Here 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.
And 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.”