Monthly Archives: October 2015

DAREDEVILS: Famous Explorers


When you hear the words “famous explorer”, who springs to mind? Christopher Columbus? Francis Drake? Dr Livingstone?

But what about modern explorers of the 21st century? Now we’re talking. These days, there aren’t any unknown countries or uncharted expanses of ocean to discover; it’s not about sticking flags in a map anymore.

Instead, a new breed of explorer has come to the fore: navigators and pioneers who accomplish unfathomable feats of mental and physical endurance. And these are the ones who really excite and inspire us, as they stand for everything we at Go Ape believe in: they dream big, they push the boundaries and, without a shadow of a doubt, they live life adventurously.

We can’t name all the great explorers who have inspired us, otherwise this would turn into a book (now there’s an idea?!), but we can let you in on a few incredible human beings who prove that adventure is still very much alive and well…

Ed Stafford

Ed’s first programme with Discovery, entitled ‘Walking the Amazon’, saw him embark on an 860-day trek along the (you guessed it!) Amazon River. His daredevil walk made headlines all over the world, and it was officially deemed “the longest jungle expedition ever attempted”. His latest series with Discovery, ‘Into the Unknown’, is proving to be just as enthralling to watch – this time, Ed’s on a mission to investigate our planet’s newest mysteries. When strange, hard-to-classify markings crop up on satellite photos of Earth, Ed uses his experience of coping in extreme conditions to find out just what they are. Fascinating stuff.

Levison Wood

Dubbed as “ten times tougher than Bear Grylls” (now that’s tough!), Levison has said he’s not interested in “doing stuff that looks dangerous for the cameras”. Instead, he’s following his childhood dream of becoming an explorer (see, we told you they “dream big”). Inspired by classic explorers such as Richard Francis Burton and Henry Morton Stanley, he embarked on an expedition to walk the length of the Nile. The trek took him a year, and the four-part documentary series ‘Walking the Nile’ that aired earlier this year made for truly inspiring TV. Levsion also speaks very wise words:

“You need to constantly challenge yourself to evolve as a person. To not take any risk in life, no matter how big or small that risk might be, means you’ll be at a standstill.”

Jessica Watson

At the ripe age of 11, Jessica heard how another young lady, Jesse Martin, had become the youngest person to complete a non-stop circumnavigation of the globe – sailing solo. The story clearly resonated with her as two years later she told her parents she wanted to do the same thing. And she did. It was by no means “smooth sailing” – she had to deal with a collision with a bulk carrier and a ferocious Atlantic storm – but, after sailing for 210 days straight, she completed her circumnavigation three days before turning 17. Yes, she was just 16-years-old when she did this!

So, has all this talk of adventure sparked something inside you? If you want to challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone, zipping through the trees at Go Ape is the perfect way to get the adrenaline going!

Covering 24 miles of Suffolk’s countryside


Friday 2nd October saw Banana HQ take to the footpaths of Suffolk to walk from Bury St Edmunds to Clare – with very little training!

Maps and miles ahead of us…

We met as the mist was clearing, and luckily for us, it made way for one of the sunniest October days on record. Our M.D. Jerome took on the lead role, armed with a map and his trusty dog Timber, as his tribe followed him across some of Suffolk’s most stunning rolling countryside. A little too rolling in some places!

Regular pit stops refuelled us, rekindled our ‘love’ of walking and kept us putting one foot in front of the other. The air was filled with chitter chatter about anything from adventure to armchairs – and some fairly out of tune sing alongs! Onlookers would have been amused by the Go Ape spirit amongst us.

Blisters and babies (made from jelly!)

Charity2Those last few hills saw us reach for the plasters, have a tussle for the jelly babies and countdown to the finish line.

The pub in Clare was a welcome sight. We reflected on the day and how it had reminded us of how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful neck of the woods – and be part of a cracking team! Sometimes you need to take a step back (or 24 miles forward!) to remember what you have.

What started as a fairly substantial 19 miler somehow turned into 24 miles – almost a marathon! Well done to all those that took part – it really was a wonderful day in true Go Ape style.

Show your support

Go Ape chose the Outward Bound Trust as our Charity Partner for 2015. We’ve pledged £40,000 and have given access to our Tree Top Adventure to some of the schools that The Outward Bound Trust works closely with.

We’d love you to support us – and make a difference! Any donation for Outward Bound Trust would be gratefully received

Why not walk? 

It really was a great day and everyone benefits from heading out in the fresh air, but there was also an important reason behind it.

It’s a great way to pull the team together. Walk-a-thons are an ideal way to bond, squeeze in some serious exercise and raise funds for an important cause.

How To Cope With Fear

Zip Line at Go Ape

Fear: A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, pain, or harm.

Every single one of us is afraid of something, whether we like to admit it or not. You might have a common fear, like arachnophobia (a fear of spiders), claustrophobia (small spaces) or aerophobia (flying). Or, your fear might be a little more obscure, such as spectrophobia (a fear of mirrors), omphalophobia (belly buttons) or trypophobia (holes).

When you fear something, what might seem like a small issue to others is a mega deal to you. One fear we’re familiar of dealing with here at Go Ape is acrophobia, aka, the fear of heights. Not a day goes by without us welcoming a customer who’s a little uneasy of heading up into the trees. They visit us because they want to face their fears, and we’re there to support them, every step, jump, climb, swing and leap of the way!

Whatever your phobia, believe us when we say you can and will overcome it! Here’s a four step process to help you do just that:

Step 1. Analyse

The first step of facing your fear is acknowledging you have it. Often, we ignore or deny our fears – but, if you do that, it’ll never disappear! If you admit your fear, you’ll have better control of your emotions and will stand a better chance of overcoming it.

Name your fear – let it come to the surface. A good idea is to buy a ‘fear journal,’ where you write down your fear along with the following:

– Where does the fear originate?

– How long have you been affected by it?

– How does it make you feel?

– What are the triggers?

– Why do you want to overcome it?

Use your journal to record your thoughts and feelings as you start to face-up to your fear. Set yourself small goals and tick off as you go along. The journal will help you to track your progress and will give you the motivation to push hard and achieve your main goal, which is, to overcome your fear!

Step 2. Take control

Time to take control! Often, when we fear something we try to distance ourselves from it as much as we can. We stay fearful because we never expose ourselves to it. So, those small goals that you’re setting yourself need to involve you exposing yourself to the fear, a little bit at a time.

For example, if you’ve got a phobia of heights, you might want to set yourself the goal of travelling to the second floor of a building and peering out of the window. As you start to gain confidence and start taking control, set harder challenges and move up those floors!

The alternative to gradual exposure is direct confrontation and facing your fear head-on. Many people prefer to do it this way but be warned, there’s a chance you could fail so you need to be prepared for it. And if you do fail, don’t feel too disheartened or give up – just go back to introducing yourself to the fear gradually. Accept that you might suffer a few setbacks, but by all means do not let them stop you from overcoming your fear.

Step 3. Change your perception

Understand that fear isn’t always a bad thing. The emotions we feel when we are fearful are the same as those we feel when we’re excited! When you accomplish a small goal, or confront your fears, adrenaline will pump through your body and you’ll feel, well, great! Remember that feeling and soon enough, you’ll start associating fear with that happy, excited feeling.

Step 4. Accept it

As we’ve said, everyone has a fear. The sooner you start realising you’re not alone, the better. Don’t be too hard on yourself – we’re only human, after all! Change your perception of fear so you think of it as something that inspires confidence and courage! You can do it!

We’d love to help you tackle your fear of heights, book now and conquer the tree-tops with Go Ape.

The Cure for Acrophobia…the Go Ape Way!

Go Ape Zip Line

Heights aren’t everyone’s thing. Fact.

In fact, according to a YouGov survey, 23% of Brits say they’re ‘very’ afraid of heights and another 35% admit to being a ‘little’ afraid. That means well over half our population is acrophobic. So, if high buildings, roller coasters and (*cough cough*) tree-top obstacle courses make your legs tremble and beads of sweat form above your brows, take comfort in the fact you’re definitely not alone.

However, ignoring or hiding from your fear isn’t going to make it go away. The best way to fight fear is to face it! Forget self-help books or hypnotherapy sessions, exposure is the best medicine when it comes to conquering your phobia. And that’s where we come in…

Worms-Eye-View-of-a-Platform-Go-ApeOver the years we’ve helped thousands of people overcome their fear of heights. Even people whose first words upon gazing up into the trees are, “I’m not going up there!” We’re not saying that getting over your fear will be easy – our tree-top obstacles are challenging even for people who are cool with heights. But, the Go Ape tribe will be there for you every jump, swing and step of the way to give you as much help, support and encouragement as you need.

Here’s what some of recent customers who braved the tree-tops said about their experience:

“The Tarzan Swing was the best bit, even if it was quite scary. The instructor Nick was brilliant with us and gave us the confidence we needed.” – Leanne, Trent Park

Ah, the Tarzan Swing. It’s one of our most feared obstacles, solely for the reason you’ve got to hurl yourself off a platform that’s suspended 30 or so feet in the air. And there’s a lot of dangling involved before you have to clamber up the cargo net on the other side.

But, as Leanne said, the Tarzan Swing might be scary, but it’s also the best bit! One of the tribe will be waiting on the platform to help you out and put your mind at ease (don’t worry, they’re not allowed to push). After you’ve taken the leap of faith, all those nerves you felt previously will transform into excitement and adrenaline! We read a quote that sums it up nicely: nerves and fear are the fluttering of wings before you fly.

“…even though some members of our party had a major fear of heights the standard of the equipment and level of safety briefing made them feel totally safe and [they] said they would totally go back again. [They] totally enjoyed the experience.” ­– Kevin, Sherwood Pines

“The Tarzan Swing was scary but worth it and I loved the zip wires. So high up but you feel so safe!” – Jennifer, Sherwood Pines

What you’ve got to remember when you visit us is that, even though you’re in the tree tops, you’re extremely safe.

You wear a harness and are clipped-on to safety lines, so if you were to lose your footing on one of the obstacles all you’d do is dangle there (which can be scary, but is not dangerous!). When we fear something we think irrationally and confuse fear with danger. So long as you listen to the safety briefing and follow instructions, your Go Ape adventure will be completely danger-free!

“I was dreading doing Go Ape as I’m petrified of heights, so to my [surprise] as much as I was still slightly nervous during the experience, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I think I would go again!” – Kim, Leeds Castle

Did you know, the same mechanisms that produce excitement also produce fear?!

Those nerves in your stomach can be fearful nerves, or they can be excited nerves – and we prefer the latter! All that’s required from you is a change of perception. You should expect your heart to beat fast and your knees to tremble when you’re up in the trees, but see that as something positive! You’re excited and there’s adrenaline rushing through your body – embrace it!

“Go Ape is such a good idea to get people outdoors, challenge fears and use their strength. I always enjoy it!” ­Janet, Cannock Chase

Fighting your fear of heights by swinging through the trees is much more enjoyable than, say, taking an elevator to the top floor of a building and hastily peering out the window. Fun has always been at the forefront of everything we do at Go Ape and we want you to actually enjoy yourself as you conquer your fear of heights!

“Had a lot of fun, even helped my friend conquer her fear of heights!” – Holly, Woburn Safari Park

“Watching the kids go around the course is brilliant and them overcoming all fears and laughing with them when they were nervous…it’s fantastic.” ­­Leanne, Trent Park

“…My 8 year old son got up [there and] decided he was scared of heights! The staff were great and helped him overcome his fears and helped him around the course.” Alison, Dalby Forest

It doesn’t need to be you who has the fear of heights! Maybe it’s your mum, sister, partner or little one. You can help them overcome their fears and move from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can!’ They’ll thank you for it…in the end.

Before we wave an emotional farewell to what’s been a brilliant season here at Go Ape, we’re double-daring you to come hang out with us and conquer your fear (or your mate’s fear, or your dad’s fear, etc.) once and for all!

Book now and face your fears.

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