Category Archives: Meet our Tribe

Q&A with Grizedale Site Manager: Paul Brady

Go Ape Zip Trekking Adventure

Is it a bird? Is a plane? Nope – it’s just Grizedale Site Manager, Paul Brady, swinging through the trees!

Paul joined the Go Ape tribe back in March 2007, starting as an instructor and making his way up the (rope) ladder to become Construction Team Member, Deputy Manager and now Site Manager; a position he’s held for the past 7 years.

We recently caught up with Paul – and were rather surprised to learn that he once had a huge fear of heights…

What made you join the Go Ape family?

After leaving school I worked as a Chef for almost fifteen years – I started to grow disillusioned with my career choice and wanted a new challenge. My housemate at the time was the Manager for Grizedale and he convinced me to give instructing a go, even though he knew perfectly well I was scared of heights! I initially managed the Rivington site, before moving back up to Grizedale where it all began in April 2014.

Did you experience Go Ape for yourself before taking the job?

Yes – I completed Go Ape once before I joined. Well, when I say ‘completed,’ I missed out on the Tarzan swing due to sheer fear! I loved the experience in a weird kind of way, despite being nervous all the way round. I felt a great sense of achievement when I finally got my feet back on solid ground.

What do you like about working for Go Ape?

The two main things I enjoy are the people I work with and the customers who visit us. Each day is different and the job is never dull! Our instructors are what make Go Ape so great and their enthusiasm and enjoyment of their jobs is great to be a part of. Our customers come to us for a great time and an exhilarating experience, which means they are here to enjoy themselves and are up for fun – that’s what makes our jobs so enjoyable!

What makes your site unique?

Grizedale is the first site to offer 4 full activities, with our Zip Trekking Adventure coming on board in July last year. With over 3km of zip lines zip-zagging their way through the forest, we’re proud to be the first site in the Go Ape family to offer this unique experience. Grizedale is also home to the highest platform and obstacle in Go Ape – at over 18m our site 5 zip platform really tests your nerves!

Finally, tell us a story that’ll put a smile on our faces…

When I was managing the Rivington site, we had a film company visit us to film an episode of Don’t Tell The Bride. One of my female instructors stepped forward to be filmed as part of the programme, and she was really excited. When the day came, she arrived to work looking immaculate – uniform ironed, hair and make-up done, the works.

The day went really well, apart from the grotty weather, and we all waited eagerly for the episode to be aired and when the day came, we all watched with baited breath. The bride was filmed flying through the air on the zip line and swinging through the trees on our Tarzan swing and it all looked great. But, the only slight hiccup was that with all the editing of the film the only actual footage of my instructor was of her bright pink spotty wellies walking away through the mud! Some people said that was the best bit!

Fancy taking on the highest Go Ape platform? Or the UK’s best Zip Trekking Adventure? Book a trip to Go Ape at Grizedale Forest.

Jerome Goes Offshore Racing

Jerome Mayhew Sailing

We’ve been following Nikki Curwen as she prepares for her mammoth Mini Transat race – a 4,000 mile solo race across the Atlantic. Not shy at a bit of adventure, Jerome Mayhew, our Managing Director, joined Nikki on little excursion:

“Ex-Go Ape instructor Nikki Curwen got in touch with us to tell us about her amazing project to compete in the 2015 Mini-Transat race.  The “transat” stands for transatlantic and the “Mini” for the size of the boat – just 21’ (6.5m) long.  There is only room for one person, and that is only if you don’t mind not being able even to sit up straight.  

Having been inspired by Nikki’s determination to live life adventurously we became her title sponsor for her campaign and yesterday I got to have a go on the boat!  

WOW!  

With wind gusting gale force 8 Nikki headed straight out into the thick of it.  Up went the gennaker and we took off, except when my steering skills failed to avoid ramming the waves in front.  Have a look at this clip to see what happy looks like.”

Looking good Jerome!

Follow Nikki as she prepares for her next big adventure, with no phones and no computers, just paper charts.

www.nikkicurwen.com

Ben Fogle’s Fair Isle Adventures

Ben Fogle Share Adventure

Ben Fogle This MorningBen Fogle has joined the Go Ape Tribe to encourage families across the UK to #ShareAdventure, not screens, this summer.

Yesterday, Ben visited This Morning to spread the word about our #ShareAdventure campaign after our survey of 2,000 British parents revealed that shockingly children will spend over 86 hours in front of a screen this summer.

Not only that, but 22% of parents admitted to allowing their children to watch TV and play on screen based devices simply to keep them quiet.

To bring adventure back to families this summer we launch the #ShareAdventure portal. It’s jam-packed with real-life adventures from people across the UK to help inspire others to explore the great outdoors.

What’s more, you can now check out one of Ben’s favourite UK adventures on the Fair Isle. Here’s a sneak-peak…

“Closer to home, although not exactly easily accessible, is Fair Isle, the most remote inhabited island in the British Isles. Getting there is an adventure in itself as the island can be shut off for weeks at a time during the savage winter storms and, although part of the British Isles, it is actually closer to Norway than it is to England”

Find out what else there is to discover on the Fair Isle by checking out Ben’s adventure here.

Did we mention that you can also win incredible adventurous prizes from our lovely partners? There’s holidays, campaign gear, clothing and more up for grabs from Cotswold Outdoor, Enid Blyton, Forest Holidays, Forestry Commission, Salomon, Canopy & Stars and Suunto.

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.”

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