An impossible move at a Cornish cliff top

In They Said it Couldn’t Be Done, Upright Piano Moves by Chris BottleyLeave a Comment

‘They Said it Couldn’t Be Done’

The intrepid trio take on yet another job that no one else would even give a quote for.

Today we set off to Cornwall to do the impossible. A client contacted Kent Piano Movers asking if we would move a piano across a cliff top and take it down the side of the cliff face along a very small footpath to a holiday retreat not accessible by road. We do love a challenge!

We asked to see videos of the route, and soon realised why no one wanted to quote on this move. The Piano was an almost new Yamaha U1 with not so much as a fingerprint on it, and it needed to travel some 700 yards across rough and unpredictable terrain. However, Kent Pianos have all the required skills and correct equipment and we decided to accept the challenge.

Waiting for the weather

We had to wait a few weeks for a dry spell. This was to avoid dangers such as equipment sinking into the mud and hands and feet slipping. However, we need not have worried as the day we chose was over 30°C heat!  

We collected the piano from where it was being stored, and were taken to the top of the cliff where we did a preliminary walk of the route.

Barely enough space

One of the initial danger points was a section where the cliff top path was barely wide enough for the piano, and it was overhanging another property situated a directly below us on the cliff side. We built a ramp with various smaller ramps we had brought along, and with some smart thinking and careful manoeuvring we got safely across.

Our hearts sank as we realised the magnitude of what we had agreed to do. For some of the route there wasn’t even a path, so we would have to use pickaxe and shovel to carve out a pathway. Our first challenge was getting all of our heavy ramps and equipment carried along and dropped off along parts of the route where we would need them. The steepness of the cliff paths and the intensity of the heat made this all the more enjoyable!

Our clients were in Greece at the time of the move, but their parents were with us, and they FaceTime’d for the entire 4 hours + duration of the move; every minute was documented.

We created a piano sledge

Phase two begun once we had taken the piano along the side of the cliff top, and were ready to start descending down the cliff face itself. We transferred the piano onto our ‘piano sledge’, which is something that we had made especially for a move like this. Due to the steepness of this job, there was a constant danger of the piano slipping out of control. We had to be in full control of the piano at all times to ensure its, and everyone’s, safety. Slowly slowly was the theme of the day, and to maximise safety and care, we enlisted the help of an associate of the clients, who did a fantastic job and his help was much appreciated. With all this in mind, we began to descend.  

After what seemed like an age of inching down the cliff face, we were nearing the bottom. There was one point where the bracken and prickly stingy stuff (glad I wore shorts) that surrounded us was towering over the top of the piano. At the bottom, we still had to negotiate a tricky S bend to get it round a gate. Hot, bothered, and exhausted as we were, there was never any option of turning back. So after almost 4hours 30 mins we reached the bottom, and the piano was at its new home.

Over 4 hours later, time to soak in the view

With the piano inside (hopefully never to be moved again)! We all took a moment to just sit at the bottom and admire the sea view. We thought the work was done, but did not realise how long it would take us to get back up the cliff with all the heavy equipment. With the sun still beating down, it must have taken an hour just to get back up there.

It’s always a great feeling when the team do such an amazing job, Callum and Jacob it would not be possible to do these jobs without your help, we are the INTREPID TRIO! Long may it continue.

The owner Phill was so pleased with the job he said he was taking the videos to the local press. We look forward to seeing that report.

Our Google Review

  • Avatar Phil Johnson ★★★★★ 9 months ago
    Wow. What can I say...I had possibly the most difficult requirements - house is down a dangerously steep toe-path with no direct vehicle access. Many people said I was crazy, other moving companies said it was impossible, but Chris and his team made it happen! I'm thoroughly impressed by their intrepid manner. If you have a difficult move, then I could not recommend them enough. Perhaps they're the only moving company in the UK willing to take on the toughest piano moves. Thank you so much guys! -Phil

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