Monthly Archives: May 2015

Only 3 days to go!!

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Have you entered our competition to win a £4,000 Mark Warner Holiday in Corsica yet?

You only have 3 days left and we wouldn’t want you to miss out on a adventure-crammed holiday of a lifetime!

Four lucky winners can enjoy a whole week of activities including paddle-boarding, kayaking and mountain biking at the San Lucianu Beach Resort, with half board accommodation and British Airways flights from Heathrow.

Want to bring the kids? We have even sorted out free childcare for 2 – 17 year olds. This leaves you free to enjoy all of the activities including tennis, sailing and windsurfing!

We have made it super easy for you to enter…

In 250 characters, all you need to do is inspire others to discover adventure in Great Britain; it could be your latest adventurous discovery on a weekend away, or your first taste of adventure. Why not include a photo or video clip of your ‘WOW’ moment too.

If you’ve got an adventurous story to share – we want to hear about it! Enter now.

A Life More Adventurous: Wendover Woods

Wendover Woods

Louise - Wendover WoodsHere at Go Ape, we love the thrill of adventure and are always looking for new ways to boost that adrenalin rush. So, it should come as no surprise that we have added an extreme route at our Wendover Woods site. We caught up with Louise Hoyte at Wendover, where she has been working as site manager since 2014, to find out more.

If you ask Louise how she found out about Go Ape, her answer all boils down to volcanic ash. An all-action holiday she’d planned in Costa Rica with a friend was cancelled when an Icelandic volcano cancelled their flight, along with 100,000 others. Not ones to let an active volcano stand in their way of fun, Louise and her pal travelled instead to the Lake District in search of adventure. Although a long way from San Jose, the pair were pleased to find themselves heading to Go Ape at Grizedale. Once there, trepidation quickly turned into exhilaration, and even the disclaimer ‘there will be a risk of injury’ wasn’t enough to dampen their spirits. “Once we had tackled the first Tarzan Swing, we were hooked, and doing our own attachments really added to the sense of adventure.”

After her holiday, Louise went back to work in the city but couldn’t stop thinking about Go Ape. In 2012, she made her dream a reality by joining the Go Ape tribe, working as an instructor at the Trent Park site. From office block to tree-top, the contrast couldn’t have been more extreme.

Wendover Extreme CourseAnd extremes are something that Louise seems to attract, because three years later she heads up the first Go Ape site with an ‘extreme’ route. That’s right, if the thought of ‘simply’ swinging through the trees doesn’t sound thrilling enough, then the new extreme route at Wendover Woods is perfect for you. The route starts with a 10m climbing wall, which perhaps sounds simple enough for some of you. However, at the top you have just a moment to catch your breath before facing our hardest crossings to date. “Even our team find some of these crossings challenging,” explains Louise (is that enough of a challenge for all you adrenalin junkies out there?).

If you’re not yet convinced, let us set the scene. Wendover is located on the highest point of the Chilterns, giving visitors spectacular views from their tree-top hang-outs. The course winds around handsome pine trees, through which you climb, drop, swing and zip your way from start to finish, before things start getting more extreme.

All of which makes for a varied working day for Louise. She can be found doing anything from dealing with customers to climbing parts of the course visitors don’t go (to carry out maintenance, not just for kicks, of course). But this varied job suits Louise down to the ground (or should that be up to the treetops?).

“I’ve always been an active person and thoroughly enjoyed a challenge. I’ve had a go at white-water rafting down the Zambezi River, mountain biking, and wild camping in the Australian outback.”

Away from work Louise spends a lot of time on her bike (she’s ridden around most of the UK and to Paris) or climbing (walls, cliffs, whatever she can find, really). And just as we’re wondering if she ever sits down, we discover Louise also has a penchant for baking. As she is quick to point out, she may have conquered Scotland’s Munros, but she has yet to master macaroons and spun sugar.

A life more adventurous indeed, but when asked about her greatest adventure to date, Louise’s answer is clear.

“I would say that leaving a secure job with an easy lifestyle to follow a dream has led to the biggest adventure of my life.”

We’ve Gone Wild For Helen Skelton!

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Helen SkeltonThis week we caught up with television presenter, author and all-round adventurer Helen Skelton to discover just who is ‘Amy Wild’?

Firstly, tell us about you and your new book?

I was a presenter on Blue Peter from 2008 to 2013 and have been lucky enough to go on some big adventures in recent years so wanted to write about some of the cool places I have visited.

My book, Amy Wild: Amazon Summer is the first in a series of young people’s adventure fiction. It’s got a sassy brave female character called Amy who means well but ends up in all kinds of trouble and finds herself in the Amazon rainforest with a boy she doesn’t trust. She has to learn how to live alongside some crazy and creepy animals with a family that has lived through all kinds of drama.

Amy WildWhat inspired you to write a book about discovering adventure?

I spent a couple of months in the Amazon in 2010 so the book is very much based on that. Plus when I was a young girl I knew I wanted to go on adventures and do exciting things but it seemed like all the books I read when I was young were about orphans or wizards. I wanted to write about a normal kid from a normal place who went on a massively exciting adventure.

Is Amy Wild’s character based on your own childhood?

Very much so. She becomes a bit of a tom boy because she’s always trying to impress her big brother, she loves her family but ends up worrying and upsetting them and she’s brave but at times a bit stupid!

When can we expect the next book in the series?

Hopefully the start of next year. It’s well underway but I am quite nervous about it so I amend and change it a lot which ultimately means it takes a lot longer than it should to hit the shelves!

How did you initially discover adventure within your career?

Blue Peter! When I was on the show it was very ambitious and I had a boss who was, perhaps, even more bonkers than me. If you could convince him it was a crazy idea, the more dangerous and risky the better, he was up for it. With the Amazon trip, everyone at the BBC said no for ages as they thought it was such a ridiculous idea. The only reason it got the go ahead was because my boss and I loved that so many people said we shouldn’t do it. We felt if we could pull it off we would be making a special programme. There was a big team, who became an extension of my family on the show that made the trip happen.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Probably going to the south pole. Everything in Antarctica is different. Everything is unlike anything I had ever experienced before! It was a total gamble taking the bike, and the bike didn’t really work, but in my eyes that’s what an adventure is! Having a go and having a laugh even if it’s not massively successful.

Have you ever been to Go Ape?

LOADS of times! I have been to several! My nearest one is at Delamere Forest and I am looking forward to going back in the summer once I have had my baby! I LOVE IT.Helen Goes Ape

What advice would you offer our readers on how to get out there and discover adventure?

Don’t look down! The adrenalin rush you get and the surge of pride you feel is well worth any nerves you will feel when you’re up there. I think it’s good to be scared of things, it’s good training for life!!

Helen’s book Amy Wild: Amazon Summer is available to buy now from all good bookshops priced £6.99

An Adventure You Really Need To Check Out

Discover Zip Trekking

Hands up who loves the Go Ape zip wires? (*raises hands*)

Zip wires are an entirely different breed of tree-top obstacle. They’re fast. They’re scary. And they’re tree-mendously good fun. Nothing quite beats whizzing through the air on a zip wire: the breeze, the view from way up high, the chance to stretch your arms out wide and embrace nature. And don’t forget that pile of soft woodchip awaiting you at the other end (the woodchip that you’ll also find in your trousers several weeks after visiting Go Ape).

It’s no wonder so many of our Tribe rate our zip wires as their #1 tree-top obstacle. Knowing just how popular they are, we had a something of a brainwave: why don’t we create a totally new forest adventure that is strictly zip-only?

Well, after some planning and preparation back at gorilla GQ, what was once a brainwave soon turned into reality and we’ve done it! Our very first Zip Trekking Adventure is ready and waiting for you at our Grizedale Forest course. Cool, huh?!

So, what’s it all about?

Well, our Zip Trekking Adventure is a series of seven tandem zip lines (the longest series in the UK, we’ll have you know) that take you through and above the glorious Douglas firs of Grizedale Forest. You know those dreams of flying you used to have as a kid? Well, you won’t get much closer than this…

Zip Trekking View

Your journey starts with a 20 minute hill climb which can be quite tough, so make sure you’re wearing suitable shoes (no flip flops or high heels, please!) Once you’ve clambered to the top, you’ll be happy to know that a Land Rover will escort you the rest of the way, through wonderful winding mountain roads and to site 1, the training zip. From there on in, you’re free to zip away with your pals!

Your Zip Trekking adventure will last around 2 hours, which is plenty of time to soak up the glorious sights Mother Nature has provided us with. You’ll be covering around 3km and will need to tackle a couple of steep hills as you make your way between the zip wires. Each individual zip wire showcases a unique and beautiful part of Grizedale forest. It’s enough to make even the birds jealous.

Zip Trekking Adventure

We know you’ll have a great time on your Zip Trekking Adventure, so much so that you may feel a tad emotional when you reach the final zip wire. The last zip wire conveniently transports you back into the customer car park, where it’s just a short walk to the cabin where you can return your harness – and get your Zip Trekking Certificate!

As with all our forest adventures, there are some age, height and weight restrictions. For more details, head to the Zip Trekking Adventure page on our website. See you soon!

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