2 April 2012

Review: Go Ape!


Last Sunday the other half and I crawled out of bed early, dropped our dear son off with my mum for the day and headed out towards Aberfoyle. We had been invited along to try out the Go Ape Tree top Adventure site situated in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park which is quite close to Glasgow (Loch Lomond).


Go Ape are the UK's no.1 forest adventure company who provide breath taking experiences in the great outdoors. Like the name suggests you basically become a monkey for the day swinging around in the trees. There's zip wires to cross, tarzan swings to navigate, a wide variety of different crossings to pass, which can be quite a challenge btw, and all the while you're doing this on your own.

The weather was gorgeous and we couldn't have picked a better day for our trip but what a struggle we had finding the place! I have to say that sign posts for Go Ape in Aberfoyle are like gold dust. The only sign post we found was when we actually turned into the Go Ape car park! The directions on the Go Ape website aren't too bad telling you to follow the signs for Callander but after that the trail goes a bit blank. We ended up taking a gamble and following a path towards Aberfoyle and stopped off at a small café to ask for directions. Luckily we were on the right road and got there in the end but signage could definitely be improved, especially since your sat nav is likely to fail due to the rural nature of the site.


On arrival we parked the car and paid a £3 ticket to have the car parked all day, you can choose to pay £1 instead to park the car for an hour but since your Go Ape experience can take from 2-3 hours I'd suggest the all day ticket. We headed up to the Go Ape hut where we were greeted by a very friendly gentleman who gave us a couple of forms to fill in and read. All very health and safety conscious which is great for such an activity. I'm happy to say there are toilet facilities near by if needed and also a café etc if you get peckish.

You're kitted out with a harness and given a safety briefing from one of the instructors before you get to head out into the wild. Andy was our lovely instructor in Aberfoyle for the day who showed us how to properly connect our safety equipment to each line when up in the trees. The instructors often have to give this safety briefing to around 14 people at a time all of whom are part of different groups and as you can imagine this does take a little while.


The first task you are presented with is a massive zip wire, and that's only to get you across the trees and to the climbing course on the other side. There are two zip wires to contend with here, one to get you across and one to get you back. Both are two of the longest in Britain at over 400m long and flying customers 150 feet above ground. Now I'm not scared of heights but to say I was a little uneasy about the zip wire would be fair. They just looked so daunting and your body is screaming at you not to jump even though you know fine well you're attached safely to the wire. It was a thrilling experience though and I would do it again. I'd have to anyway to get back across.

Now it's quite hard to explain the rest of the course so I'll just show you some photos. The course is well sign posted though and takes you round nicely to the end and across the other zip wire home. Very well thought out and really enjoyable.

 

 


 

As you can see I started out the course in my jacket but half way through I was sweating buckets so the lovely Andy (our instructor) was luckily on hand to take our jackets back across to the hut for us which was very kind of him. I don't think this normally happens, we're just lucky Andy was in the right place at the right time.

Now down to the nitty gritty. It costs £30 per adult (18 years +) to go through the Go Ape course and £20 per child/ youth (10-17 years). All children/ youths must be accompanied by and adult (18 years +) and that adult takes all responsibilty for the young persons safety out on the course. That means checking their safety equipment i.e. making sure they are securely attached to each line before they take off. This is ofcourse very sensible and something I would recommend you do as you are quite high up in the streets. If you fall, you'll definitely do some damage so safety first!

As well as the Go Ape Tree Top Adventure, Go Ape also offer Biking and Segway experiences as well as Junior Tree Top Adventures for the younger generation if you prefer. They have 27 sites across the UK so I'm sure there's one near you.

Overall a brilliant day. The instructors and staff are very friendly, always happy to help with anything. Safety was key and always explained well. I was assured that anyone who wants to undertake the course has to do the safety training at the start no matter how many times you've been, even the instructors have to do it! Pricing is fair and in line with most outdoor activity centres these days. We really had such a great time and would highly recommend it to all.

Mum's rating - 10/10
Other Half's rating - 10/10

Please visit www.goape.co.uk for more information. You can also see what Go Ape get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello! Remember to tell them The Breastest News senrt you.
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