Category Archives: Meet our Tribe

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.”

The Moment You Become Part of the Tribe

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure

So, you’ve just booked your first Go Ape adventure. Fantastic – get ready for a true taste of the high life!

Our award-winning tree-top obstacle courses provide the perfect place to catch some hang time with your chums. Breathe in that fresh, forest air, take in the breathtaking scenery, and be prepared to meet with some awesome tree-top obstacles.

We’ve got brilliant bridges, crazy crossings and speedy zip wires. We’ve got high ropes, tightropes, tunnels and stirrups. Walk, crawl, crouch and wobble your way across the obstacles, before whizzing down a zip wire at the end of each stage.

If you ask us, there’s one particular obstacle that really takes the biscuit. It’s the obstacle that well and truly makes you a member of the Go Ape tribe. We are, of course, talking about the Tarzan Swing.

Go Ape Tarzan Swing

Ah, the Tarzan Swing. Clip in, hold on, count down from ten (or 20, or 200) and jump! It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, whether you try to ease your wobbly knees before leaping, or prefer to jump straight away without thought.

And when you do finally jump, you’ll soon understand why the Tarzan Swing is our favourite obstacle. Feel the wind in your hair, throw your hands in the air and embrace it! For those few seconds you’ll be lost in the moment and all your inhibitions will disappear; so let’s hear your loudest and most impressive Tarzan holler!

Though it’s important to enjoy yourself, don’t get too lost in the moment and forget to grab on to the cargo net on the other side – you’ll need that to get yourself up to the next platform. And, when you’re standing on that next platform, there’s no doubt you’ll be thinking one thing: “I did it!” Oh, actually, two things – the other being “I want another go!”

So, we know that the Tarzan Swing is your ticket to join the Go Ape tribe, but what other initiation tests are there? We can name a few…

First rope

For some, clambering up those very first set of ropes can be a terrifying experience. If you’re visiting Go Ape to conquer your fear of heights, then fair play to you. And when it comes to becoming an official member of our tribe, well, once you’re up, you’re in.

Wobble woes

Another test people like to set themselves on our courses is to see if they can get their legs to stop wobbling by the time they reach that final zip wire. Some manage to still themselves after the first couple of obstacles, while others continue to shake even when their feet are on solid ground!

No hands hero

Once you’ve started to build up your confidence, you’ll know doubt want to see how far you can push yourself. Many people at this point attempt to complete one of our crossings or bridges hands-free. Can you manage it?

Zip wire

It’s that final moment; the ultimate obstacle that quite literally brings you back down to earth. And, as you land in that soft pile of woodchip, you should feel happy in that knowledge that you are now an official member of the Go Ape tribe!

Supporting Adventure: Nikki Curwen’s Transatlantic Voyage

Nikki Curwen - Living Life Adventurously

Nikki CurwenSportswoman. Sailor. Adventurer.

However you describe Nikki Curwen, her resumé is pretty impressive, which is why we’re proud to announce that we are the lead sponsor for Nikki’s 2015 transatlantic voyage.

This year Nikki will take on challenge after challenge before competing – solo – in the gruelling Mini Transat expedition.

Covering over 4,000 miles, Nikki will race across the Atlantic taking on 84 competitors all vying for the prestigious first place.

What’s more…the Mini Transat is pure back-to-basics sailing. That means no communication and only a basic GPS and paper charts for navigation. If that’s not living life adventurously we don’t know what is!

Why are we getting involved?

It’s true, single-handedly crossing the Atlantic is a far stretch from the leafy hangouts we love exploring, but we take pride in supporting those that are committed to keeping the adventure in adventure.

Speaking about the upcoming expedition, Nikki told us;

“The Transat for me, although a competitive race, it is mostly about the adventure and the challenge. I love sailing and I’m always looking for the next thing to push me that bit further.

 

 

The boats are incredibly responsive, they almost feel alive. They’re so small you can really feel the power and witness it first hand.

 

 

When I was a little kid, maybe 7 years old – I made a bet with my older sister that we would sail across the Atlantic before we flew. I can honestly say I’ve kept my deal and this year will be my first time across the pond. In a tiny little 6.5m boat, by myself!!”

Nikki Curwen Sailing

“In order to enter the Transat you have to qualify by completing 1,000 miles of races as well as a 1000 mile non stop solo passage. The race is over subscribed and unfortunately not all can go.

 

 

Once you have completed your qualification miles you can join the entry list. Having had my boat a year now, I’ve already qualified and signed up with my entry confirmed for this September.”

What’s next for Nikki?

Having just completed the Lorient BSM this weekend, a 150 mile double handed race, Nikki’s lined up a further five races before taking on the Mini Transat in September this year. She’ll take on the Pornichet Select, the Mini En Mai, MAP, and Mini Fastnet – clocking up over 1,000 additional miles.

In the coming months we’ll be following Nikki’s journey as she takes on the unimaginable challenges of solo sailing. Next week, check out our exclusive Q&A as we find out what it takes to become an offshore sailor.

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