Newest Review: ... and unlatching out karabiners to the wire. You get a safety harness, a red and blue karabiner and another attachment which is what se... more
Swinging in the trees!
Go Ape! Grizedale Forest (Hawkshead)
Member Name: alexela
Go Ape! Grizedale Forest (Hawkshead)
Advantages: Great fun
Disadvantages: Fairly costly
I've always been one of those people who likes the sort of adventure activities that involve water, heights, climbing and generally anything that gets the adrenaline going a little. So whilst on holiday in the Lake District flicking through the various attraction brochures I spotted this and decided I had to give it a go.
Firstly, I had to phone up and book, something the brochure I found it in mentioned was essential, this was simple enough, I just stated which course I wished to visit and how many participants and the lady at the end of the phone gave me the available dates and times to choose from. Then a few details - name and address, a contact telephone number and a quick check over that you'd read the 'small print' carefully to check that no one over 20.5 stone, under 10 years old or under 4"7 could participate to prevent any disappointment when arriving on site, followed by a couple of 'how did you hear about us questions'. Finally, they took payment by card and then confirmed the booking, giving us a reference number to keep hold of.
Finding the Go Ape centre in Grizedale Forest wasn't quite as easy as I'd have hoped it to be. Whilst getting to Grizedale itself was simple enough, once we arrived there wasn't much in the way of clear signposting as to where we were meant to go. Instead we found ourselves driving through in the hope we'd spot something. Eventually when we reached the visitor centre, we managed to spot a small Go Ape symbol on the corner of the sign. Continuing on, we found our way to the car park and walked back to the visitor centre following the signs. From there, we had to walk all the way round the visitor centre, past another shop until we finally spotted the centre in the corner near the road. In short, it really could do with clearer signposting! We did spend a bit of time wondering whether we had or hadn't gone in the right direction or not, all the time checking our watches not wanting to miss our slot - we had left plenty of time, but no clear signs meant we were concerned about getting lost!
On arrival at the Go Ape Centre, we walked up to the hut and had a couple of forms to fill in and a safety guide to read. Once completed we handed them back in and waited for our session to begin - which frustratingly, was not on time! We had about a 15 minute delay before our safety training began, which, when you're in a sizeable group, meant it took a fair while longer than expected before we actually got going.
The safety training was comprehensive and clear. It started simply with instruction on how to put on your harness, which was then checked by the course instructor. Then a run through on what to do with your karabiners and pulleys, emphasis on how you needed to ensure you were always attached to something at all times, followed by a walkthrough on a cable at ground level, to ensure you understood the attachment system and were confident with attaching yourself to the safety lines.
Then we were finally out on to the course! Another run through on the other types of lines and clips we were going to experience on the course, which we were supervised over and then we were allowed to begin! The instructor advised that those who expected to move at a slower pace headed towards the back of the group. The only problem we had here was that parents with some of the younger children didn't quite seem to realise that they would move slower with the parents having to supervise at all times. Certainly I think it should be advised that if you have one adult supervising two or more children, they should also head further back. We unfortunately had such a group ahead of us, and consequently ended up with queue build ups behind them as the children sometimes needed held with their karabiners. Not that I'm complaining that much - it provided me with time to take in the view I had from up in the tree tops!
I've not yet completed any other Go Ape courses, so I don't know whether or not this is standard, but the Grizedale Forest Course comprised of five stages. The first is more a training stage, which continues to be supervised by an instructor. It comprised of a rope ladder, a cable path to walk across and a zip wire. A sort of introduction to what you will experience throughout the rest of the course and a chance for the instructor to check you are competent with the safety procedures. Once you've completed this stage, you have free range of the course, moving at your own pace and unsupervised.
The second stage is a little more challenging. Starting with an ascent up another rope ladder, you then cross several different types of rope bridge, at this stage in the course, you still have ropes to hold on to either side, though everything still moves about a little. The second stage is also the first place you will encounter a 'Tarzan swing'. This is where you attached yourself to a sort of rope swing thing above you and jump over and into a net which you have to then climb up. This is only the miniature one too! You don't swing too far at all, and don't have too far to climb up the net at the end until you reach the zip wire to finish the section off with. This is your first experience of one of the longer zip wires and it is really quite exhilarating! You do come down at quite a speed though, something you cannot really prepare yourself for. It's just a case of go for it, and then keep running when you get to the end so as to not fall on to your backside and find your underwear full of woodchips!
Stage three of the course is where it can start to get a little daunting, although, I must say, don't let it daunt you too much, as whilst the course in the treetops may seem a little challenging and scary from the ground, once you're up there, they're actually not so bad and the really long zip wires at the end of it, are so very worth it! In this section, the bridges no longer have sides to grasp on to, so, firstly, remember that you are always clipped on to something; you can't fall all that way down! Then what you do is up to you, you can choose to hold on to nothing and try to keep your balance, or you can steady yourself by holding the cable your pulley is also on. Once you've got through the treetop obstacles, you reach the first of the two long zip wires. These go across a vast distance, crossing the road we drove down to get there in the first place. The distance you travel means you pick up a fair bit of speed, but have so much to take in as you do it. And once you've completed the first one, you go up a hill, climb another ladder and you return back over to the other side on another long zip wire. A very exhilarating experience!
Section four is a little more challenging, more rope ladders, except now you're climbing down things as well as up! There's also a tunnel to crawl through, so if you're feeling battered from the first three sections, you may wish to take a brief break or even stop here - after all, no one wants a good day ruined because someone's had an accident due to exhaustion. On a course like this, it's definitely better to be safe than sorry! Some of the rope bridges move a little more than those previously experienced, so they're a little more tricky to complete and as with every section before, you finish off with another zip wire!
The final section, section five, is the big one! With the full Tarzan swing and an alternative route for those who don't quite feel up to it. The rope bridges are a little trickier still and you also have a net to cross before the Tarzan swing, which can be quite exhausting. The swing itself is excellent, you drop more than you would have expected from looking at it, but it even got out a little squeak from me - a person who hadn't even made a noise going down the zip wires! Once you've crossed the swing, the net you have to climb can seem a little tiring after that bout of excitement. Once up it, just a couple more bridges to cross until you reach the final zip wire, which to be honest, considering how good the rest of the course is, feels a bit of an anti-climax. You would have hoped your last zip wire would finish the course of satisfactorily with another good length and good speed, but alas, it is relatively short. Still, I'm sure there are those who are simply glad it's over by that point!
For those who do not wish to participate, there are plenty of viewing areas, you can pretty much follow the course round on paths along side the obstacles to take photos or provide moral support. There's also a café nearby for sandwiches, drinks and ice-creams if that's where you'd prefer to be.
I found the whole course a thrilling experience and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who enjoys the adventurous hands on sort of activity. Prices were £25 per adult and I think £22.50 for 10-17 year olds. Completing the course took about 3 hours, and I would say overall it was definitely worth it and I certainly look forward to Going Ape another time at another course!
Summary: Great day out!
More reviews in the field of Theme Park / Zoo National
- A fantastic day out for all the family!
- Brilliant new addition to the Pleasure beach!
- What a Hole!
- Hardys animal farm, and once a year the Barrows farm!
- Purrr-fect if you like big cats...
- Never again.
- The adventures in Robin Hill
- We're going to the zoo, how about you? We hope you come too.
- Sealife London
- Brilliant for the kids!!!!
- White Post Farm Centre (Farnsfield)
- Ducky's Park Farm (Cumbria)
- Monks Park Farm (Yorkshire)
- Tayto Park (Kilbrew)
- Marine Aquarium (Lyme Regis)
- Crocodiles of the World (Oxfordshire)
- Carriba Creek - Alton Towers Water Park (Staffordshire)
- Sacrewell Farm (Peterborough)
- The Butterfly House (Anston)
- Haven Holidays, Craig Tara Holiday Park (Ayr)