New Heights at Go Ape! Rivington
I’ve told you I’m secretly adventurous haven’t I? That although I love pin curls and nail polish; I also love mud and a bit of a challenge? Well if you didn’t already know, then you do now!
I like anything outdoorsy.
I haven’t been to Go Ape before; all I knew was what I had been told. I’d been told it was awesome, I’m been told I’d love it and believe me, everything I’d been told was right.
I went to Go Ape on a Saturday with my daughter Beth, my friend Helen, her teenage daughters Georgie and Elsa and Kim her youngest, who is in Beth’s class at school. We were a big group of blondes and we were stereotypically late for our slot :-S
To take part you have to be 10 years old and at least 140 cm tall, which my daughter is. I might aswell tell you right now that Beth and Kim did not really enjoy themselves too much. They were very excited and although they wanted to complete the course and they managed and liked a few parts of it, they ended up feeling too frightened and I had to turn back with them. The fact is it was just too high up for our two girls to get their heads round. I’ve talked to Beth about it and she’s confident that in a couple of years, she would like to go again. I’m sure that some ten year olds would take to the trees like a duck to water, but every child is different.
What I will say is that the Go Ape man (as Beth calls him) or Chris (as his parents named him!) was incredibly understanding and helpful. At one point Beth was glued to the floor and when I say floor I mean a platform 25 feet above ground! She was shaking like a leaf and nothing I said seemed to help. She was point blank refusing to move forwards or backwards. Had it not been for the wise words of Chris in my daughter’s ear, she and I may be up that tree even now!! He made jokes and offered solutions and ultimately made a massive problem seem like a mere hiccup.
So given that my little one turned back, would I recommend Go Ape as a destination for a family day out…? Yes! I really would. Helen’s teenage daughter’s wanted to carry on and (as she was feeling a little wobbly herself) I continued further with them until the sun started to set and it was time to go, but we wished we could’ve stayed for hours longer!
The experience starts with a safety talk which was light hearted enough to avoid people changing their minds but serious enough that we were all in no doubt as to how dangerous the activity would be if we didn’t adhere to the rules. Each person has a safety harness around their waist. You step into it with a strap around each leg (calm down!) and there are 4 different types of attachments. Two are used with every single apparatus aswell as to secure yourself to the platforms in-between. One is to attach yourself to ladders and the other is a zip wire attachment. The basic premiss is that you are never unattached from the course. Although under 18s must be supervised, they too have to show that they can manage the attachments before they’re allowed onto the course. But really it isn’t that tricky. Everything is colour coded and their are reminders on every piece of apparatus.
The setting is stunning, truly stunning, but what surprised me was that there were people wandering around in the forest below us! I’m not sure what I expected, did I think that they would close of the whole area!? Well they didn’t! There were dog walkers and families below us and in all honesty it helped with any fears I may have had. It wasn’t as though we had an audience, but seeing normality below, distracted from the height and obstacles ahead.
There are five sections and my favourite culminated in a 198 meter zip-wire across the water! The course requires a certain amount of fitness, but more specifically an amount of core strength; yet despite the fact that I am not the fittest or the strongest person at the moment, I found it completely accessible.
I was so much fun. It forced communication between our group on a level that just doesn’t happen in everyday life, reignited our love for the outdoors and afforded us a view over the water that is I’m sure, the closest we’ll come to flying.
I would recommend this day out to those with teenage children and adventurous pre-teens; which is great because there aren’t many things you can do with that age group!! If you’re in any doubt, I suggest that you visit the site beforehand and let your child have a look at the course and let them make the decision with you.
Thank you Go Ape for a fantastic afternoon. I will definitely see you again soon with some friends and with my mini me in a couple of years.