I was recently invited to try out the new Go Ape course at Temple Newsam. The adventurer inside of me was absolutely buzzing about it. And the worrier inside me was screaming, ‘BUT WHAT IF YOU DIE??’
Needless to say, the worrier in me had no need to panic. I had the best day and felt totally safe the whole time. And… I didn’t die! Yay for not dying!
I rallied together a few of my friends, we threw on our trainers and put on our ‘big girl pants’ and headed over to Go Ape Temple Newsam for a morning of heart-pumping fun.
A few years ago I went to the Go Ape at Dalby Forest in York and I had to force myself up through the different levels and felt in a high state of panic the whole time. This was probably down to the fact that it was a two-clip safety system that you were in charge of. So if you forgot to keep yourself attached by one clip at all times then you actually risked falling from the treetops…
But that anxiety was completely eliminated at Temple Newsam, thanks to their carabiners that remained attached to the course at all times. An instructor clipped us on and away we went!
When you arrive, you sign in at the cabin desk where you are handed a safety information card to read and have a document to sign to say that you are responsible for your own safety. (Sound scary? Don’t worry, it’s not. It’s just to cover health and safety bases.)
Make sure that you wear comfortable clothing for climbing the courses. Trainers and gym gear or tracksuits are your best bets for comfort. Your clothes will get muddy during the course and you’ll need sensible shoes for all the climbing. Oh, and I recommend you bring gloves too for a more comfortable grip.
Before you can head out on the tree-top courses, you have to make sure that you’re fitted up correctly in a harness and have basic safety training. It’s really simple and easy to learn, and if you’re unsure of anything the instructors make sure that you’re feeling confident before heading out.
You get to practice your safety technique on a low-level practice course. But once you’re done, it’s time for the big thing!
Up, up, up you go…
There are two separate sets of courses for kids and adults. So it’s the perfect day out for people of any age (except babies and old people…duh!). Even your dogs can come and enjoy the forest settings. We saw many parents walking their dogs around the area while their kids enjoyed the Go Ape courses, and the dogs looked like they were having the BEST DAY EVER running through the trees and fallen leaves.
There are six courses for the adults and you get a turn on as many as you want.
The courses range from obstacle courses in the air, to zip lines from platform to platform, to more daredevil stunts like the Tarzan swing and The Plummet.
The Tarzan Swing is a large rope that you essentially free-fall from before swinging into a net. You then have to climb up the net to get back up on to the platform on the other side.
I put on my ‘big girl pants’ and went first in our group. Miraculously, I didn’t freak out per se. Instead, as soon as the instructor said I was good to go, I didn’t stop to breathe or think about it. I just jumped. And you know what, it wasn’t half as bad as what I imagined in my head.
That’s the thing with Go Ape. It is always scarier in your head than it actually is. You’re safely strapped in the whole time which, once you allow yourself to trust in the straps, allows you to glide around relatively care-free.
Hold on to your hat, we’re going down…
The other scary jump is called The Plummet.
Similar to the Tarzan Swing, you are strapped in and then instructed to jump off a ledge. Except on The Plummet, you just free-fall (controlled though of course).
I was very proud of my friends who all committed to The Plummet. Staring over the edge and looking at the drop is nauseating. So to willingly step over the edge and allow yourself to fall is hellah brave!
If The Plummet is just a step too far for you (like it was for me) then there is an alternative route you can take. So don’t panic that once you get up to it there is no other way out. You have options.
The whole course gets your adrenaline pumping and pushes your body. Some of the ‘bridges’ you have to cross are pretty spread out and hopping from step to step can be a challenge at times. Not to mention, some of the rope obstacle courses require some serious upper body strength.
If I did this course every day, I’d be a beast!
There is no obligation to do every course; you can do as little or as many as you like. But once you are up and on the courses, you have to keep going to the end because you are attached and you can’t get past the people behind you.
Every course finishes with a fun zip line to ease you back to the ground (and to get your bum nice and muddy).
When you are finished, you return to the cabin to hand back your harnesses and collect your Go Ape certificate. After all, once you’ve done all that hard work and put your body through that much of an adrenaline rush, you deserve some recognition.
I enjoyed the Go Ape Temple Newsam a lot more than Go Ape Dalby Forest, York. I felt safer and as a result, could relax into the day more. It’s great, thrilling fun when you get to fly through the trees without the risk of falling.
Who said weekends should be spent in front of the TV or just going to the pub? Spending a few hours doing a physical activity that was lots of fun put us all in awesome moods… and then we went to the pub. You need nothing more than pub food after a few hours of thrill-seeking adventure.
The Go Ape courses are perfect for a day out with your friends or family, and would also be a fun team-building activity to do with your workmates.
We chose the perfect Autumn morning to head to the courses. The sun was shining and the brisk air wasn’t harsh, but the colder and wetter it gets, the less comfortable it becomes. So head over to Go Ape Temple Newsam before December, or wait until Spring to enjoy swinging through the trees like your inner adventurous monkey. You won’t regret it!
Go Ape Temple Newsam is currently open 9am till 1pm at weekends. Depending on your age (and height), experiences range from £18 to £30.
Written in collaboration with Go Ape Temple Newsam.