Last weekend Zak and I were invited to do a Go Ape review of their tree top adventure course at Rivington, Lancashire. Zak has just turned 11 and I have been looking for a whole new set of activities that we can do together. Petting zoo’s, trips to the park, soft play and all those typical things you do with younger children are very firmly OUT and have been for quite some time so I was excited to be asked by Go Ape to review their course. We have done something similar once before so I knew that it would be something he would absolutely love and also a bit of a birthday treat.
Saturday morning rolled round bright, crisp and sunny and we excitedly set off on the 45 minute journey to Rivington. Rivington is such a beautiful setting, nestled at the foot of Winter Hill and right next to a reservoir in the heart of Lancashire. We actually know the area pretty well as there are some brilliant walks for all abilities, mountain biking for the more adventurous as well as those gorgeous views. It’s worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.
If we hadn’t known where we were going then I think we might have got lost as it’s not well signposted in my opinion. However once you do arrive there is plenty of free parking, a café and toilet facilities. The staff in the Go Ape cabin were really welcoming, friendly and most importantly reassuring because by this point I think both Zak and I were feeling pretty nervous! They gave us a bit of paperwork to read and sign which was slightly disconcerting when it gave warnings about fatal accidents!! It’s all precautionary though because the staff take great care to help you go round the course safely and securely. Phew!
After signing the obligatory paperwork we said goodbye to Shaun and Sophie who went off on a lovely walk around the course. It’s worth noting that there are plenty of areas to explore if you are with little ones and they had a lovely few hours in the fresh air.
Go Ape courses are only for children from the age of 10 upwards (there’s a reason for that!). An instructor helped us into our harnesses and then there was a really thorough safety demonstration. I don’t think I’d realised that we would be going round the course alone and that came as a bit of a shock but the reality of it wasn’t daunting at all once you got into the swing of things (no pun intended).
The whole course took us about three hours from the beginning of the safety demonstration (which took around 30 mins) until landing safely back on our feet again. You can watch how we got on in the tree tops as I bravely attempted to vlog the whole thing whilst clinging on to the trees!
I will admit that although I’ve been known to be a bit of a daredevil at times, I was actually afraid when climbing up the first rope ladder. You’ll see in the video that Zak went first and that’s because the rules dictate that children have to go first. Adults have sole responsibility for any under 16’s who are with you and you have to see that they successfully navigate it before getting across yourself. I basically had an major internal wobble when I got to the top of the first tree and actually contemplated going back down because I was so scared. The only reason that I sucked it up and put on a brave face was for Zak. He was so at home up there and so excited to be doing this – just like a little monkey! I just couldn’t have disappointed him like that. The things we do for our kids hey! After the first section though, my nerves calmed a bit. You can’t tell how nervous I was I don’t think? At least I hope not and we did have a really fun time. Here’s a few pictures of our time at Go Ape.
There was a point about half way round that we got a bit stuck. One of Zak’s clips got jammed and he couldn’t go up or down. It was at a pretty high point and he had a bit of a wobble understandably! Help was at hand though as there was an instructor patrolling below us and it only took her a few minutes to climb up, sort him out and send us on our way again. This was the point that Zak got stuck in the picture below. Pretty high I’m sure you’ll agree!
I think for both of us the most memorable part of the course was the massive 198m zipwire that comes out over the top of Rivington Reservoir. The zipwires and tarzan swings were the highlight of the course but this one was just so incredible – a bit like flying! Here’s Zak doing his best Bear Grylls impression.
All in all we had a magic few hours together in the tree tops of Go Ape. The best part of all was getting to spend that one on one time with Zak. We challenged each other, worked as a team and overcame our fears together and that serves as a brilliant bonding experience. We can’t wait to return to another Go Ape review again very soon.
A massive thank you to Go Ape for arranging such a brilliant day out for us! If you fancy doing something similar with your older kids then you can read everything you need to know at the Go Ape! Website