Location: Woburn Safari Park
Price: £33 per person
SIGH. As of last week, I’m officially 25.
The early 20’s are a tumultuous time for anyone, but for me these were categorised by studying, exams, graduation, more studying, more exams, training to become a lawyer, doing a masters, having a quarter life crisis, travelling, thinking about becoming a safari ranger, starting a charity and eventually finding a new job.
Generally I do my best to avoid acknowledging my birthday but on this occasion, I decided to gather together all of my favourite people to do something slightly out of our comfort zones. After a lot of googling and a handy recommendation from my best friend Chalupa, I decided to book 11 of us into a session at Go Ape in Woburn Safari Park.
I hadn’t really done a lot of research into what Go Ape would entail but figured that if 10 year olds could do it, it would be a walk in the park for me. I was wrong.
As mentioned in my O2 climb post, I don’t go to the gym but I would say I have a fairly active lifestyle so my fitness level is reasonable. I also have a healthy fear of heights. I didn’t think that either of these things would really be an issue but it turns out that having a sense of balance and some upper body strength are fairly essential.
There are 6 parts to the course and while the website will say that it should take 2-3 hours to complete, this will largely depend on how often you stop to scream and shit yourself throughout the course. With a group of 11 people, it took about 3.5 hours.
The first section of the course is a safety briefing where you are shown how to use the equipment on your harness. Although I was being impatient and didn’t pay much attention to this, it is important that you do listen carefully as one wrong move could result in broken bones or death. One of our party actually got stuck in mid air half way down a zipline just because she put the wrong carabiner in the wrong loop!
Section 1 of the course is a mini version of what you will do for the rest of it, comprising of a rope ladder, one small crossing and a zipline. If you don’t feel up to doing the rest, you can stop after this point and get a full refund (as one member of our group ended up doing).
Sections 2-6 then just got higher, scarier and more complicated. There are 2 leaps of faith known as the ‘Tarzan swing’, the hoops of doom, the swings of death and the cylinder of horror. I may have made those last 3 names up. Between these crossings, the rest of the course is still scary but manageable and at times you do get an option between a harder crossing and an easier one.
I would like to give special shout outs to the hoops of doom in particular because not only could I not make it past the first two hoops, I slipped, had hoops up to my thighs and proceeded to hang there screaming “I DON’T LIKE IT” while my friends laughed and took photos of me. Luckily Chalupa was there to pull me back to the tree but I still feel traumatised.
The cylinder of horror was also pretty difficult as it involved diving through the air into a tube, crawling along and then moving into a second tube suspended in mid air. Not one for those with bad knees!
My favourite part of the course were the ziplines, which were found at the end of each section of the course. Some of the more elegant ladies in our group managed to end every zipline by coming to a running stop, but the general style was twisting in mid air and landing arse first. You can check out a video on my Instagram here!
Tips for Go Ape:
- Bring gloves to protect your hands
- Bring a jacket/hoodie with a zipped pocket if you want to keep your phone on you
- Wear clothes you don’t mind getting covered in mud and wood chippings
So if you’re looking for an adventurous day out with your friends or want to face your fear of heights, this is definitely the place to do it! While I really enjoyed it and had a great sense of bonding and achievement at the end, I don’t see myself going back unless I am forced to … Two days later I still feel like I have been run over by a truck.
If any of my friends are reading this, thank you so much for coming along – you definitely made my 25th birthday very memorable indeed!
Thanks for reading,