This post about Go Ape Tree Top Challenge is courtesy of a complimentary trip. The company have not had any control of this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
Last week I was very kindly invited to go to the opening weekend of Go Ape in Coventry. They have over 30 locations around the UK and this is their latest site to open. It is situated in Coombe Country Park which is the perfect setting for it. As a kid visiting Coombe Abbey with my family I always wanted to be able to climb and swing through the trees in the forest there and would always be clambering over fallen trees and jumping off them. Now with the addition of Go Ape I can do that for real! We could take someone with us, so I took Anthony with me to do the Tree Top Challenge.
When you first arrive your given a set of Safety Rules to read through and then you have to sign a consent form. Once you’ve done that you’re introduced to your instructor and he/she then takes you for a quick safety talk and to get harnessed up. The first course you do is the training course, where our lovely instructor Matt talked us through how to use the trolleys, karabiner clips and all the other aspects of the harnesses and course. The way the safety clips work is really good and made me feel really confident and safe. The trolleys swipe onto a metal cord at the beginning of each course and then you cannot remove them until you get off the other side – you just have to manoeuvre them around with you. Then you have a karabiner clip that you clip on and off yourself, moving it around with the trolley. Matt walked us through the training course, which was a little bridge and a small zip line to get you used to it and then after that you’re on your own! I was pretty surprised actually that they just let you go off on your own pretty much straight away, but also pleased as I’d much prefer to figure things out on my own without anyone watching me!
There is a big tower in the middle of the site that holds the start of all the courses, so once you’ve done one you just head back there and then start another one. There are 5 courses altogether and there is always an instructor there to start you off and mark off which courses you’ve done. At the beginning of each course you climb up the tower and then you go different ways depending on your course. It’s been set out really well and even though it doesn’t look like it’s that big, it does spread out over the forest quite far.
The first course was pretty scary for me and I think it’s because I wasn’t used to it. You start with a zipline and I couldn’t figure out how to start off. Luckily one of the instructors came to help me and gave me some pointers, so I could actually move off the first platform! Once I’d done the first one though, it was really fun – in fact the ziplines were probably my favourite bits. I found the first course quite hard to be honest and when we hit the first couple of obstacles I did wonder what I’d let myself in for!!! But I was calm and took my time on them and once I’d done a couple I started to relax and enjoy myself. Anthony got into his stride much quicker than I did and was a natural! Even if he did nearly bite off more than he could chew with the gladiator rings – he did get through them though and I was pretty impressed!
There are a variety of different obstacles to try, including rope bridges, nets, tarzan swings (there’s 2 so you can go together!) and lots of ziplines. The 4th course is all ziplines and that was probably my favourite. There is a huge one at the end called the Alpine Zipline and it stretches out from one side of a field to the other. It’s so much fun and even though you’re pretty high up it’s so nice to take in the views when you’re coming down. It’s so surreal to see people walking along below you and some even stop to stare up at you! The worse bit was when I was at the top of the Alpine zipline ready to go and there was a family at the bottom of the tree and the littlest boy looked up at me and said ‘oh no, that’s really high!’. Yeah, thanks for pointing that out kid! But overall you don’t really notice the people below you, as you’re that high up and concentrating getting to the other side!
The 5th course was technically not a course, just a jump called The Plummet. It’s a 12m vertical drop and this one was not my favourite! I debated whether to skip it altogether to be honest, but I knew I’d be disappointed in myself if I did. Anthony and I both climbed all the way up to the top platform and I decided to let Anthony go first. He did it really quickly and was great, of course. But then it was my turn. I got all connected up and then had a mini heart attack I think! I couldn’t do it! I looked over the end of the platform and it was really far down and I stood there thinking how am I going to do this?! The park had gotten quite busy at this time too, so I had quite a few people watching me. In the end the instructors talked me through it and they were so patient with me. They really made me feel relaxed and were spurring me on. It took me about 5 minutes of psyching myself up but in the end I took a deep breath and just stepped off… and it was scary! I’m so glad I did it and I’m super proud of myself, but I don’t think I’d do it again. Once is enough for me!
Overall it was such an amazing experience and I’d definitely recommend it. I really felt a sense of accomplishment and you even get a certificate at the end of it! I’d really recommend going early, as we had a 10am slot and there was nobody there. We pretty much went round the course on our own, which was amazing, as there was nobody waiting for us to move on and I could take the course at my own pace without feeling rushed. As we left at around 1.30 there was a steady stream of people going round the course and the queue to check in was huge! I’d also recommend taking gloves as they saved my hands. Anthony didn’t take any and his hands were so red by the end of it! We had such a great time and we both said that it was a great way to spend a Saturday morning. It’s not something we would usually do and I think we enjoyed it even more so because of that. Even though I was super nervous, I was really proud of myself at the end and I’m so glad I faced my fears. For £33 you get around 3-4 hours of fun and if you book in advance online here you can save up to 20% too.
Have you ever gone on a Go Ape course?