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Arbroath cliffs’ first base-jumper is chairman’s son who skydived with Michael Schumacher 100+ times

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The son of Arbroath FC chairman Mike Caird has become the first person to perform a base jump from the town’s famous cliffs.

The Courier has reported on town man Lee Mitchell’s jumps from the Arbroath cliffs but it is thought there had been no previous base jump, in which a parachute is used to descend safely to the ground.

Joshua Caird above the Arbroath cliffs.

Joshua Caird ‘opened’ the Arbroath cliffs with a first base jump in June 2020 and has since completed 11 further jumps using four separate exit points close to the Auchmithie coastline.

Joshua, 33, grew up in the town but now lives in Saudi Arabia, where he manages and promotes adventure sports in Neom, the biggest development project in the world.

Here he has taught skydive lessons to the Saudi royal family and former F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, with whom he has shared more than 100 aeroplane jumps.

Spectacular drone footage shows Joshua’s jumps in Arbroath, which have taken place while back in the country visiting his family. The majority of the jumps have been in the past few weeks.

The base jumps range from 50m to the highest, Red Head cliff, at 85m. For context, the highest building in Dundee is Elders Court at 44m.

Diving from Arbroath cliffs a tradition

Growing up in Arbroath, Joshua began skateboarding at the age of five and was a keen BMX cyclist.

He also used to jump into the town’s harbour and then progressed to diving into the North Sea from the cliffs.

“Even before me it was a local trend for people to jump off the cliffs in the summer,” he recalls.

“It was frowned upon though; there was a story in The Courier about it and my parents gave me a hard time!”

‘Followed my dream’

In his late teens Joshua “followed my dream” and moved to Spain to be a professional sky-diver.

By this point he had already completed an engineering apprenticeship at Dundee-based WRB Gas to give him some career backup.

Joshua Caird.

Joshua hasn’t needed it. He has gone on to register some remarkable achievements in the past 15 years.

After three years as a specialist skydiver at Skydive Empuriabrava in Gerona, Joshua moved to the UAE and worked for Skydive Dubai, one of the biggest adventure companies in the world.

Ten jumps a day with Schumacher

Arriving in Dubai in 2011, Joshua rapidly progressed to become a skydiving instructor and coach with more than 4,000 jumps.

He shared more than 100 jumps with seven-time F1 world champion Schumacher. “We’d do 10 a day,” Joshua recalls. “He was a great athlete and very talented.”

During his eight years in Dubai Joshua was also the operations manager for the Jetman Dubai project.

“These were some of the most technical projects done in adventure sports in the last 10 years,” he says. This included the below Emirates Airlines commercial, which had more than 900 million views across multiple platforms.

He was also behind the short film ‘Young Feathers’, which had 100 million views, and developed and restructured ‘X-Line’, the largest urban zipline in the world.

In May 2019 he moved to Neom, where he is a senior manager at Adventure Sport.

‘We are not thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies’

Joshua may have realised his ambition in exotic parts of the world but becoming the first person to base-jump from the Arbroath cliffs gave him a genuine buzz.

“The base jumping community is very small – maybe 100 people across the UK – and there are very few of these who know this remote part of the east coast of Scotland.

“You know through word of mouth if people have jumped it before, which is how I knew I was the first person to do it.

“We are not thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies. We just love being in nature and want to be pioneers who explore something that hasn’t been explored yet.

“We want to have a different sort of experience.

“I get enjoyment out of putting myself in situations that others might find uncomfortable.”

‘90% of the jump is about preparation’

Joshua emphasises the importance of staying safe when taking on the jumps.

“It’s my top priority to go above and beyond analysing each jump beforehand,” he says.

“Each object or location requires a custom approach to ensure safety is paramount during the jump.

“The height of the object, the landing location, the equipment, gear, conditions, winds and my state of mind all play important individual factors.

“Each factor needs to be aligned before committing to any jump, with 90% of the jump about preparation. The 10% is the execution and successful landing.

“This approach has so far kept me on the safe side of the sport for the last 14 years.

“I have never had a bad experience I didn’t feel in control of.

“There have been situations where I have had to act quickly and use an emergency parachute to save my life but it is like driving a car and using the emergency brake.”

Parents have also skydived

One of the beautiful things about Joshua’s journey is that his parents have also joined him on the ride.

It is only natural for Mike and Linda Caird to worry about their son but they have not only supported him in his career but had a taste of it themselves.

Joshua Caird with dad, Arbroath FC chairman Mike Caird.
Josh and Mike on a skydive together.

Mike, currently the Arbroath FC chairman, has twice joined his son on a skydive while Linda has experienced it once.

She also watched on in a helicopter while Joshua hurled himself towards the ground in one of his skydives.

“We have always backed him whatever he has done,” says Mike. “He always stays as safe as he can.

“It’s a worry but he has been doing it for years so we don’t mind.”

You can follow Joshua on Instagram