Sunday, June 14

Go Ape! Click for more info

Nothing quite beats an aerial assault course. Not that I regularly go on them mind, but it was clear that all of us were excited about this afternoon's shenanigans. Everyone wants to be a Tarzan I guess or challenge themselves physically. Of course it goes without saying that more than a few lost their vocal enthusiasm once they had climbed their first ladder, but then only one or two didn't recover after the initial shock of having to traverse various obstacles at such a height.

For those of you who haven't heard of them, Go Ape! run various aerial obstacle courses throughout the UK, each essentially made up of strong wire and then with a liberal helping of swings, traps and ladders putting it all together. The basic layout of the six or so sites at Woburn was to start off climbing a latter, do a couple of rope bridges or plank crossings or the like and then finish off with a zip line back to ground again (the longest here was 156m).

It's all tremendous fun, and that mainly for one reason. No, it's not challenging and overcoming your own mental and physical limitations. And no, it's not even the thrill of swooshing down a zip line at 20mph or so. It's tremendous fun because you get to see your friends crap their pants, especially when they were the same ones boasting about how they were going to carve up the place. That's not to say that there's anything to be afraid of; both the equipment and training were top notch and we were soon all safely juggling our carabiners like we had been doing this kinda stuff for years.

It's pretty good value too - the six sites took us an amazingly lazy 4 hours to get through. I wouldn't say that the experience itself was worth 25 quid but since we all got in on a 2 for 1 offer I wasn't about to complain. Going in a large group (ours was 14 odd) is a mixed affair too; unfortunately you're all too thinly spread to experience it totally together. I'd advise buddying up with someone throughout, if only to get each others backs when attaching and reattaching to the various safety wires.

In conclusion then: Go Ape is a brilliant way to spend half a day, whether you find yourself tested by the experience or not. It's definitely physical, enough to be fun but not too much too overwhelm, and at the end of the day it's worth going just to see your manly mates scream like little girls.

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