Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Review: Go Ape

In the spirit of trying things new, when I was asked by Go Ape to review their Sherwood Pines Treetop Adventure, I said yes even though it isn't the kind of thing I would usually go for.

However, I was determined to be brave and with my enthusiastic sister as my plus one we set off last weekend for Sherwood Forest.

Before heading onto the course we were harnessed up and given the chance to have a good go at using our caribena clips whilst we were talked extensively through how to complete the aerial assault course safely.  We were part of a group of 10, so there were 8 other participants and I don't think any of them seemed as nervous as me.  Most were chomping at the bit and raring to go.  However, our instructor was very good at making sure that everyone felt confident before allowing us to go to the first course.

All important safety talk

The Treetops adventure is split into 6 sections and you basically complete one section before zip wiring down to the ground and walking round to the next section.  I thought this was a good idea in that it gave you time to recover if you were feeling nervous or overwhelmed and also gave you the opportunity to make your escape if you felt so inclined!  I will admit, had my sister not been there encouraging me along, I would probably have fallen into the latter group of people.

Reaction to safety talk...too late to change my mind!?!

There are a number of plaques placed at the bottom of the sections, which have interesting facts about the forest.  I thought this was a nice touch and a good distraction technique!

For people who love to test themselves then this is the ideal day out.  From climbing the rope ladders up to the platform to pushing yourself to walk on the wire without holding on (safely attached of course).  I also think it would be a good experience for someone who considers themselves to be afraid of heights.  I was not the most confident but I am really proud that I gave it a go and can say that I completed it.

There is a variety of challenges such as tunnels made of wood which handily swing as you try to crawl through to the only part that I almost didn't complete....the Tarzan swing.  I'm actually still not 100% convinced that my sister didn't push me off that one.  Jumping and swinging into a giant net is no mean feat, trust me.


However, being in such a serene setting was quite handy; when I found myself panicking I tried to focus on the forest around me.  Just, you know, not focussing on the fact that I was staring at the tops of some of the trees!  I have seen on the website that you can still go on the Go Ape course when it's raining...I'm not quite sure my nerve would have stayed around for that!  Luckily, the day was clear and dry for us and we managed to complete the course in just under 2 hours, with only a few mishaps (see below)

I would recommend wearing gloves, even if the day isn't particularly cold.  I wore mine but my sister didn't and ended up with blisters.  Thankfully that was the worst injury of the day so not much to complain about although my sister did end up with quite muddy trousers as it took her a few tries to learn how to land at the bottom of the zip wire and not fall on her bum (sorry Abi!)


Despite being terrified for most of the day I am actually really pleased that I took part.  The staff were fantastic, really supportive and our instructor stayed with us most of the way around, checking back that we were all okay.

I think this would be great as a different gift to give for Christmas, it's a really interesting way to test your limits and is more physically challenging than you might expect.


And, just to brighten your day here are some things I learned about myself:

1. When being put in your harness, your attractive jogging bottoms might ride up.  Make sure you are wearing matching socks otherwise people may point it out to you.

2. Tripping over at the bottom of the ladder on the first section will probably make you look like an idiot.

3. Not being able to open the security gate on all 5 remaining sections, will also probably make you look like an idiot.

4. I imagine I am the only person in the world who could observe that zip wiring from tree to tree was a bit risky if you didn't make it...and then fail to make it all the way across with my feet just touching the platform before sliding backwards.  Note to anyone taking part - do a bit of a run up for that one!

5. And as if I needed any more reasons why I shouldn't climb up and embrace my inner-Jane  (get it?!!) I imagine I am the only person in the world who could make the tarzan jump, get their foot caught in the net and have their shoe pulled off.  Seriously...

Disclaimer: I was offered the opportunity to visit Go Ape for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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