Going Ape

In the small print of the safety briefing at Go Ape, it should read “this activity will use a lot of upper body arm strength that you think you possess, we would like to point out that you do not actually possess any upper body arm strength and therefore you are doomed to spend the next few years of your adult life incapacitated” 

I went to Go Ape yesterday so underprepared. I’m going to blame this on tapas, pimms and prosecco (and a cheeky vodka, lime and lemonade) on Friday night, which resulted in me tumbling home at 1:30am still singing “Everyboooooody, yeaaaaaah, yeaaaaaah, rock your boooooooody…” under my breath whilst attempting to open my front door – passing out and waking up the next day with the naive thought that the most troubling aspect of my day would be what was appropriate to wear. 

In fact, everything I wore wasn’t appropriate. Wearing a white vest top wasn’t ideal for going arse first through a pile of wood chipping when coming off of a zip wire and rolling over your own head. Wear white daps wasn’t appropriate for coming feet last off a zip wire and rolling over your own head. Let alone flying into a platform off a zip wire head first and smacking your ankles off a platform that your dap is precariously hanging off your toes whilst you panic mid-air yelling profanities and launch yourself right back into the middle of the zip whilst frantically popping your shoe back on. That wound up in my shoe being saved, but I was stuck dangling in the middle of the zip wire, still yelling profanities. 

Oh, and I didn’t bring a change of clothing either. 

Things I learnt about myself whilst 25 foot up in the air:

  • Do not underestimate Go Ape, you will need shoes with laces, you will need a change of clothes, you will need to wear black. 
  • Wear waterproof mascara, or not make up. If you’re anything like me, your blase attitude to the entire day will go to pot the moment you find yourself face to face with a rope, a 15 ft gap and a net. You have to jump it, you have to land in the net and you have no other choice but to do this, you can’t come down any other way. Apparently, crying doesn’t solve anything. I realised this. 
  • If you don’t think you have a fear of heights, you probably do. You will realise this the moment it torrential rains on you as you are crossing a zig zag bridge. No amount of safety equipment will make you feel better about this. Again, crying doesn’t fix this. 
  • Landing on your feet at running speed is impossible. They recommend you land and run your feet. No can do. I landed arse over head every damn time. 
  • “You will pick up some wood chippings when you land, just brush them off” are you kidding? some? I woke up surrounded by wood chipping and I already removed about 100 from the back of my head. 
  • Rope burns hurt. There is a reason why they tell you not to grab it. Crying doesn’t solve that either, fyi. 
  • You will only agree with the label “but it was fun” in the car, sat down and with your feet firmly on the ground. 
  • I didn’t realise I had any upper body arm strength. When I say “I didn’t realise” I really mean I still don’t have any upper body arm strength. 

BUT, Go Ape is a great activity. Despite my crying, I didn’t really moan all that much! (shock) I spent a lot of time shouting variations of the F-word and going “OH GOD” and looking terrified. I didn’t want to stop or come down – I had to finish it. I only really said “I can’t do this” once. But I had to complete it to prove to myself I could do it. It was fun and I did laugh a lot. The zip wires are the best thing and it does ignite some inner child adventure. It is, in all honestly – very safe and a good way to spend 2 hours on a rainy Saturday. Plus, the beauty of the Forest of Dean adds to the experience.

I couldn’t recommend it enough for thrill seekers and maybe for scardy cats like myself. Once you get through the first course, it does get easier in terms of fear. I promise! and you get a nifty little certificate. But, nothing beats the feeling of proving to yourself you can do it. In fact, someone just said to me: I couldn’t help but laugh at your photo, it reminds me so much of your personality, the look of petrified enjoyment” Which I guess completely sums it up! 

That right there is worth the £30. 

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