Last week myself and Iga headed to Go Ape, if you have never heard of Go Ape before then think of it as an obstacle course with cargo nets, wooden bridges, Tarzan swings and zip wires in a forest, high up amongst the treetops. There are 30 Go Ape centres around the UK and we went to our nearest one which is situated in the grounds of Crathes castle in Aberdeen.
We arrived at the reception desk where we received a warm welcome and were given instructions to read over and a disclaimer to sign (you know, in case we died). There were around 18 of us all together in our group, a few of them had been to Go Ape before so I saw that as a good sign of survival rates. Before we headed off onto the courses we received a safety debriefing from an instructor about the importance of staying attached at all times (in case we fell) as well as a practice of attaching the safety harness with our feet firmly on the ground before we ventured on to the first course which consisted of a rope ladder, a cable to walk across while attached to a pulley before zip wiring it to the second course. This was probably about 1 metre off the ground and I thought to myself “Yeah, I can do this!”
Moving onto the second course I noticed how high we were going to be, I mean really high and after queuing to climb up the rope ladder it was finally my turn. I attached my safety clips to the ladder and started to climb, I got 2/3 of the way up when I had a bit of a meltdown and thought to myself “Omg!!! I am gonna die!!” Not a good time to realise that you have a fear of heights! I pulled myself together and climbed the rest of the way to the top and onto the platform, the first obstacle was walking over a wooden bridge so with the mantra “stay attached at all times” ringing in my ears I ensured that my safety clips were attached securely (double and triple checking it just to make sure) before making my way across the bridge. Next up was the Tarzan swing, after making sure again I was properly attached I made the jump by following the instructor’s advice of getting close to the edge and crouching down before making my jump off the platform, I swung into a cargo net and began climbing up to reach the third platform. I was now in front of a zip wire and I couldn’t see where the end was. Safety clips all attached I gingerly made my way to the edge, closed my eyes, crouched down and stepped off; I was zipping down through the trees and it felt fantastic! More often than not when going down a zip wire you end up either backwards or sideways but I ended up facing the right way. This also happened on the third course but when I went down the zip wire on the fourth course I ended up facing backwards and landed flat on my back at the bottom with a massive skid mark of mud and wood chips on my trousers and jacket. I also hurt my back so before I injured myself any further I decided to quit while I was ahead.
Iga was enjoying herself so she carried on with the rest of the course and as I had taken no photos at all while I was working my way around the platforms (I was shaking so much they would likely be blurry, I would like to say it was due to me feeling cold but I think it was more to do with the fact I was 147832 feet up in the air) I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to photograph the experience.
Being in a forest in the middle of Autumn you are surrounded by trees with red, green, gold, orange and brown leaves and it is absolutely stunning, as much as it would be nice to do in the Summer with the warmer weather I think that the Autumn months are certainly the best time to head here so you can enjoy the beauty of nature. Go Ape is open to children over 10 years old and over 4 foot 7 (children 10-15 are to have a supervised adult with them) so it would be a fun way to spend a few hours during the October holidays.
Iga completed the course and even filmed herself going down the final zip wire, if you check out her Instagram you will see how much she enjoyed herself 🙂
The course is a workout itself as you are having to use your upper body as well as core muscles to pull yourself up the rope ladders and cargo nets, the following day I was certainly feeling the effects of muscles that I never knew I had. Overall we both had a fun afternoon, I discovered a love of zip wires as well as a fear of heights and Iga said that she can’t wait to go back and is already looking into going back with her fiancé.
Have you ever been to Go Ape? Do you have one near you?