Like many people over the past 15 months Eva (aged 10) missed out on celebrating her birthday with friends and family when restrictions were still in place. So, Bekah had the brilliant idea of taking her and four friends to Go Ape. Well, I thought it was a brilliant idea until I found out I was the designated adult that would be going up in the trees with them! Good old Gavin (Darcey’s dad) volunteered to get involved, which made me feel better as he is considerably taller than I, so if the harness worked on him, I’d be fine!
Go Ape is a short 40-minute drive away at Sherwood Pines. Sherwood Pines is awesome and I don’t use that word lightly! As well as Go Ape it has:
3 walking trails
3 cycling trails
2 running trails
Bike Park and skills loop
Barbecue and picnic areas (BBQs currently not permitted)
Many of the above activities are free, so all there is to pay is parking which is about £7 for the whole day!
Upon arriving at Go Ape I was instantly filled with an impending sense of doom (it’s high up, really high up), but like most strong, alpha males I pretended I wasn’t scared of heights and showed no fear, hoping my wobbly legs wouldn’t give me away!
After being fitted with a harness and taken through a short tutorial and health & safety demonstration we embarked on our tree top adventure (pun intended). The first course is great and suitable for younger kids and scared adults! We saw the forest from a new, beautiful perspective whilst tackling obstacles, rope bridges and zip wires. It was rather hard to land the zip wire in a graceful manner and Gavin demonstrated perfectly how not to land, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Sorry Gavin!
The second run was a little higher with an increased climbing difficulty, but not too much. The kids had grown in confidence from their first run and couldn’t wait to take on the next one.
Now, the third run is not for the faint hearted, but after completing the first two we were all ready to take on the challenge. As well as the sharp increase in height, it introduced a climbing wall which you had to shimmy across and several tightrope-based challenges. The girls smashed it and Gavin and I loved it, despite bodging the zip wire landing again!
At the start of the day one of our group was a little sacred, but after pushing herself to face her fears, she had conquered them. This got me thinking.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone and the activities such as those at Go Ape are designed to push you out of it. The most dangerous zone a young person can stay in is their comfort zone. The more we encourage children to step out of it; the more resilient an adult they will become and the better equipped they will be to take on life's challenges. It’s never been easier for young people to stay in their comfort zones, in fact, it’s been actively encouraged over the past 15 months. As parents, guardians, grandparents...we must provide our young people with as many opportunities to step out of their comfort zones as possible, because, remember, that’s where life begins!