Monthly Archives: December 2015

Before I begin as an Outward Bound Trust Ambassador


Our Corporate Events Manager, Sam Hardy, was selected to represent Go Ape as an Outward Bound Trust Ambassador for five days. Here, he tells his tale!

This time last year, Go Ape chose The Outward Bound Trust (OBT) as the organisation to support throughout 2015.

When one of the young students, who took part in an Outward Bound experience, recounted her experience to the staff at Go Ape, I knew I would be involved in some capacity.

Getting involved

Snow1In May this year a few of us attempted a 12 peak challenge in Snowdonia, and this helped raise money for the OBT. Not long after this we also found out that there was the potential for us monkeys to take part in the ambassador programmes that the OBT run.

This enables employees from funding organisations to be directly involved in the young people’s learning, and to see first-hand the impact of the funding their employer has provided.

My name went into the woolly hat and I was given the opportunity to join a group of children from the Walsall Academy on a 5 day trip with 4 nights wild camping!

The Academy have had a lot of success with the pupils who experience adventures with the OBT. The teacher leading this particular expedition was Jon Clarke, Ray Mears brother from another Mother, who we think, was on his 57th trek with the OBT!

Walsall City Academy – how it began

Walsall City Academy was founded in 2003 as the first City Academy in an area of multiple deprivations on the site of a failing school. It is now in the top 20% of all schools in the country and learning outside the classroom and the development of the whole person is at the core of its ethos.

To really stretch this particular group of year 9 pupils it was decided, probably by Jon, that 4 nights in the Lake District in December was the best way to develop them.

Looking at the weather forecast for this trip before departure, it was grey clouds and rain varying from one drop, to three drops, and a glance at the wind speeds suggested that hurricane Barney may have a challenger! There was also a symbol that I had not seen before – I think it was for snizzle? A cross between snow and drizzle… We definitely had some snizzle on the Wednesday.

Undeterred we all arrived safely at the rendezvous and the 9 little herberts stepped off the bus at Bowness by Lake Windermere to pack their rucksacks. I was greeted earlier at the Howtown centre by Liz and Rich our instructors, and their boss Nick who had bus duty and kit collection/drop off…

Setting off…

OBT3The centres at Howtown and Halsteads were teeming with instructors getting briefings for their week ahead. For our expedition, everyone was pitching in to make sure we got all the right kit, especially Gav in the stores who hooked me up with a lot of gear that I was to find invaluable (mainly a mug and a spoon). Most of the kit I had packed was heavy and largely unnecessary!

Once we had the right kit and packed the rucksacks, (the size of a single dwelling wheelie bin) we got the canoes ready for departure. This was to be a 1.5 hour trip up to the first campsite, but Hurricane Clodagh decided we had to go down wind, to the South, and back around the other side of the Island which was a little more sheltered. We paddled wearing head torches and glow sticks to the camp site which we found with the assistance of some nifty map reading, the position of the stars, and a GPS on Jon’s watch…

This was the point where we set up camp and the staff realised I had as much outdoor experience as a foetus. As this sunk in, they quickly adapted to having 10 people to be responsible for instead of nine.

However, as I soon discovered, this was not a trip where people were ‘looked after’, allowed to tag along, or be passengers. From this point onwards we were all expected to look after ourselves.

If you were unsure of what to do – the 4 B’s were explained, or my favourite – SNOT;

  • Self
  • Neighbour
  • Other
  • Teacher

So, if you have a dilemma, an issue, or a question – you ask yourself (more than once) and then your neighbour/buddy and then anyone else (other) in the group before finally asking the teacher.

Having paddled for over 2 hours, setting their own tents up and cooking their own food – we talked a bit about the students hopes and fears.

It was clear that most were nervous and unsure of the road ahead, but we did not get much from the group, and there was a little bit of prompting needed. Throughout the epic Trans lake experience, it was also clear that a few students were already looking forward to some luxury experience and wondering why it was all so hard going…

This is not to say that they were devoid of an adventurous spirit, or were lacking in any way, but it was in stark contrast to the experience on the last night of the journey.

To be continued… Read about Sam’s five days away.

Go on an Advent-ure

Go Ape Gift Vouchers - Gift Adventure

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… An adventure in Go Ape’s trees!”

Catchy, isn’t it?! Although the twelve days of Christmas aren’t here just yet, Advent is! The countdown to the 25th began on Sunday, 29th November, and it’s a time of year we love here at Go Ape!

How do you plan on spending the lead up to the big day?

We try to avoid frenzied shopping mode wherever possible, instead preferring to spend December living life adventurously, spending time with our nearest and dearest and – most importantly – having fun in the process.

This shouldn’t be a stressful time of year where you pull your hair out, trying to think of present ideas and frantically organising who’s going where and who’s cooking what for Christmas. If it is, you’re doing something wrong!

Try to enjoy the yuletide build up as much as possible.

Make life easy for yourself; plan ahead, take some time out and try to have fun whenever you can. Make decorating the Christmas tree an exciting activity for all the family, not a chore; make wrapping presents a time when you crank up the volume on your speakers and sing along to those Christmas tunes at the top of your lungs like no one’s listening (all while covered in bits of sticky tape and glitter from the wrapping paper!).

Even if you’re not the arty and crafty type, how about making your own Christmas cards this year? It’s actually pretty therapeutic and makes you feel all festive and fuzzy inside in the process.

And why not organise a pre-Christmas gathering for you and your tribe and share an adventure together? Dig out those Santa hats and buy tickets to spend a few hours hanging out in the trees at Go Ape! It’s an awesome way to get the little monkeys and Tarzans of the family together.

If you don’t have time this side of Christmas, you could always give the gift of adventure and treat your tribe to Go Ape gift vouchers as their Chrimbo prezzie. Go Ape Gift Voucher WalletNot only will you avoid the mayhem of the shops, but you’ll be giving them something to look forward to in the New Year!

Giving your family or friends memories, rather than things, really is the best gift they could receive.

What’s more, they will be sent to your door (delivery is free!) in a lovely little wallet, so all you have to do is pop the voucher in a Christmas card – whether that card is homemade is, of course, up to you!

Buy Go Ape Gift Vouchers here.

Win Daddy’s Home red carpet premiere tickets!


Daddy’s Home, cert 12A, is in cinemas from Boxing Day.

To celebrate its release we’re offering you the chance to win a pair of tickets to the red carpet premiere of Daddy’s Home in London on 9th December!

Hilarious comedy Daddy’s Home, follows a mild-mannered radio executive (Ferrell) who strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children, but complications ensue when their freewheeling and freeloading real father (Wahlberg) arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids

To find out more visit: and watch the trailer here:

Follow Paramount on Facebook and Twitter

Your prize includes a pair of tickets to the Daddy’s Home premiere in London on 9th December.

© 2015 Paramount Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Sorry this competition is now over!


1. The promoter is: Adventure Forest Limited Trading as Go Ape Ltd whose registered office is at Unit 1, Fornham Business Court, The Drift, Fornham St Martin, Bury St Edmunds, IP31 1SL.

2. To enter the competition you must be: (a) UK resident; and (b) 18 years old or over at the time of entry.

3. Employees of Go Ape or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.

4. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

5. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are shown above.

6. Your prize includes two tickets to the Daddy’s Home premiere in London on 9 December 2015. Your prize is non returnable and non exchangeable. Travel and accommodation are not included

7. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not fully received for whatever reason.

8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in any event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

9. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.

10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

11. Winners will be chosen: at random by software provided by from all entries received and verified by the Promoter.

12. The winner will be notified on 7th December and the winner must claim their prize within 24 hours. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 24 hours of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

13. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

14. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by [English] law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of [England].

15. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current [UK] data protection legislation.

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