MY fearless ten-year-old daughter Hope and I have travelled to the Scottish Borders to try the Go Ape obstacle course at Glentress.
When booking online adults aged 16 and older are nicknamed gorillas, and those aged 10 to 15 are referred to as baboons. This might be why I can’t get David Attenborough’s dulcet tones out of my head.
There are 29 Go Ape courses spread across the country. Three are in Scotland; Go Ape, Aberfoyle, is located in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, and features two of Britain’s longest zip wires, stretching over 400m, one over a 27-metre waterfall, whilst Go Ape Peebles boasts the highest zip wire in the country, where you can zoom around 48 metres above the Glentress forest ponds. The other is based at the historic Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire.
Although I have been before, it’s great to get a refresher course on the safety measures, which will keep you secure up in the heights. You must be harnessed and attached to safety loops at all times. Only then you can head to the heights, via a rope ladder to a wooden platform where you attach a blue medal cradle to a high tensile steel wire and teeter off along a tightrope. Then you zoom down a zip wire to land gracefully on a soft bed of wood chips. Well that’s the theory. I decide to adopt a full body landing stance, which has the added bonus of collecting wood chips in places I would never have expected.
However, the first challenge has been successfully completed and my nerves abate slightly as we head onwards and upwards, giggling nervously as we go.
Intermittently, high above us, the quiet of the forest is disturbed by fellow Go Apers screaming as they hurtle across the various zip wires.
I confess I’ve blanked out the exact details of the obstacles we navigated. There were definitely ladders, wires, trapeze rings, wobbly tunnels, wooden boards and a skateboard attached to a wire. There were a couple of times when Hope had to reassure me. Who is the adult, I wonder, as she talks me through a particularly scary drop into a cargo net. “Don’t be scared mum, remember the programme we watched about the Papua New Guinea tribe collecting wild honey in trees, risking death by bee stings or falling, it’s just like...” “That’s not helping, Hope,” I squawk, as I pluck up the courage to fling myself off the platform. The instructions we had been given, to bounce once into the net before grabbing tight and climbing upwards to the next platform, ring in my ears. Relieved, I make it across in one piece.
The most terrifying challenge is the highest, enclosed within a locked palisade. At the top, Hope has a bit of a wobble waiting to be given the radio signal that it’s safe to go. “Can I get a hug?” Thus reassured, she launches herself off grinning from ear to ear, flying through the air at a tremendous speed. Then it’s my turn to take in the scenic views, as I sail over the pond to land on terra firma. Our outdoor adventure is over, but I think I might be able to pluck up the courage to get back out there with my brave baboon sometime soon.
• Go Ape prices range from £33 for a gorilla (aged 16 and over) to £25 for a baboon (aged 10 to 15). www.goape.co.uk