Monthly Archives: November 2017

Fun outdoor winter activities

Winter at Go Ape
There’s no doubt about it: winter is the most magical season of them all. Not just because it’s the season of all-things-festive, but because the winter weather transforms the great outdoors into something resembling a scene from Narnia.

While it can be tempting to stay snuggled indoors when it’s bitter outside, we think that would be a real waste of winter! We’re bigger fans of wrapping up warm, filling our flasks with a hot beverage, getting out there and embracing it! Are you with us? Great. Here are five, fun outdoor activities we think you should get involved with this winter:

Canyoning – Brecon Beacons

Heard of canyoning? It essentially involves travelling down river canyons by abseiling, jumping, scrambling, floating and swimming (the list goes on). It sounds pretty hardcore but it’s actually relatively easy, and as a plus, it’s all downhill! Wales’ Brecon Beacons are a top spot for canyoning, with numerous tour operators to chose from.

Horse riding – Scottish highlands

The Scottish Highlands are famed for their horseback riding tours, and if you ask us, there’s no better time to enjoy a leisurely hack on this rugged terrain than during winter. Book an early morning or mid-afternoon slot and ride with the sun rising or setting beside you – and prepare to be swept away by those awe-inspiring views!

Mountain biking – BikePark Wales

Wales gets another mention on our list as it’s the perfect place to tear up some trials on a mountain bike! BikePark Wales is built by riders, for riders, and is the first full-scale bike park in the heart of the South Wales valleys. There are routes for all ages and abilities, and if you aren’t a fan of climbs, you can always book yourself on the uplift. Slipping and sliding on those rocks and routes can be kept to a minimum by making sure those tyres are pumped to the right pressure!

Coastal walking – Marazion to Porthleven

The Marizon to Porthleven coastal route is arguably one of Cornwall’s best walks. Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it offers fantastic views of Mount Bay and the enchanting castle on St Michael’s Mount. It’s a relatively easy trek but does involve a few climbs; it’s also ten miles long, so be sure to wear some sturdy walking boots! Once you’ve passed through gorgeous, sandy beaches, you’ll end up in the quaint fishing village of Porthleven, which itself has received status of being a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Go Ape – 31 locations across the UK

Come swing with us before we go into hibernation! The canopy will protect you from the elements as you make your way from platform to platform, overcoming any obstacle in your path. You’ll wobble across bridges, crawl through tunnels, clamber up nets and whoosh through the air on zip wires! Go Ape is a wonderful, wintertime activity and with 31 locations across the UK, there’s bound to be a course near you!

Catch you in the treetops soon!

What kind of gift-giver are you? Take our two-minute quiz to find out!

Gift Voucher Quiz
So you want to find out what kind of gift-giver you are? All you have to do is select a number from each of the below and then find out what type of gift-giver you are from the answers below!


You have a dinner date with your friend at a brand new restaurant, but they’re running late. When they ask you to order a starter on their behalf, you…
  1. Don’t mind at all. You know them so well, you could order all three courses on their behalf if required. Even so, you take a moment to consider what kind of mood they’re likely to be in. Chicken terrine it is.
  2. The charcuterie platter. You know they’ll enjoy it, PLUS, they’ll probably need a hand finishing it off. Mmmmm, chorizo…
  3. That would literally never happen, because you’d be running late, too.


It’s clocking off time but your boss asks your best mate at work to stay late and finish off one of their own projects. What do you do?
  1. You knew your boss would never finish that project on time, so you prepped some back-up documents a week ago. Aaaaaand relax.
  2. Stay late and help them out, like a true best mate. Plus, your pal is bound to tell the boss it was a team effort, so you’ll be able to take a slice of the credit.
  3. Stay late with them. You were going to be there anyway, as you’ve got a load of your own deadlines that are getting close to the wire. Aat least now you’ll have some company.


Your pal’s just had to fork out a fortune to fix their car, but you had plans to do something swanky together at the weekend. You…
  1. Ditch the extravagant plans and spend the weekend helping them devise a savings plan. After all, they should always have a little bit stashed away for emergencies. Next time, they’ll be better prepared.
  2. Suggest a walk in the local park with a modest, but comforting picnic instead. Plus, you’ll be able to spend some quality time with their adorable pooch. Here, Chester!
  3. Tell them not to worry, you can always do it some other time. (You’d secretly forgotten it was this weekend, anyway).


Your results!

Mostly As –  The “Preparation Prevents Poor Performance” One
You’re a kind, considerate and well-organised gift-giver. You’ve already nearly finished your Christmas shopping, and you’ve been stashing away lots of little stocking fillers for months. You wrap with great care, and only give gifts you know your friends and family will LOVE. You’re just a good egg-nog, really, aren’t you?

To make sure you get it *absolutely* right this Christmas, why not flick through our Gift-Givers Guide? We’ll make sure you make the right decision (you considerate little Chimp, you).


Mostly Bs – The “Ulterior Motives” One
You really think about what your friends and family will like, and as such always buy the perfect gifts. It just so happens that, sometimes, there’s something in it for you, too. Weird. Well, adventures are always best when shared, right?

“Oh, you need someone to Go Ape with you? Really?” [evil smile…]


Mostly Cs – The “Last-minute, Still A Winner” One
Let’s face it, you’re going to leave everything til the eleventh hour again. Some things will never change. BUT, maybe that’s a good thing. After all, you work well under pressure. Plus, Go Ape gift vouchers are available to download instantly, even as late as Christmas morning.

Not that you’ll leave it that late… Will you?! Read about our gift vouchers here!

Top gifts for adventure lovers

Gift Voucher
In a letter to a friend, ill-fated explorer Christopher McCandless wrote: “The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Now, while we can’t all head for the hills and adopt the “helter-skelter lifestyle” suggested by McCandless, we could all do with imbuing our daily lives with a little more adventure. New experiences do set our hearts a-flutter; they leave us feeling emboldened and alive and free from nine-to-five living. Adventure enriches and educates us. It makes us better.

That’s why the tribe here at Banana HQ believe that it’s experiences and not objects that make for truly meaningful gifts. After all, what feeling would you rather have come Christmas morning: the invigoration that comes with facing your fears, or the realisation that once again, you’ve got socks?

Adventurous Christmas gifts are great for all kinds of reasons, but the most important is the mark they leave on you. So, whether you want to say a big “thank you” to the intrepid explorer in your life who drags you out of monotony and up mountains, or you’re looking for some wishlist inspo, we have you covered. Kick 2018 off to an unforgettable start with these fantastic and daring experiences…

Pony trekking

Combine romance and adventure in an activity that would even put the epic love story of Aragorn and Arwen to shame. Opt for a sunset trek along one of Britain’s beautiful shores, or a weekend horseback hideaway in the Highlands of Scotland. Regardless of the backdrop, this is one that will certainly leave your loved one swooning!

Escape a room

Escape rooms are so last year, we want themed ones!

If you’re looking for a gift for a horror movie boffin, why not put their bravery and brains to the test with MoviESCAPE? With both Saw and Exorcist-inspired rooms, you’ll be sure to give them an experience that’ll keep ‘em up at night!

Or, maybe your main squeeze is a lifelong fan of the Crystal Maze and 90s nostalgia aficionado. Don your best bomber jackets and put on your thinking hats, because you can now collect crystals in both London and Manchester.


What better way to bid adieu to 2017’s stresses than by pummelling your partner with paintballs? Okay, we don’t condone that, but what we do support is a day spent out in nature, interjected with teamwork, tactics and terrific fun!

Zombie experiences

Do you have a friend who’s obsessed with zombies? Maybe they’re convinced they’d survive an outbreak or simply won’t shut up about the Walking Dead. Either way, get them to put their money where their mouth is by gifting them a zombie experience! Select an asylum, shopping centre or even a lab as your base location, then all that’s left is to choose your weapon, prepare your team and go face the undead!

Go Ape – We put the ‘A’ in adventure!

We have a plethora of adventures to pick from; swing into the New Year on one of our unbeatable Tree Top Adventures, feel the thrill of flight on our Zip Trekking course, or explore the forest floor on one of our Segway Experiences. Whatever thrilling activity you choose, we can guarantee a day full of laughter, surprise and exhilaration!

So, go on – give the gift of adventure this Christmas and leave your loved one beaming!

Cairn of Peebles Takes On The UCI World Cup Rd 1, Lourdes!

Cairns Lourdes 2
Cairn of Peebles took advantage of Go Ape adventure this year back in April when she took on the UCI World Cup Rd 1 Lourdes.

Here is her adventure in her own words …

“Setting off…

The 24th of April had arrived it was time to head down to Bristol for my flight to Toulouse the next day, I drove down with my Dad and all my kit, we made it down to Bristol in around 7 hours, super hungry and no idea where we’d be staying we met up with one of my fellow downhill riders and she took us to a fab Chinese restaurant for a quick bite to eat. We then headed back to her street where we were parking the van for the week and where we’d be staying the night. Tuesday morning came and it was time to go to the

airport, the taxi arrived we got the kit in and off we went! We arrived at the airport in good time, got my bags and bike checked in and off they went, was time for us to relax and get some food. GATE 20 TOULOUSE, it was us we were boarding the plane, we got settled on the plane and off we went onto France! We landed safely in France, i got all my kit back with me and onto Lourdes. So the next part was by far the scariest, Dad had never driven on the right side of the road how were we going to survive… an hour and a half later we safely made it into Lourdes, We got checked into the hotel and now time to relax before the weekend!

Track walk…

It was Thursday the 27th, it was time to head along to the venue to sign on and walk the track! We walked through the pits seeing all the pro pits and riders and one very special new 29er Santa Cruz v10, this bike had just been released and i got to see it in the flesh what a bike it was! So onto sign on, pink number board with a 33 on was what would be my bike for the weekend! 12 o’clock came and it was time to head up to walk the track, i had no idea what to expect i had heard so many different things, i was super nervous as what it would look like as i was walking down taking photos of tricky bits it was then i saw a crowd of people looking at the famous ‘WALL’, I looked down thinking oh no to my relief that i knew i’d be fine and it was very similar to something i had raced in 2016 at a SDA! After walking the track i had one doubts about the two massive road gaps the rest i felt pretty confident about and couldn’t wait to ride my bike!


SNOW! Woke up on first morning of practice to yes snow on the mountains. I was at the top of the hill super nervous, goggles on and time to go… I got to the wall eased off the brakes and went for it ‘yes’ i made it down. My first practice run couldn’t have gone any better. As i did more runs i kept trying to hit my lines and increase speed this was all going great! Practice on Saturday morning came the track had dried out so much so this meant that it was running sweet! Got all my lines and felt confident for qualifying! Was time to get that GB jersey one!


Onto the carriage we went was time to head up for qualifying, this time Dad was allowed to come. Got to the top and was time to warm up, at first i watched the last of the elite men finishing practice and chilled out. I then began my warm up… Stretched off and it was time to get in the que, at this point i was getting super nervous and then i reminded myself i’m just riding my bike, 5 4 3 2 1 BEEEP, that was it i was i had started go to the first rock garden the fastest i even had even though i hit my rim pretty bad, PEDAL PEDAL! I sent the jumps, now i was at the wall what a relief i made it down safe round the corner and PEDAL, Oh no what’s that??? A Puncture 🙁 hitting my rim in the first rock garden caused me to ding my rim badly and all the air come out my tyre along with the sealant, i knew then there was nothing i could do to be in with a chance of qualifying. Made it to the bottom in one piece to be greeted by my Dad, i was gutted not to qualify but also very happy to have be able to ride down that track and feel confident about it! So that was that my weekend of racing was done, time to chill and watch the racing on Sunday!

Cairns Lourdes 1

Home Time…

Bike was all packed and off to Toulouse airport we went… Time to fly home, the plane was 50% downhill riders which was cool to see, we set of up we went and back to Britain we go. We landed collect my bags and off to the taxi to take us back to the van… We set off home, ‘OH NO’ the brakes in the van weren’t working, we had to wait 2 hours for the AA to come look at the van, Dad had checked already and knew what was up a leaky piston so we waited another hour for the tow truck to come, we received a call to say we would get a hire car to drive back home, back to the airport we went to collect the car then we set off home finally. Time to stop for food we were tired and hungry so we stopped for coffee and food before the trip home. I was woken up by a knock on the window and a policeman, routine checks done then on we go again. 4 o’clock came and we had finally arrived home after 22 hours of travelling it was time to go to sleep! Apart from our disaster on the way home the trip was amazing and i had a great time! Was awesome to get to ride my bike abroad and cannot wait to race at Fort William World Cup in a few weeks time!”

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