Going Ape

Yesterday I spent my day swinging through the trees. Well, not quite swinging non-stop, but there was swinging involved. And walking across rope bridges and other airborne platforms. And then finishing off with very long zip wires down to the ground.

Me and a couple of friends went to a Go Ape facility. These are aerial assault courses in forests that start with a rope ladder sending you up into the trees, maybe 10-20 metres or so off the ground depending on what part of the course you’re on.

And, you know what, they are bloody good fun. £25 maybe is stretching it a little, maybe £20 would have been a fairer price, but I can’t really argue. That’s just me being stingy as usual. It was three hours of climbing, balancing, swinging and sliding.

It taught me a bit about myself too. I have always been a bit nervous around heights. Or at least, that’s what my brain has always told me. But I’ve never really tested it. Yesterday gave me ample opportunity to do so. I often found myself stopping in the middle of a trapeze or rope bridge just to look down. Or when coming down the giant zip slide at the end. I would purposely look down, and found it somewhat exhilarating. I actually wanted to look down just to see how high I’d got. I would even say things to myself like “Imagine falling now!” and my response was often a laugh. A nervous one, maybe, but mixed with laughing in the face of danger.

So I like to think, anyway. If I was actually afraid of heights, there is no way I would have gone up there. One of my friends actually was afraid, and he struggled to get round parts of the course, particularly the so-called tarzan swing, which was an amazing step of faith. Attach yourself to the harness, and literally just step off the platform. You fall… and crash into a big rope net. In the air. It’s very unnatural – your brain expects you to fall and hit the ground – but it was probably the best bit of the day because of that. Apart from the zip wires, of course. They are amazing, though I didn’t make a single correct landing on them all day. But that’s part of the fun, landing on your arse in a pile of woodchip…

I’ve got to say it was nice to spend a day doing something different. It’s been a bit of a non-summer so far (the weather even held up despite terrible predictions of heavy rain all day) so it was good to get out and about. I’ve now got quite a taste for this, and I suspect it may become a new lifetime’s ambition to go to every single one of the Go Ape venues. Especially the one with the longest zip wire in the UK in Aberfoyle, Scotland.

Here’s to a sense of adventure.