Go Ape has been on my to-do list for some years and so I decided to officially put it in my 25 things to do whilst being 25 and like ‘magic’, Rik arranged it! Now I know it’s not considered a hardcore outdoors thing to do because it doesn’t involve hanging off a mountain somewhere but it’s plain old FUN and I love myself a bit of fun. I’ve been obsessing with improving my upper body strength only because I’ve set my sites on learning to climb so I thought Go Ape’s Tree Top Adventures would help to improve that!
What I have to watch out for own safety?
On one sunny day in Cheshire, we headed to Delamere, a place where I spent my childhood picking Christmas trees each year. We checked in, bought a pair of gloves (to avoid rope burn) and proceeded to our safety demonstration. I’m not going to lie, I was a little dubious when I found out that we were responsible for our safety however, the instruction is a good standard and they give you a few times to practice whilst they watch you. Isn’t it funny how most of us would rather rely on another for our safety rather than trusting ourselves?
There are 5 sites, each with a considerably long course consisting of zip wires, nets, monkey bars, wooden planks, tight ropes and so on. The rules are that there are only allowed to be 3 people on the platform and one person on the equipment e.g. zip wire. You have two lines – one’s blue and the other red, one line, usually the red, is always clipped to the line that is securely wrapped around the tree and this is known as your safety line whilst the blue line is clipped on to your (what I can only describe and call a tape measure looking device). And once that’s clipped on, the safety clip is then hooked on to your (tape measure looking device) and off you go!
Taking a leap of faith
Now I’m not one for fear of heights, I do like them although you’ll never find me standing on the edge of somewhere but for some reason throwing myself off the platform on a rope swing into a net took my breath a little. It took me a while and a bit of goading off Rik and the instructor (which are never far away even though you’re left to get on with) and after over thinking it, I jumped and crashed into the safety net where my upper body strength was tested as I had to climb up it so that I could reach the next platform. After the initial apprehension, I felt so excited to have a go at the rest of the course.
Our group was an interesting one too, especially the solider who had a horrid fear of heights and got off at site 3, leaving his girlfriend to do the rest of the course herself. I find it endearing how complete strangers help those who are clearly frightened or nervous and I found myself on numerous occasions giving and receiving words of encouragement. It’s nice to know the human race does somewhat care!
More clinging than swinging
Being up so high was amazing – I felt like a part of nature, a monkey just swinging from the trees. Of course I was less swinging and more clinging! And the views of the forest and the mere packed with wildlife are incredible. I still felt a little nervous though at how skinny the trees were and on some occasions, I felt the barks beneath me sway a little.
My favourite parts of the courses were the zip lines although I insisted on landing on my arse every time (thank god for extra padding). The last one in particular was my favourite because it was so long and whilst in the air, you got time to appreciate the stunning greenery. I didn’t like the Tarzan swing so much mainly because we had to drop from such a height, the harnesses dug into rather sensitive areas. After the great jolt, I was met by another net which I had to climb up and boy that was hard work but I felt very accomplished as I scrambled on to the nearby platform.
3 hours later and sweat patches dotted here and there, we’d achieved the course in one piece and I couldn’t stop smiling! For £30 something quid I think it’s worth it and the location allows you to do other things like Segways, mountain biking and horse riding. I can see why it’s so popular with corporate team building and bonding days and with the likes of the junior sites, it’s fun for everyone! We were given our own certificate of achievements too which helps to reinforce how much of an adventure it actually was and I’m really looking forward to trying other locations. On reflection, I surprised myself RE my upper body strength and realised I had a lot more than I’d originally thought.
Have you done anything that’s put a smile on your face lately?