Sunday, 23 November 2014

Challenge Number 11: Go Ape.

This month's challenge was a difficult one to pick because it's not easy to sustain completing a challenge every month for a whole year without running out of ideas. I almost, in a bit of a blind panic, booked myself in to do a bungee jump but chickened out and so Go Ape was chosen as a sort of halfway house. It is admittedly less extreme but I've had a desire to try it out for a while and what is this year all about if not to do things that I've always wanted to do? Exactly.

My favourite challenges so far have been the ones that I've managed to rope other, unsuspecting victims into and this one definitely falls into this category. I managed to convince Ryan to take part with me, which was good for many reasons, not least that he was able to successfully navigate the way to Glentress Forest where the Go Ape trail is situated. Navigation has never been my strong suite you see.

In an unusual stroke of luck the weather today was lovely, if a little cold. This makes a pleasant change because most of the other challenges have been overseen by grey rainclouds and an accompanying bad mood on my part as a result.

We arrived at Go Ape and got ourselves geared up with the necessary safety equipment. Of course, there were the obligatory jokes about whether or not I was tall enough to complete the course and then there was a slight panic when we read the safety disclaimer which claimed that three people had fallen off the course because they hadn't made sure that their clips were properly secured. I have a tendency to forget things frequently, so I didn't really have much faith in myself to remember all the wee clippy things (also called carabiners for the technically inclined). Quite a bit of practicing before heading up to the course put my mind at rest however and we mainly just felt excited to get on with the challenge.

We headed to the start area and the first bit of the course was chaperoned by the Go Ape guide. I think I may have annoyed him a little with my inability to understand the carabiners because he chose me and Ryan as the guinea pigs to tackle the first bit of the course. I climbed the rope ladder up to the course with wobbly legs, made my way across a tightrope and then down a small zip wire.

I'd been confident in my ability to get round the course with minimal fear as I'm not particularly scared of heights (hello: already tackled that). Despite my confidence, when I first got up there it felt a little more nerve racking than I had expected. Once I was pushed off the edge by the guide - clearly I did annoy him - and realised that the harness was more than capable of supporting me, I gained confidence and made it round the rest of the course with ease. Just call me Lara Croft from now on.

The best parts of the course were the zip wires and the Tarzan swings, the second of which entailed quite a drop before the harness kicked in to support me. My screams as I leapt off this obstacle probably indicate that I'm not entirely cut out for bungee jumping.




The last part of the course was the big zip wire across the reservoir. I tried to find out how high this zip wire is but couldn't find the information on the internet. You'll just have to be content with my educated guess which is - pretty bloody high. The photograph doesn't really do it justice as it's much higher once you get out of the hill and through the trees. The video at the bottom (of a random person zipping across probably gives a better idea of the height.





The videos on the blog are pretty rubbish quality but I'll share them on my Facebook if you'd like to have a nosy at the full thing.

Also, just a reminder that all of these challenges are being carried out with the aim to raise money for two wonderful charities. You can donate to Sick Kid's Friend's Foundation or Stroke Association via the hyperlinks. Thank you.

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