Category Archives: Meet our Tribe

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.

Q & A With A Member Of The Go Ape Team: Tony Mitchell

Reach New Heights At Go Ape

This month, we’re grilling Tony Mitchell – site manager at Go Ape Black Park, Buckinghamshire. Tony has been leading the tribe there since July 2014, but has been part of Go Ape’s fixtures and fittings since 2009 when he took a job at the Bedgebury site. Here, we find out about why he’s always in a good mood, and why he’s usually in close proximity to an A-list celeb or two…Tony Mitchell - Go Ape Black Park

What made you join the Go Ape family?

My whole life, I’ve always loved the great outdoors. I joined the army at the ripe age of 16 and it really gave me a taste for it; I’ve never had a “proper” office job. Before working for Go Ape I worked as a watersports instructor and a ski guide. I then went on to be deputy manager of a gym in Brighton – but even that was too “indoorsy” for me!

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

Shortly before my interview for Go Ape, I thought to myself: “I better have a go at this so I know what I’m talking about in the interview!” and my partner and I paid a visit to the Bracknell site. Since then, though, I’ve been to 16 or 17 of the other Go Ape sites – I can’t get enough of it!

What do you like about working for Go Ape?

Go Ape Black Park is set in 530 acres of beautiful woodland, with an amazing centre-piece lake. Even if I wake up in a bad mood, I step one foot into the forest and I’m instantly in a good mood; even if it’s wet and windy, it’s impossible not to be happy when you’re surrounded by this scenery. I’m lucky because, even as a manager, I’m not stuck behind a desk all day. Although my role does require me to be at a desk sometimes, I’m still very active.

I’d have to say that the people – both staff and customers – are what I love most about my job, though. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing someone conquer their fears; starting the day shaking with nerves and coming back absolutely buzzing.

What makes your site unique?

Well, one of the reasons Black Park is unique is because of our best kept secret: we have forest bikes at our site. We’re the only Go Ape site to have a bike hire operation in place, and I like that!

We also offer the Segway experience here, but we’re the only site where you can Segway down to the Hogwarts’ railway station from Harry Potter!

Pinewood Studios is just a stone’s throw away from our site, with ‘Star Wars’ being filmed down there as I speak! There are also loads of movie scenes that are filmed right here at Black Park – from ‘James Bond’ to ‘Fast & Furious’. Quite often, we’ll hear a big boom coming from Pinewood Studios – it’s rather exciting for all of us! The stars are usually kept under wraps, but Damian Lewis (star of ‘Homeland’) did pay Go Ape a visit with his son, who had a go on the Tree Top Junior Adventure.

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

There are a couple of particularly funny moments that spring to mind. One is when a customer dressed up in one of our gorilla suits, unbeknownst to her boyfriend. She then proceeded to get down on one knee and propose to him! He said yes, of course (after she had peeled off her gorilla mask!).

Another one that stands out took place on market day. Once a month, there’s a market that comes to the Go Ape car park, and part of it involves a ‘petting zoo’ – where animals such as ducks, rabbits, donkeys and sheep often make an appearance. One day, the rabbits somehow managed to escape, so we ended up scrambling around the car park chasing bunnies!

Q & A With Buxton Site Manager: Liam McCabe

Go Ape Zip Wires

Liam McCabe - Go ApeLiam McCabe leads the tribe at our beautiful Buxton site in the heart of the Peak District. While he’s been in the activity industry for many years, here Liam tells us why his job at Go Ape is like no other, and why he’ll be eternally grateful to his fellow Go Ape buddy James Winter for recommending the company to him in the first place…

What made you join the Go Ape family in the first place?

I used to work at a place called PGL – a residential holiday camp for kids, based on adventurous experiences outside. Whilst I loved this aspect of the job, it was very much a 24/7 role. Because I lived on site, I was working in the evenings and was on-call throughout the night (meaning I’d get a knock on the door at 2am from a child having a nose bleed!).

A few of my mates worked at Go Ape and were always raving about how good it was and how the company looked after you really well. I felt I had reached the furthest I could go with PGL and had been there for most of my twenties, so when my good friend James Winter (then, manager of the Bedgebury site) told me he had a deputy job going, I jumped at the chance – it was time to try something new and settle down with my (now) wife. It was perfect timing really, as I was looking for something that was still based on adventurous experiences, but somewhere I could finish at the end of each day, shut the doors and switch off.

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

I hadn’t, but once I knew I had an interview I had a look around one of the sites. I had done similar activities before – I used to be a paddler and work on other ropes sites – so knew I would love it.

What do you like about working for Go Ape?

It is extremely rewarding when you see customers laughing and having a good time. I also love the job because it is very different to when I was working purely with kids. When adults are involved, you hand over some of the responsibility to them, whereas with children you are very conscious that you are always the responsible one. With Go Ape, you let people have a bit more autonomy on the course – giving them the freedom to explore their own fears and learn the ropes (pardon the pun!) for themselves. At the same time, though, they know that we’re always on hand should they need us, but they don’t feel like they are being watched and judged the whole time. This puts the emphasis back on them so that they get more out of it, and there’s something satisfying about watching someone conquer their fears.

What makes your site unique?

Buxton is one of the highest of the Go Ape courses – it’s a very hilly site so there are plenty of long crossings and high platforms, and that has got to be our USP. From high up in the trees, I also think we have some of the best views out of all the Go Ape sites: you can see over Buxton itself, looking down over the town, the Peak District and over the moors. It’s a very picturesque course, and the views never cease to stop me in my tracks.

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

I can certainly think of an embarrassing story…

Jodie Marsh once visited Go Ape Bedgebury when I worked there. At the end of the activity, we give out certificates – and on this occasion I was writing them in front of the customers. I was moving around the group asking names and writing the name in my best handwriting on the certificate. As I got to Jodie I said: “I know your name, believe it or not!” and wrote it out for her. When I got to the gent next to her, he said: “I bet you know my name then too?” I replied: “Are you her brother?“, to which he responded: “No I’m her boyfriend“. He looked a bit disappointed when I asked for his name. For some reason, I must have given the impression of being up-to-speed with celeb love stories!

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