Category Archives: Meet our Tribe

Behind forest doors…

About Go Ape

When you’re wobbling across bridges, leaping off platforms and whizzing down zip wires at Go Ape, do you ever wonder just what goes on behind our forest doors?

As you may know, this year we celebrated our 14th birthday. It’s been a roller-coaster ride of adventure and we’ve relished every day, hour, minute and second. Time has flown by – it doesn’t seem that long ago when we were celebrating the opening of our very first Tree Top Adventure in Thetford forest. And now there are Go Ape adventures across the UK and we’ve taken our monkey business stateside!

Our business has grown quicker than we could have ever imagined but through it all, our vision, values and mission have all remained the same. And we believe that’s what’s made us the successful company we are today.

The way we work

We’d be nothing without our hard-working, dedicated tribe. From front-line forest folk to our busy gorillas in Banana HQ, we make sure all our employees enjoy worthwhile and rewarding careers with us. Our tribe share our vision and values – they play a core part in how our tribe carry out their jobs.

So, what is our vision, we hear you ask? Well, it’s simple: to create adventure and encourage people to live life adventurously! This has been our motto from day dot; it was Tris and Becs’ reason for launching Go Ape.

Of course, we’ve got to practice what we preach! But our tribe don’t really need much persuasion to be adventurous. Aside from swinging from tree to tree, our tribe hike, run, cycle, mountain bike, sail, climb, dive…the list goes on. Pretty much any sport or recreational activity you can think of, it’s covered by one of our tribe – we even have a pro roller derby player in our corporate events team!

Our tribe always rises to the challenge of a new adventure, too.

For example, five of the team are currently undertaking gruelling training for the 3 Peaks Yacht Race. As tough as it is long, the 3PYR involves 389 miles of sailing, 72 miles of running and 18 miles of cycling. Suffice to say, it takes a lot more dedication than a bi-weekly trip to the gym. In fact, here’s our Managing Director, Jerome Mayhew rowing a yacht – that’s some power:

We believe that being adventurous inspires others to be adventurous, too. Besides laughter, it’s the only thing we don’t mind being contagious! When people’s eyes are opened to adventure – be it through experiencing Go Ape or by hearing about someone else’s experiences – they feel inspired to get out there and live their lives more adventurously!

Nowadays, too much time is spent indoors watching TV, playing on games consoles and scrolling through social media. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored and discovered – and we don’t want anyone to waste that opportunity! It’s a given fact: the great outdoors is where the best memories are made.

By living life adventurously, people get to uncover what they are truly capable of.

You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve and the confidence you’ll gain will fuel the fire in your belly to make every day a new adventure.

Doing the right thing is really important to us and we aim to make sure we continue to be socially and environmentally responsible in everything we do. Our goal in the long run? To get everyone swinging from the trees. And if we don’t achieve that, we at least hope to be the best adventure company on the planet!

Nikki Curwen Conquers the Mini Transat

Nikki Curwen Sailing Sunset
Nikki Curwen Profile Photo

Credit: Christophe Breschi

It’s officially over, the 2015 Mini Transat has come to an end, and with it the accolade of being the first woman on complete the gruelling 4,000 mile solo race across the Atlantic.

If you’ve missed our coverage of Nikki competing in the prestigious Mini Transat, where have you been? We’ve learned how to stay mentally prepared for solo sailing, been given a beginners guide to sailing, and even put our Managing Director, Jerome Mayhew, through his paces. As a previous Go Ape instructor, we’re proud of Nikki for continuing to live life adventurously, and thrilled to have had the opportunity to sponsor her journey.

Nikki has been working towards the Mini Transat for the past three years – in order to qualify every skipper needs to complete 1,000 miles of official mini races as well as a 1,000 mile non-stop passage. Only once submitted and assessed by the Classe Mini can an individual enter the race. Having narrowly missed out on the previous Mini Transat, Nikki’s unfaltering determination earned her a place in the 2015 race having eyed up different boats, finding out costs and working out logistics, all before even meeting the racing requirements. Willing to do whatever it took, Nikki worked relentlessly towards raising the necessary funds, including living with parents and friends, and working in bars and restaurants to keep her head above the ground.

Salvation came at the beginning of 2014 when Nikki secured the purchase of Mini 741, a competitive reliable proto while reasonably priced. With a two year loan to help fund the remainder of the boat Nikki was all set and the 2015 dream came alive!

Speaking before the race, Nikki said;

Everyone kept asking if I was nervous, stressed, anxious, and I can honestly say it never hit me, not really. I thought that as I got in the marina it would but as the days got closer to the start I just got more and more excited, an amazing feeling.

With the weather looking perfect on the Start Day, a good omen came as Nikki’s chosen song blared over the sound system. Surrounded by support crews, family, friends of all the skippers, spectator boats, the French Navy, press and helicopters, the bay was buzzing with excitement and the atmosphere was incredible.

Nikki Curwen Go Ape

Credit: Stanislas Thuret

In her arrival interview with Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe, on speaking about her journey Nikki said “Even in the worst moments, I had fun.”, going on to say;

I think I’ve never talked so much to myself. But I was alone on board. I do not know how to describe it, I just had to conform to my routine. It was unbelievable I have never had low morale, even when I broke my spinnaker. Then I found myself in the driver down for 200 miles.

So, what did Nikki think of her performance?

For me, the most important was to reach the goal. On this side, mission accomplished. It is the culmination of three years of work. I will remember everything, I’m really makes me happy. I will not forget all those sunsets.

Nikki Curwen Mini Transat

Congratulations from the Go Ape Tribe Nikki!

Nikki Curwen Mini Transat Part 2

Credit: Christophe Breschi

Q & A with Bryony Morris, Crawley Tilgate Park

Byrony Morris

Go Ape Instructor Byrony MorrisBrilliant Bryony has been part of the Go Ape tribe for two seasons now, having started as an instructor at Margam Park, and now firmly settled into life at Crawley Tilgate Park.

With a degree in Sport & PE under her belt, she’s been in the outdoor industry for some time and, as you can see from the following Q & A session, her zest for life and all things adventure is somewhat contagious. Here, she tells us about some of her most exciting escapades to date. Have a read and tell us you don’t feel inspired to get out and live life more adventurously!

Where is the most adventurous place you’ve been?

Wow. Now this is hard because I have been to some very adventurous places! But if I had to pick one it would have to be the beautiful country of New Zealand. Never before have I visited a country where they live and breathe adventure quite like the Kiwis do. From the two months I spent there I found that their laidback lifestyle goes hand in hand with their sense of adventure and their love for the great outdoors. I mean, with the amazingly beautiful scenery they are surrounded by, how can you not fall in love with the place?! My trip was packed full of adventures, including hiking the Tongariro National Park, jumping off a canyon in the South Island (ropes firmly attached, don’t worry!), mountain biking, surfing, jet boating in Queenstown, sailing Lake Taupo and hurling myself down a mountain on a tin tray – to name but a few. If you relish that feeling of doing something crazy (maybe ticking something off the bucket list) or experiencing natural beauty that dreams are made of then YOU MUST GO! Adventure is in their blood, and as a nation they are pretty damn friendly, so it’s just about perfect, right?!

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

Two moments spring to mind with this question:

1. A week long hike of the Andringitra mountain range in Madagascar. At an altitude of 2658m this was one of the most challenging and adventurous things I have ever done. This was my first ever trek at high altitude, living off the contents of my backpack and camping on cliff edges surrounded by lemurs – it almost seems unreal when I look back on it today. At the time, I genuinely thought I was crazy embarking on such a challenging and risky trek along narrow ridges, with rocks crumbling under my feet and moments of pure exhaustion. HOWEVER, I made it… and it is one of my proudest achievements to date. The views weren’t too shabby either!

2. I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so in New Zealand last year I decided it would be a great idea to jump off a canyon in what is named “the world’s highest cliff jump”. I have never been so terrified in my entire life. Standing on the edge of that canyon thinking “WHY AM I DOING THIS?!” In the jungle of adrenaline this jump is the gorilla. Once you decide to jump off that edge after countless words of persuasion from the instructors, you experience a 60-metre freefall, followed by a 200-metre swing over the Shotover River. It’s fair to say that was definitely one of my craziest decisions, but I don’t regret a second of it! Just awesome.

What did you get up to on your recent trip to Barcelona?

In November 2015 myself and a group of five other Go Ape instructors from Crawley Tilgate Park thought we would book a spontaneous last-minute getaway to the beautiful city of Barcelona. This was five days of walking, cycling and climbing the length and breadth of this gorgeous Spanish city. Some of the highlights included cycling up to Park Güell – a Gaudi-inspired landscape garden with beautiful buildings, hidden caves and some seriously good views. Little do the tourists know that if you hike up the steep hill just beyond the park you will reach a secluded and outstandingly beautiful summit, offering 360-degree views of the city, away from the hustle and bustle of the snappy-happy tourists. Another cool adventure was walking up to the 17th-century hilltop fortress Montjuïc castle which overlooks the ocean and the city. It’s so worth the many steps which take you to the top! A trip to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Camp Nou to watch FC Barca play a football game, as well as evenings filled with mouth-watering tapas and Sangria. It was the perfect break after a busy summer of Treetop adventuring in Crawley, and no doubt there will be many more mini-trips to come for the team!

Why do you love to live life adventurously, and why do you think others should do the same?

I think almost everybody would like some more adventure in their life. I’m the kind of person with the attitude of “Dream it, Believe It, Achieve it” and I honestly believe that everyone can be more adventurous if you set your mind to it. You don’t need lots of time or money to have an adventure, or have the fitness of Bear Grylls, or have lived in a cabin in the mountains of Canada. Adventure is so much closer than you think and even the smallest of changes to your attitude and therefore your life can get you living life more adventurously.

I breathe adventure. If I’m not on an adventure, big or small, I’m dreaming and planning my next. It’s how I live and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I try my best to look at the opportunities and not the restraints in life, which is why I attempt to make the most of every day; whether it is taking a different route home from work, or waking up that little bit earlier to take a walk before the world wakes up. That’s why I love my job as an instructor at Go Ape – because of the opportunity it gives me to inspire people to challenge themselves and do things they wouldn’t normally think about trying. It’s so easy to slip into a mundane 9-5 routine, but people need to think about the flipside of that and look at the 5-9 routine. That’s a whole 16 hours of free time which is screaming adventure! Having a sense of adventure makes every day different; you will fear less, do more and your dreams will become a reality if you want them to. So, get out there people – and don’t look back!

We hear you have some YouTube videos in the pipeline – what can we expect from these?

This is a new project of mine in an attempt to put across what is, to me, a very important message:

Life is a one-time offer, so use it well.

I’m currently planning a YouTube channel to focus on this message and to encourage people to live their life a bit more adventurously, make a positive impact on the world we live in, and reiterate the importance of sustainable tourism, travelling on a tight budget and encouraging women, in particular, to unleash their inner adventure and make a change in the world – no matter how small. I’m looking at making adventure travel videos that will inspire more people to open their eyes to adventure and see just how easy it is to make a positive impact in the world and travel without breaking the bank. You can expect many crazy adventures documented through film, handy hints and tips on travelling, honest travel guides and general lifestyle ideas to live your life to the fullest. So watch this space!

Who’s the most adventurous person you know?

The most adventurous person I know is a very close friend of mine. She lives and works in London in a 9-5 office job, so naturally relishes ANY opportunity for an adventure. For example, there are several occasions I can recall where I have received a text in the early hours of the morning saying “Just about to book flights to Iceland… fancy it?”. As you can already tell, these propositions are always VERY tempting! Another example was when she rocked up to my house in her old banger of a car which was falling apart at the hinges, and we spontaneously went on a road trip with an old school paper map not knowing where we would end up. Those adventures are always the best; the ones that barely cost a thing yet you have the best time exploring somewhere you’ve never been before with one of your best buddies. It just goes to show that if you dream adventure, and believe you can do it, you can ALWAYS achieve it. So she is definitely one of the most craziest, adventurous people I know, for sure!

We ask Liam McCabe – What’s on your life list?

Liam

We’ve all got a life list. Perhaps not written down, but in our heads at least. And the great thing about these lists is that every single one is unique.

So, we thought it’d be a good idea to grill some of our tribe to find out what’s on their life lists. First under the spotlight is Liam McCabe, site manager at our beautiful Go Ape in Buxton. Liam’s a lover of outdoor adventure (we should hope so, too) and has a lengthy career working in the industry. It’s little surprise, then, that his list contains several daredevil activities…

1. Longboard in Iceland/Scandinavia

First up, Liam wants to try his luck at longboarding. “I’d love to buy a longboard and head to either Iceland or Scandinavia, with the long, winding roads and amazing landscapes. I’d want to travel as much as possible via push power and gravity.”

2. Have a go on a water jet pack

Imagine, flying across the water and through the air using a jetpack. Sounds a lot like whizzing through the air via zip line at one of our Go Ape courses, only a little more wet…

3. See spider monkeys

We’re glad to see something monkey-related on Liam’s list. Spider monkeys are native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Much like Liam, they spend most of their days swinging through the trees (the only difference is, they have no thumbs). “I’m fascinated by spider monkeys. I’d love to see them one day in their natural habitat.”

4. Visit Bhutan

Situated on the eastern edge of the Himalayas, the kingdom of Bhutan is a magical and mysterious land comprising valleys, mountains and subtropical plains, speckled with monasteries and fortresses. “Bhutan’s got to be on my life list; a place where your wealth is measured in your happiness.”

5. Learn to snowboard

It’s something he’s never tried before, but Liam would love to head to the mountains and try his luck on a snowboard.

6. Skydive

“Skydiving’s got to be on the list. I’d relish the chance to jump out of a plane…with a parachute, of course!” We asked Liam where he’d like to skydive…“Anywhere!”

7. Learn to fly a plane

Liam would like to jump out of a plane, but he’d like to take control and learn how to fly one, too.

8. Canoe in the Canadian lakes

“I have been canoeing for 10 years and I’ve yet to visit Canada to paddle where arguably the canoe was invented.”

9. Visit Machu Picchu

Liam would one day love to visit the magnificent, ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru, set high in the Andes Mountains.

10. A Capoeira class in Brazil

Last on the list is a trip to Brazil. “Having done Capoeira (Brazilian martial art) for a couple of years now, I’d love to travel to its country of origin to experience the culture first hand.”

Page 3 of 712345...Last »