a local gym, and a part-time outdoor skills instructor, said: “People think this is all about heights and fear and adrenaline.

“It’s actually the opposite: it’s about something approaching meditation - and it’s improved all-round movement technique and balance in everyday life physically and mentally, from vacuuming the stairs, to better form during gym sessions, right through to better clarity of internal thought processes in the situations we’re faced with every day.

Dan Lee

Dan Lee

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to have what I’d call a ‘swashbuckling life’ - it’s just something that’s stuck in the background since I was about four years old and was watching pirate movies and what-have-you.

“As I grew up, that turned into a fascination with acrobatics and circus skills.

“I now teach axe-throwing and archery amongst other things, and the natural progression in circus skills was towards tightrope walking - or more accurately ‘slackline walking’ if I describe what I do.

“I started last summer, and what I learnt is that you get so focused on one thing - staying on that rope - that it’s like meditation. It is also like yoga - you develop incredible balance, hence my mention of standing on the stairs balancing on one leg vacuuming while stretching to reach a higher step.

“I’d love to get a swashbuckling acting part to use everything I’ve learnt and do, but for now I do what I do to help myself be more mindful - especially the slackline walking.

“It is incredibly meditative. And the balance you learn is really noticeable. I feel I have become 10 times less clumsy.

“And I’ve been teaching my mum too. She loves it, and she has come to appreciate this is not about a tightrope 100ft off the ground and all the fears and phobias that might provoke.

“This can all go on at a foot or so above the lawn. It’s all about focus, concentration and balance.”

A hotel spokesman said: “This is one of the odder inquiries we have received at reception over the years. It’s not every day someone comes in and asks ‘can I borrow a couple of your trees, please?’"