Living life adventurously at new Go Ape in Coventry
*Sponsored by Go Ape
Outdoor adventure activities in West Midlands
‘Live life adventurously’ is a motto I can live by. For years I’ve had the quote ‘Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted’ on my blog's homepage so having a life filled with new challenges and experiences is something that I seek often. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you’ll know I’m at my happiest when on an adventure and ‘living my best life – adventurously’. So, doing a tandem skydive in Las Vegas, hiking Mount Qingcheng in China, the Montserrat Mountains in Spain and the Grand Canyon in Arizona is up there with my life’s highlights so far.
But to live life adventurously you really don’t need to get on the next plane out of here, you can simply head to one of the UK’s many beautiful forests and live life adventurously with Go Ape by climbing nets, balancing on tight ropes, jumping from treetops and plummeting to the ground from a 12-metre vertical drop all while testing your strength and limits with a physically challenging treetop obstacle course.
To celebrate the launch of the new Go Ape in Coventry I was invited along to the opening day to experience its outdoor adventure activities with my sister. We had done a few physical training courses before but never a treetop experience from above ground level with aerial views, so we were looking forward to creating some fun memories together.
When we arrived at the picturesque Coombe Abbey park, realisation kicked in and we thought ‘oh no what have we let ourselves in for were really not physically fit or mentally prepared to do this’. But as soon as we got fitted into the gear we were pumped up and eager to re-enact our favourite scene from Twilight where Edward Cullen climbs and jumps tree to tree while looking all sexy. I can confirm we climbed trees and did a few jumps, but we certainly didn’t look sexy doing it or have a handsome vampire to support us through it. Instead, we replaced him with a harness that felt like we were wearing a diaper.
Before being let free to experience the park, it's compulsory to have a mini training session with the site instructor who goes through all the do’s and don’ts to keep you safe, such as how to land after a jump etc. We were then shown what to do with a live demonstration. Attached to the harness is a trolley which is what glides you along the zip wire and there’s also a bracket which must be attached and taken on and off as you make your way around each section. It’s all pretty straightforward and simple when you're doing it around the course, but at first, when we were being shown I was thinking that I’ll never remember it all and get stuck somewhere in a tree dangling and have to embarrassingly blow the safety whistle attached to the harness. Thankfully, I surprised myself that didn’t happen.
But to ensure everyone fully understands what to do you do a mini practice session accompanied by the instructor so that they can individually guide you. It was then time to explore the park! My first initial reaction to walking around Go Ape is amazement at how they actually design the course and how everything is connected high up in the trees.
To start you have to connect yourself to your chosen zip line which is at the base of the main tree and then make your way up to the top. Obviously, we started on the easier sections first but after a few, it came to a section where you can choose one of two ways. The hard way or the easy way. Because I was really into it and taking each one in my stride, I took the hard route not really knowing what I was letting myself in for. My sister and a few onlookers were waiting at the section to watch me before being able to use the line and choose their route. I can confirm my sister, and a few people took the easy route after seeing me struggle…
The first difficult section is making your way across to the other side by climbing net to net which is dangling almost 12-metres in the air and moving as your trying to do it. I’ll admit it was strenuous, but I did it.
The next obstacle I had no option but to take on was making my way across by putting my foot into hoops which are connected to a single rope that’s moving all over the place. Because I physically have no upper arm strength and my legs were too short to reach when the hoops moved. I personally found this obstacle the most challenging and thrilling of them all, but I would definitely take the same route when I visit again because it’s great to test your strength and ability and if you’ve given it you're all then you can always ride the zip wire to the end by letting go. But it’s worth testing yourself and accepting the challenge rather than taking the easy route…in life.
The experience is created with differing fitness levels in mind so don’t be put off, I’m unfit but I conquered the course and gave everything a go, so don’t worry. From my personal experience, I would recommend wearing gloves because the rope can rub on some of the more strenuous activities and wear non-slip trainers because I wore Converse which really didn’t help on the hoops and of course comfortable stretchy clothing, not tight black jeans like me.
One valuable lesson I learnt from my visit to Go Ape was that I really need to get fitter by working on my core and upper arms. So, I’m really grateful to have been invited to do the activity of which my sister and I thoroughly enjoyed (including my partner who was below filming and laughing at us all the way through it!). We are all eager to return with a few friends, especially my partner who is very competitive and wants to take on the hoop challenge to ‘show me how its done’.
We loved doing the jumps, I wanted to do them again and again despite being rubbish at landing my feet. The next morning, we were both aching, and I had a few bruises on my upper arm, which is also a sign that I need to get fitter. We enjoyed it so much that were planning on going to the Go Ape at Cannock Chase which is a little closer to home. There are actually a few Go Ape locations in the Midlands , and all over the UK so I totally recommend you get outdoors this season, recruit a few friends and have a different kind of day out by living life adventurously!
Watch my Go Ape experience
If you’ve watched the video and still need more, than check out my Facebook album it’s packed with over 100 photos taken on the day by my poor boyfriend who really wanted to join us having fun in the trees but was handed photography duties instead. Don’t worry he will be experiencing it too on our next visit, I just need to do about 1,345,123 push ups first to beat him on the hoops.
Disclaimer: Paid partnership with Go Ape. All photos and words are my own.