Going Ape & Facing the Fear!

Last Updated on December 15, 2009 by Jody Halsted

Today’s guest post comes from Zoë Dawes who shares her travel experiences around the UK at The Quirky Traveller.

A few weeks ago I had one of the scariest experiences of my life –and all in the name of fun … The lovely people at Go Ape (www.goape.co.uk) asked if I would like to try out one of their High Wire Forest Adventure courses, which they have throughout the UK. I had already had second-hand experience of them as my son had ‘celebrated’ (???) his 10th birthday at Go Ape and declared it to the most AWESOME thing he had ever done. But I have to admit that I had absolutely no desire to:

“Fly 200 metres across the top of the Grizedale Beck and marvel at the forest canopy 18 metres up a magnificent Douglas Fir”

– Go Ape’s words – not mine! However, for the sake of my son, who was delighted to have another opportunity to get the adrenalin pumping, I agreed.

We went to the Grizedale Forest one as it is the nearest to us in the Lake District (Whinlatter Forest Go Ape is further north). It’s a giant obstacle course up in the tree with ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire and zip wires to whiz you at speed through the forest. For those of you who like statistics, their website tells you:

• Highest point: Site 4 Zip Wire platform 19m
• Longest Zip Wire: Site 3 Zip Wire 275m
• Longest crossing: Grandpops crossing (site 2) 22.5m
• Total length of all crossings: 908m
• Number of crossings: 39
• Number of sections: 6

Which is how I found myself clinging to two slim pieces of wire strung above a narrow rope bridge. Now this may not look too high to you, but it is actually a good few metres up – and is one of the lower ones! The scariest bit for me was the death-defying Tarzan swing – not leaping out into space, but the scramble to get up and out of it – I had no strength left after over 3hours of ‘adrenalin surges’. I have a slight fear of heights and a definite dislike of rope bridges, so this was a tough way to overcome those fears!

My son and his friend, both 12 years old, thoroughly enjoyed it all, and they virtually ran across all the obstacles. Safety is paramount here and there was an excellent 30 minute safety briefing and training with lots of checks to ensure we all knew how to use the harnesses, pulleys and karabiners.

By the end of the course I was feeling physically exhausted – and the boys were ready to do it all again. Would I do it again – maybe not, but I am SO delighted that I DID do it – and beat my fears as well.

So, if you have kids over 10 years old and are planning a visit to the UK check out www.goape.co.uk and get to know your inner Tarzan!

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