Monthly Archives: July 2016

How to actually enjoy exercise


Our friends at the Forestry Commission share our love of the great outdoors. They also see the forest as the place to explore, enjoy and exercise.  Here’s a guest post written by Joe Walton, Forestry Commission England.

How many unloved gym passes lay dormant after their new year’s resolution-inspired pledges wear thin? How many running shoes go unworn for months after one event? How many health concerns do we ignore just because we don’t enjoy working out?

It’s tough. Health warnings are popping up everywhere we look, and our foods now contain more sugar and fat than we thought possible. We know we should be more healthy, but in real terms that means getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, and two or more days of strength exercise a week according to NHS guidelines.

The problem is, lacing up your shoes and getting out for a run on the busy streets or in a crowded gym can be daunting. As well as having no privacy, there’s no fresh air, and let’s be honest here… it can be pretty dull.

Run Forest Run

Thankfully, we’re not alone in thinking this! Forestry Commission England have recently teamed up with running experts  Run England to try to make exercise enjoyable again by bringing running in the forest to life.

According to Run England research, by committing to small achievable goals, finding a support network or a motivational programme to keep us going, and appreciating the environment we exercise in, we can make exercise enjoyable again (and get healthy doing it).

Personal trainer Clare Darlington recognises this, and has been working closely with the Forestry Commission to help make this easier. Together they have designed an email programme which helps us to take the first steps to get up and running in the forest.

The six week programme titled ‘Run Forest Run’, features videos, advice, exercises and training plans to keep us motivated and inspired as we get into the habit of running in the forest.

Thinking about it, ditching the gym or streets for a forest workout is a straight-up good idea.

Instead of sweaty neighbours at the gym, we’ll be running alongside birds and wildlife, and instead of weaving in and out of traffic, we’ll be whizzing along between the trees. That sounds more like it!

There are also a series of 3, 2, and 1 km running routes across the country to make building up your stamina and strength a little easier, and giving you those achievable goals to stay motivated!

Once you get beyond the hurdles and frustrations which you normally associate with exercise, you get to the core of what it’s really about. No more gym passes or dark streets, just the forest, your feet, and a large dose of endorphins!

Wild Running

After you’ve found your running rhythm, you might start craving something a little more challenging.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to run somewhere a little more free, try one of the longer Wild Running routes. These are a series of the most free, euphoric runs for you to “release your inner wild.” You can download and open the routes in your favourite running app, or print out the route guide and map if you’re going for the old school, tech-free-runner vibe.

So there it is, distance yourself from the places and things which prevent you from really enjoying exercise, and place yourself in inspiring natural environment. Before you know it you will be reaping the rewards of running with a big smile on your face.

Find a healthier, happier you in the forests and #EscapeTheStreets. You can do it!

“Behind the Trees” of our new TV Advert

Go Ape filming TV advert


If you hadn’t already seen, we released a national TV campaign on the 7th July.

We’re encouraging all the men, women and beasts of the UK to #TakeTheFirstStep and visit Go Ape for the very first time. While you can now see the 30 second TV ad in all of it’s glory, there was a lot of work going on off-camera that made it happen. Here’s the “behind the trees” scoop from our first ever TV advert.

When: 24th-25th May 2016

Where: Go Ape Leeds Castle

Who: 13 members of the public, 16 Go Ape staff, 4 actors and a hairy herd of directors.

Preparation for the day

After 14 years of encouraging people to live life adventurously, the advert had a lot to live up to. In order to film this TV campaign, we needed genuine reactions of people experiencing our classic Tree Top Adventure for the very first time. The hunt was afoot… 

Naturally, we called on the most charismatic, fun-loving explorers we knew – the general public! Weeks before shooting, we sent out a message via email, social and the Go Ape website searching for members of the public who have never “gone ape.” We then invited a selection of bushy-tailed newbies up into the trees and filmed them on their first ever Tree Top Adventures.

On the day (queue 2 days of monkeying around on camera)

At 7am on a Tuesday morning in late-May we set off to start filming our very first TV advert. Go Ape at Leeds Castle was our location of choice. The course was closed so we could give our enthusiastic new members of the Tribe exclusive use of the course.

Before being let loose in the trees everyone had to complete a safety brief led by one of our instructors. At this time of the morning, before the sun had really woken up, we saw a lot of makeshift ways of keeping warm including lunges, jump squats, and a unique version of the shuffle.

Once our Tribe were up in the trees, however, nothing could stop them and the fun could really begin. Every single person we recorded on the day had never been to Go Ape before. The reactions we captured were real and raw (while others were just down right funny).

While shots like these were easily captured from the ground (or occasionally a nearby tree), others were a bit trickier to capture. In order to get the beautiful views of the tree-tops and really appreciate the landscapes our wind-in-your-face zip-wires travel over, we needed to go above and beyond – literally. The breath-taking shot of the zip wire crossing over the field was taken using a drone, and allowed us to really capture the wow-factor of our famous zips. Look out the final drone shot in the #TakeTheFirstStep advert.


We want to inspire you to #TakeTheFirstStep

All this hard work combined to make, what we think is, one tree-rific TV advert. Keep an eye out for our ad on the telly over the 6 weeks of summer and follow the #TakeTheFirstStep campaign on our social media channels. Or if you just can’t wait, check out the below:

We’re encouraging people to take their first steps by giving away free tree-time via Twitter and Facebook. Get involved and tell us who you would love to #TakeTheFirstStep with, and live life adventurously together!

From Cannock Chase to Snowdonia


Our Go Ape Cannock tribe made their way from their base at Cannock Chase to the Snowdon hills, all on two wheels! Here, they tell their tale of the uphill struggles, the wrong turns, cycling in 30 degree heat – and the bacon butties!

Into the darkness

Cannock2At 12:15am 4 enthusiastic instructors prepare to set off into the darkness of Cannock Chase for the first of 130ish miles on the way to Wales. Just can’t help wondering how long the smiles will last.

4:45am 50 miles Sunrise – Phil had hidden flapjacks and drinks on the side of the road a few days before. This was our reactions when we found them but it was short lived as the roads from this point on started pointing decidedly upwards rather than flat.

5:50am 69 Miles Llangollen– After a long brutal uphill struggle we made it to Llangollen way ahead of schedule. Communication with the valuable support team began to make sure we were all in the same place at the same time. A slight navigational error on the bike teams part saw us in the same place but on two different roads, a mistake that was quickly rectified with a sharp about turn.

Nearing the bacon butties

6:15am 75 Miles A5 Climbs– The sun and the temperature started to rise as we climbed deep into Wales following the river Dee. The team were starting to feel fatigued and the conversation focused on keeping the team motivated to get as far as the well deserved bacon butties

7:10am 83 Miles Corwen – The sun was up and the mood was lifting as we passed the half way point with legs still feeling good. Temperature was still rising and it was looking to be the hottest day of the year

Cannock17:45am 86 Miles Breakfast Time!!! – The van crew, who were also part of the climb team, provided a massive pick me up to the bikers with bacon butties and coffee at the road side as the cyclists took a well deserved breakfast break. The whole team was regenerated and the cyclists set off again, with the van crew following as we finally got to a downhill part for the long fast decent into Betws-y-coed.

The final climb

12:00pm 130 Miles and an unbreakable bond has been made! The final climb up the Llanberis Pass and arrived to a fan fair of support made by our valuable support team. The importance and significance of the final climb wasn’t lot on the whole team.

The shadow of Snowdon and the increased temperature soon removed the smiles off our faces as the peak of the mountain revealed its self from the clouds.

12:15pm Mt Snowdon. Support team and cyclists combined to tackle the arduous 1085m climb in 30 degree heat. The views were spectacular but fatigue was starting to take its toll on the bikers bodies as the van crew tried their hardest to motivate them for ‘just another hour’.

14:00pm We are nearly at the top but smiling was starting to become a unnecessary waste of energy. For some reason the support team were looking remarkably fresh and helping boost morale but at this point cyclists knees and bodies were beginning to show the signs of a long night

Challenge accepted…Challenge complete.

14 hours 34 minutes
it took GoApe Team Cannock to ride 130 miles and climb 1085m

£1000 raised for The Outward Bound Trust.

A massive thank you needs to be said to the cyclists for being mad enough, the climb/van crew for being so dedicated and for the whole team at Cannock who took part in the bake sale to raise extra cash. Also to Jo Mclaran for making the whole thing so much easier with the supply of the minibus and the deputy manager at go ape Cannock for making sure we had what we needed to make this big challenge possible. Live Life Adventurously.

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go” T.S Elliot

Birthday celebrations from around the world

Go Ape Kids Half Term

When we think of a typical British birthday party, we tend to think of balloons, games, prezzies, and cake smothered with icing and topped with candles.

Did you know that you share your birthday with around 19 million people across the globe? So, as you hover over your cake while desperately trying to think of a wish, other birthday boys and girls will be celebrating turning one year older (and wiser) in very different ways.

Here are some of our favourite birthday customs from around the world – some brilliant, others totally bizarre…

China slurps noodles

In china, ‘longevity’ noodles are served to the birthday boy or girl for lunch. These noodles symbolise long life and are meant to be slurped until the child can slurp no more – then they are bitten. We’re sure table manners like these would have got us told off as kids.

Jamaica makes flour bombs

Forget smothering a cake in icing; in Jamaica, the birthday boy or girl is smothered with flour in a tradition called ‘antiquing.’ Not sure we want this custom to catch on in the UK, though…

Brazil gets its 5-a-day

We’ve heard of parents secretly adding healthy food to kids’ meals, but never this: in Brazil, kids eat sweets shaped like fruit and veg on their birthday! Oh, and they also get their earlobes tugged on – one tug for every year (this stops after childhood, thankfully).

Israel wears the crown

Kids in Israel get treated like royalty on their birthday (the way it should be, right?). Not only do they get to don a crown made from leaves and flowers, but their parents carry them around on a chair decorated with streamers as guests dance and sing around them.

Mexico whacks a horse

…Not literally, of course. Chances are you’ve tried your luck at winning the contents of a sweet-filled piñata in the past; and in terms of its fun factor, it’s definitely up there. Blindfolded kids hurling a heavy object around…what could possibly go wrong?

Germany takes it easy

German kids are lucky, because they’re never given chores or homework to do on their birthday. Parents will often decorate the whole house and instead of a cake, candles are placed in a wooden wreath on the dining room table.

Vietnam waits ‘till New Year’s Day

Everyone in Vietnam celebrates their birthday on New Year’s Day, which the Vietnamese call ‘Tet.’ The actual day people are born isn’t acknowledged at all, meaning if a baby was born in December they’d still turn one on January 1st!

The UK gets to Go Ape!

If you’re celebrating a birthday in the UK, you can swing through the trees, jump off platforms and whizz down zip wires. That is, of course, if you book a birthday party at Go Ape!

Adventurous Kids Birthday Parties

The birthday boy or girl can hang out with their mates on one of our Tree Top Junior courses, where they’ll get to enjoy an hour of canopy exploring, obstacle conquering and trail blazing! To make their day extra special, we offer a range of extras including party bags, a Go Ape t-shirt for the birthday boy or girl, and use of our forest shelter.

Outdoor Birthday Parties Go Ape

Adults can celebrate their birthdays in the forest too, choosing from our award-winning Tree Top Adventure or Forest Segway Experience. If you want to find out more, call one of our tribe today on 0333 355 9416.

Find out more about Go Ape Birthday Parties.

Page 1 of 3123