There were those who said it would never happen, that it was a hair-brained scheme and an act of complete lunacy …. but, in the truest sense of ‘Living Life Adventurously’, JAMIE PUT A BANANA & MONKEY INTO SPACE! Ok, not a real monkey, and not outer space, but surely an amazing feat of engineering and ape courage. This is how it happened……
Preparation started weeks before, designing a lightweight ring and casing for a couple of cameras and trackers to protect them from the cold and what would be a rough landing. Far from worrying about a deflating banana, this one was filled with polystyrene balls to prevent an epic fruity explosion. Less care was given to Monkey who was dispatched in only a tee shirt despite the minus 50 temperature. With payload and lift finely balanced the balloon was launched at 14.10 on 12th September 2014 to the cheers of the assembled spectators and Gorilla Astronaut Beth. Flying through the clouds and into space at 4m/s Monkey managed to keep a smile on his face throughout and, even when the weather balloon burst 32km up, he managed to wave at the cameras as he hurtled back to earth under a parachute. Thanks to some accurate flight path predictions (courtesy of Cambridge University) and the tracking devises the Banana & Monkey Recovery Team managed a speedy retrieval somewhere in a field in Lincolnshire. And the video footage? Extraordinary!
TAKE A LOOK AT THE VIDEO HERE: Go Ape in Space
Helicopter – been there. Hot air balloon – done that. Boeing737 – got the tee shirt! But there were still aeronautical ‘firsts’ to be had and, thanks to the generosity of Capt. Martin Temple and his gyrocopter, our gorilla took off into the blue yet again. The small matter of getting from Dalby to the air strip was solved by more pedalling, this time 25 miles up very steep hills. Once airborne and travelling at 100mph, it must have been downhill all the way for the cyclists who not only kept up but were at the landing site to greet our hairy friend 88 miles later! And so it was that Seb & Craig collected the banana and took it on to Sherwood in preparation for its most extraordinary journey yet.
When it comes to bridges Newcastle isn’t in short supply. It’s not just the city’s Metro, Swing and Millennium that are famous. Their replicas on Site 4 at GoApe Matfen are worth a visit. The journey began however on Site 2 with our very own aerial circus stunt girl Natalie performing some impressive and very bendy moves with a banana! Unfortunately, whilst the fruit was swinging from the trees our gorilla was taken hostage by the Turboventure gang and subjected to a terrifying sortie in an armoured truck. Finally managing to escape the hairy beast set off for the real bridges with banana in tow, crossing them all on train, foot and super-high stilts. It was then the turn of the cyclists. 90 miles over the Moors was a doddle after pushing their way through the throngs of the Great North Run and Jon, Adam and Sam were very grateful for the refuelling reception that awaited them at Dalby before heading home over the hills.
Big Thanks to Turboventures and Soul Elevation for supporting The Big Banana Relay.
Having already been transported by bike, trike and unicycle the tribe at Peebles were left scratching their heads in an attempt to dream up an original way to carry the banana south. After all, this is Glentress – home of national mountain biking. Fortunately Gardener Gorilla came to the rescue with his trusty wheelbarrow, and so it was that the fruit made its way to the top of the World Enduro Course. For already damaged goods what followed was a terrifying ordeal with ‘mashed banana’ written all over it. But, thanks to the bike handling skills of the team, it survived only to undergo the rather deflating experience of 84 miles on tarmac. Looking wistfully on at the piper’s impressive air bag the banana crossed the border.
Thanks Scotland, you did the Banana Relay proud.
Please show your support at justgiving.com/GoApePeebles