Tag Archives: #TakeTheFirstStep

Summer Time In The Forest

Seize Adventure

Don’€™t get us wrong, we’€™re utterly enamoured by the sights, sounds and smells of the forest all year round. Regardless of the weather, season, or time of day, the wonderfully wild woodland always manages to captivate us. Hence why forests are the home to most of Go Ape’€™s Tree Top Adventure courses!

With each season comes new reasons to fall in love with the forest. So, staying topical, here’€™s why you should visit one this summer.

To see and smell the rainbow

Of flowers, that is. Forests aren’€™t just green! The flowers and plants which cover its floor transform it into a multicoloured canvas of pinks, purples, reds, whites, yellow and blues. Says the Woodland Trust, late spring flowering plants like bugle, wild strawberry, herb Robert, pignut, foxglove and lesser stitchwort (most of which sound like something from a J.K. Rowling novel) are joined by the likes of dog rose, enchanter’€™s nightshade and honeysuckle. See them, smell them, lie amongst them!

To seek shelter

Shady spots are in abundance in the forest, particularly during summer when the canopy is extra thick and bushy. This makes the ideal conditions for a morning trek, or maybe even an afternoon of tearing up the trials on a mountain bike. Oh, and let’€™s not forget, the canopy also keeps you nice and shaded while you’€™re busy swinging from tree to tree as you tackle a Tree Top Adventure course with your tribe!

To peer at (and into) a pond or two

Ponds are the ultimate place to spot wildlife, especially during summer. Look out for frogs, newts and tadpoles; pond skaters which skim along the water; and snails and diving beetles, which take regular trips to the surface to catch their breath. Out of the water, you may see dragonflies and damselflies dance in their air; or birds soaring to the water to take their daily bath. One of our favourite spots has to be Cannop Ponds in the Forest of Dean (where you’€™ll also find one of our leafy hideouts!).

To indulge in a mighty feast

Picnics in the park? Overrated! Pack a feast into a wicker hamper and head to the forest, instead! We’€™d highly recommend the New Forest; a beautiful national park encompassing woodlands as well as heathlands and coastlines. The best picnic spots are all along Ornamental Drive; try Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary to enjoy your sarnies next to a herd of fallow deer; or Lepe Country Park where you can watch the ships sail to Southampton as you chow down on your crisps.

To explore it in a brand new way

You’€™ve walked through forests. You’€™ve ran through forests. You’€™ve ridden through forests. So, it’€™s time to explore the forest in a brand new way: by swinging, zipping or rolling through it! Go Ape can be found in some of the Britain’€™s best-loved forests and parks; in 31 locations in fact, meaning there’€™s bound to be a site near you.

If you fancy unleashing your inner Tarzan in the canopy, book one of our Tree Top Adventures for you and your tribe. You’€™ll tackle everything from swings and bridges to tunnels and high ropes, whizzing to the ground after each section via zip wire. Alternatively, you could board a bunch of all-terrain Segways for an hour’€™s worth of exploration; or head to Grizedale forest for a one-of-a-kind Zip Trekking Adventure (just zip, after zip, after zip).

Or (yes, there’€™s more!) come and check out our very latest, forest-themed adventure at Black Park: Nets Kingdom! It’€™s a mighty, netted playground set up high in the trees where you can run amok with your tribe!

Seize adventure with your tribe!

Seize Adventure

Sometimes, it’€™s so easy to get wrapped up in the humdrum of daily life that we forget to stop and appreciate the world around us, as well as the people in it. So, turn away from your screens (okay, well not this one), gather up your tribe and lend us your ear, because life is only worth living when done so adventurously.

Find your tribe

They say that fortune favours the bold, the brave and those bonkers enough to spend their day swinging through the canopy, but what are riches when you have no one to share them with? A sunset isn’€™t half as beautiful when it’€™s just viewed by you alone and even the tallest mountain can feel small with no one beside you.

We humans are social creatures and when we’€re away from our fellows for too long, it can leave us feeling a little lonely. We all want to belong, so Carpe that Diem and stand up from your desk, shake out your body, grab your partner’€™s hand and whatever little monkeys you have and take to the trees! We promise, the combination of fresh air, adrenaline and good company will soon set your heart a-fluttering.

However, if the little monkeys among you are feeling a tad reluctant when it comes to taking flight, remind them that famous world explorers like Marco Polo, Edmund Hillary and Gertrude Bell didn’€™t achieve their wonderful feats alone. Even Neil Armstrong had a whole tribe of helpers over the telecom and in the space shuttle when they went to the moon. It just shows that there can be no jump too high, no zip-line too terrifying or task too hard when you have your tribe by your side.

Go outside

Here at Go Ape, we know that when a tribe gets together, wonderful things can happen. So whether you’ve just turned eight or are a great octogenarian, everyone can benefit from feeling the wind blow through their hair as they whizz down a zip-line! Or, go as slow as you want; take a Segway tour and discover the forest’€™s understory, or amble along the holloways and feel the mud squelch under your toes.

Happiness is the most precious and unique currency on earth, because the more you give, the more you get. So gather up your tribe and invite them outside. Get their hearts pumping and fill their lungs with laughter. For us, being with our tribe feels like warm pudding in our bellies, or like tucking into a delicious slice of banana bread after a long week at Banana HQ. So whatever adventure you choose to embark on, what matters most are the ones you share it with!

Take a deep breath, give your tribe a cuddle and remember always seize adventure!

 

Go Ape Explore Switzerland!

Swiss Expedition
This week and next we have two guest posts from Jo Mclaren who works in operations and recently tackled the Swiss Alps with member of Go Ape from up and down the country, heres their adventure in their words:

“After several months of built up anticipation, it was time to embark on Go Apes first expedition to the Swiss Alps.

The team was made up of 10 staff; Jo Mclaren (Operations), Dan James (Thetford), Tom Matthews (Forest of Dean), Martha Cross (Trent park), Matt Debenham (Alice Holt), Phil Mcfarlane (Cannock), Chris Bills (Sherwood), Natasha Wolley (Whinlatter), Rebecca Devlin (Crawley) and Nick Mallett

(Dalby).

The plan of the expedition was to bring staff working from all over the country together. To unite as one team, and fit as many challenges and experiences that were possible into 6 days.

Day 1

After arriving in Geneva airport, we hired 2 cars, loaded up the expedition bags and drove 3 hours winding our way up the valley to our basecamp in Kandersteg.  We pitched the tents and cooked some wholesome food in preparation for the following days activities.

Day 2 – Gemmi Pass Trek, 2346m

After breakfast, we walked to the bottom of the Sunnelbul cable car station. The first day involved an acclimatisation trek up the Gemmi pass, we ascended around 700m and walked around 13.5 miles. The scenery was awe inspiring and breath taking, the winding trail went through the alpine meadows, past the Spittelmatte plateau working its way past the Daubensee lake to the Gemmi pass. Halfway up the pass we encountered our first patch of snow. This was swiftly followed with people diving in the snow, bare chested for some!), creating snow angels and bum sliding down the slope! Once we reached the top of the pass, the team were all blown away with the views of the Matterhorn in the distance and it made way for a picture postcard picnic stop – wraps and tuna were to become one of our steady diets for lunch each day! Once we descended back down the valley we arrived back at camp around the sociable time of 5.30pm. We then split into smaller groups, to decide who was buying some food in town, preparing food, cooking and washing up. After a great first day, we all enjoyed a tasty curry and went through preparations for the next challenges ahead the following day.

Swiss Expedition 2

Day 3 – Allenalp Via Ferrata and Bunderspitz Summit, 2,546m

After a hearty breakfast, we set off for an early start. We left the campsite at 7.30am and arrived at the bottom of the Allenalp cable car station before walking up past the bottom of an amazing waterfall. The temperature was increasing and the towering rock face above was in the sun. An early start was needed on the Via Ferrata before it became too hot. We had all doused ourselves in sun tan cream, however, as we climbed the imposing walls the sweat from the temperatures meant the cream was dripping into our eyes – which certainly added to the experience! The next 3 hours were spent climbing 500m up an exposed rock face next to a waterfall.

After topping out, we enjoyed some lunch in the shade. Once everyone had refueled, I pointed to the top of the Bunderspitz behind us, we had around 1000m ascent. The sun continued to shine so we walked slowly, slowly up through the alpine meadows which then increased in gradient and steepness. To gain the ridge we used a chain around a rocky slope, past a snow patch to lead up to the summit. The vista at the top of the mountain was amazing, we could even see the mountain hut we would be sleeping in on the following night, looking like it was ‘on a knife edge ridge just above a glacier’. We returned down the valley in time to make the last cable car down. After such a successful day and arriving back to camp around 6.30pm, we had a lovely meal, followed by an early night in preparation for an ascent up to the mountain hut the next day.

Day 4 – 2-day trek, Oeschinensee lake and Blumlisalpe hut, 2,840m

An early morning breakfast was enjoyed by all, followed by taking a local bus to the middle of town. We walked up to the bottom of the cable car and ascended a less steep valley. The walk contained some of the richest of scenery so far, a beautiful climb past a gorgeous green lake with cows pasturing in the meadows below. We snaked up and under the cliffs, traversing on a near-knife edge whilst, scrambling to follow a narrow path. The mountain hut was a beautiful yet quite surreal site. We ate a meal in the hut, watched the sunset over the mountains and neighboring glaciers then settled down for the night in a large team bunk bed – very cozy!

Day 5 – Glacial journey

After a hearty breakfast – (we certainly didn’t starve on this trip), an early start was had. We met up with Manfred, our mountain guide and kitted up with harness, helmet, crampons and ice axes. We walked down to the glacier edge and then roped up. It didn’t take too long before we found out why it was important to be roped up, Natasha’s left leg went down a hole first, followed by birthday girl – Martha, she went down a bigger crevasse, down to her shoulders. It took a team effort to drag her out, however we all felt in safe hands with Manfred. Once we arrived at some more solid ice, Manfred asked for 2 volunteers – Tom and Dan. With the help of some ice screws he showed us how to set up to do a crevasse rescue with Tom dangling on the end of the rope, the rest of the team helped to drag him back up to the belay. We continued to traverse uphill from one glacier dropping back down to another glacier, this allowed us to get real close to looking down some big crevasses that disappeared into the abyss.

In the early afternoon, we made our way back to the hut, a couple of the team members borrowed some kit and climbed a few routes on a crag next door to the glacier. We finished off with a late lunch of tuna wraps for a change and said our goodbyes to ManFred. We headed back down the valley, to try and fit a swim in the lake before the last lift down. Time was a little

short so a couple of the team – Dan, Tom and Matt managed to take a quick dip, we carried on and they sprinted to make the last lift down. A few of the team prepared and cooked an amazing evening meal back at the campsite and we shared all our new experiences over a campfire.

Picture1

Day 6 – Interlaken, White water rafting on the Lutschine river/ropes course

After conquering many fears in the mountains, we got up at 6am, de-camped and had breakfast. We left the kandersteg valley for the last time and drove for an hour over to Interlaken. Now was time for a taste of some white-water fun – we were kitted out in rafting kit then headed up the valley with an arranged mix of nationalities. After some safety training, we entered the glaciated melt water with the Eiger towering in the background. We went straight into the big white water – there was no warm up. We were split over two boats, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and during the grade 1 sections, we could get out the boat and just float down the river.

Once all the adrenalin came to an end we popped out into a large lake, the temperature went from icy water to warm turquoise water, this was a very tranquil way to finish. Once back in Interlaken we popped to the shops to grab some food, then we jumped in the cars and drove to the local ropes course – we had a lovely picnic together in the sunshine, which didn’t involve tuna wraps! Then we spent the next 3 hours in familiar surroundings, using the magnetic clip it system. Although in the trees, it was still hot and the harder routes were quite exhausting and hard which provided many laughs amongst the team.

After another superb day, we headed into Interlaken to the hostel we were booked into for the last night. We walked around the town for a little while then settled on eating food in the bar underneath our hostel. We enjoyed a lovely evening meal, followed by great company for our last evening meal together.

Picture4

Day 7 – Flew back to blighty!”

 

So there you have it, what an amazing feat by all involved – we salute you!

What would your UK outdoor #DreamAdventure be?

Dream Adventure

Here at Banana HQ, we’ve been having a conflab, and if we could enter our #DreamAdventure competition (which we can’t – boo) this is what we’d ask for…

Adventurous marketing exec Jaz would climb Mount Snowdon with her boyfriend. PR gal Poppy would take on a wingwalk (rather her than us!), and our social media man’s dreaming of kitesurfing in Pembrokeshire – go Dan.

Scotland proved to be a popular destination. Boss Anna would paraglide over the Highlands, while copywriter Sarah wishes she could search for whales off the coast of Mull. Work experience guy Josh would also head north of the border, to cycle the outdoor velodrome in Edinburgh (we didn’t even know that was a thing).

All good choices. But unfortunately, as we can’t enter, a total an utter waste. You can enter, though – you lucky thing, you. What would your UK, outdoor #DreamAdventure be?

Head to our website and tell us! There are only six more chances to win!

We’ve got our fingers crossed for you,
The Go Ape Tribe
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