Friday, 4 July 2014

Tarzan never had this much fun!

When I was a kid Saturday mornings and school holidays were never the same without Johnny Weissmuller's echoing Tarzan call.  I know that probably really shows my age but why not?  I am what I am and hiding it doesn't make me any younger.  Anyway, back to Johnny.  I was mesmerised by the way he swung through the jungle and dreamed one day of being able to do the same thing.  Go Ape in Grizedale didn't give me the chance to do exactly that, but it came very close.

With 3km of zipwire to go at there is plenty to keep you busy for a good 2 hours or more (so do make sure you visit the loo before you strap into your harness!) and being set in the very heart of the Grizedale forest means there's plenty of stunning scenery to admire along the way too.  You won't whiz past all of it on a wire at 30mph, you'll have the time to admire the views at a more sedate pace during the short walks between the launch platforms.  Talking of walking...

The initial hike
After signing in at the Go Ape offices (next to the cafe and kids adventure playground) and covering the essential health & safety stuff you begin the first part of the adventure - a 20 minute walk through the woods to a pair of Land Rovers waiting to take you the rest of the way.  Along the walk it's a great chance to chat to the instructors to learn more of the story behind the wires and the design headaches they had putting it all together.  Or you could put the time to good use by questioning your sanity as fellow flyers zoom by overhead...

The Land Rovers are a welcome sight and carry you the remainder of the way to the start of the trek with the drivers keen to test your knowledge of the Lake District fells that pop into view as you climb higher.  Once at the top the harness donning shenanigans can begin in earnest - possibly the most inelegant part of any high ropes type of activity.  I'll be honest, I've worn more comfortable harnesses, but that could be because they're new.  Having landed from the first flight clutching my groin like an over enthusiastic member of the latest boy band, the instructor made a few useful suggestions and adjustments and I was soon on my way again.

And so to the zipwires - I could try and explain this section in words, but why would I when photos and videos do the job so much better?

View along the final zipwire

I was told that if I curled myself into a ball and made myself smaller I'd go quicker.  Not that I'm competitive or anything, but it did seem to work... :-)

There are some restrictions as to who can take part in the adventure, but that's mainly down to the laws of physics - short people who don't weigh enough just wouldn't have the momentum to get down some of the wires - but all the Ts & Cs and other background info can be found on the Go Ape Grizedale site here along with booking instructions.

They opened to the public on 4th July and are already fully booked for some weekends over the summer, so if you fancy your chance to be Johnny Wiessmuller, or even if you're more of a George of the Jungle fan, best make your booking quick - miss out and you may be driven to this...

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