Today at Banana HQ we received some fantastic news. Go Ape Rivington, which is based just outside Bolton, scooped the runners up prize for Netmums Outdoor Play Awards.
This is a fantastic win for us, as the winners are decided by mums, dads and carers who participate on the open forum -Netmums. In fact there are a staggering 1.7million mums, dads and child carers who are registered Netmums members and were eligible to cast their votes in the awards, to find the UK’s best loved outdoor attractions. Which makes this award even more special!
We caught up with our lovely site manager at Rivington, Sam Mason to get his take on the news: “We are delighted to receive this award – it’s wonderful to be recognised for what we do. There’s nothing like seeing families having fun up in the trees and now we hope to welcome even more budding apes after being recognised by Netmums as one of the regions best outdoor attractions.”
The fact that so many mums and dads love Go Ape is great news for children all over the country, and hopefully more will be able to follow in their fellow Tarzans footsteps and head up into the trees. With recent studies finding that modern kids spend only ten per cent of their time playing outdoors, four times less than their parents’ generation! We all think it’s time that children spent more time outdoors wherever that maybe.
Currently at Rivington we have the UK’s number one Tree Top Adventure. Which is suitable for those over the age of 10 years old and above 1.4m tall. However, for all those mini Tarzan’s out there, we have been working hard to build more Tree Top Junior’s. These courses are specifically designed from 6-12 year olds and over 1m tall. Although we do let kids on who are under 6, just as long as they reach the 1m mark. They are scattered all over the country so why not check it out to see if there is one near you!
Everyone at Go Ape and especially Go Ape Rivington would like to thank all you lovely mums, dads and child carers who voted for us in this fantastic award.
Those were the words that drew me to this amazing trip along with a love for the great outdoors! It peaked my interest the second I saw the trip advertised on the Dream challenges website! I have a passion for seeing new places and pushing myself to the limit. I’d never been to Africa and if your going to visit it seemed to make sense to go to the highest spot in the whole continent.
Dream challenges always encourage participants to raise money for charity when taking part in these treks so I decided to support St.Catherine’s hospice who are based in my town of Crawley. Having friends and colleagues who have come into contact with the hospice before what struck me was all the positive things they had to say about their experience with them and it touched many peoples hearts. Overall in the past 12 months I managed to raise £1300 through a raffle, fundraising night, cake sale and people kindly donating through just giving. Alongside that Go Ape decided to award me £75 towards the trip and provided me with equipment from the adventure fund (and a raffle prize).
The route we took was the Lemosho route which took us 7 days camping all the way up. Feeling I was a seasoned camper this did not bother me in the least although there was some new experiences when it came to wild camping which took some getting used to. The Lemosho route is one of the less travelled routes to the summit although becoming more popular as the success rate is higher due to the time taken to acclimatise. The first 1 1/2 days was spent walking through thick beautiful rainforest. Luckily there is nothing too tropical there so there aren’t many big scary bugs! The scenery changes dramatically as the route gets higher and we left the rainforest. It was more of a scramble at times through short heather and large rocks and boulders – most of all the barranco wall. This was the point that the porters advice of “Pole Pole” or “slowly slowly” came into its own watching every footstep carefully.
The final couple of days of the climb were the most challenging but the bit that tested my strength was the final 4 hours to the summit. Having never experienced altitude sickness before I can only describe it as a sudden feeling of coming down with flu. It all feels like a blur now and I can barely remember each step in those last few hours but once we made it to Stella point knowing we only had 1 hour of the climb left I found a new energy that pushed me on. I owe the last 4 hours of the climb to the fantastic support we had from the porters and guides. They are as part of the mountain as the trail we were walking on.
The guides keep a consistent “tortoise” style pace that can be maintained for hours taking great pride in ensuring we all make it to Uhuru peak to watch the sun rise. The porters, who have been balancing 30kg of equipment on their heads everyday whilst practically running up the mountain to make sure camp is set up now help us drink our water with frozen hands and keep our spirits high with songs as we ascend.
The peak itself was a chilly -15 degrees so after the obligatory photos next to the famous sign we descend swiftly to avoid frostbitten fingers.
It did not hit me what I had achieved until the final day when we came into the gate to leave the national park.
The porters and guides gathered and sung to us shaking our hands congratulating us with such enthusiasm and sincerity on the trek that they do dozens of times each year. I wouldn’t be human if the waterworks didn’t appear at that time.
Travelling with 25 people that I hadn’t met before seemed a bit daunting at first but I looked at it that they were friends I didn’t know yet. That was the truth of it and I now feel I have made some lifelong friends and some incredible memories.
Since the trip I have caught up on some sleep and been enjoying home comforts but now have new plans to visit the Atlas mountains in Morocco with Go Ape in June.
So it’s back to Go Ape HQ after an epic few days at the Outdoors Show. With over 1,000 of you riding the World’s longest indoor zip wire, we can only hope that you had as much fun as us! #ZipTrack landed at the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show 13 – 16 February 2014 at the Excel, London, here’s a few key stats: 74 tonnes of wood chip, twin 160m long zip wires, the longest Go Ape Apple Picker ladders at 9.5m and over 1,000 customers.
The tribe enjoyed views of the Outdoors Show from our Go Ape platform 9.5 metres high, experiencing that ‘woodchip in your pants‘ feeling, and getting a taste of a Go Ape adventure. The zip wire was just a snippet of our tree top adventure, but we like to think it got all zip-goers into the Go Ape spirit.
Plus, a peek at what our Gorillas got up to at the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show! Four days wrapped up in two minutes. Watch Now.
Special thanks go to our friends at Capital Garden Products, Rentabar and Akula Furniture for loaning us a fabulous seating area and plants to ensure Go Ape were the stars of the show!