WORKMEN reached dizzy heights as they scaled the city's most historic building to carry out essential maintenance work.

Not for the faint-hearted, the brave pair could be seen by residents and tourists enjoying the city as they abseiled down York Minster's 180-foot tower.

The workmen, from Heritage Stone Access, will work on the tower's east and south faces over six weeks to remove pieces of weathered stone as part on an ongoing maintenance project to conserve the East End of the Minster.

Superintendent of Works at the Minster, Rebecca Thompson, said that bad weather had caused parts of the tower to become fragile.

"The changes in temperature and process of freezing and then thawing causes the stone to contract and expand, meaning inspections need to be carried out and worn pieces removed," she said.

"The team is focusing on the east and south faces as priority areas as these are the sides which experience the worst extremes of the weather."

The work will involve using hammers to test and remove pieces of stone and then pinning damaged grotesques on the tower.

It is currently being funded by a Cathedral Fabric Repair Fund grant, a partnership between the Cathedral Fabric Commission for England, the Wolfson Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust. Staff at the Minster are hoping to secure further funding next year to complete the north and west sides.