I’m not going to lie, me and heights don’t have the best relationship. Go Ape was always something I have wanted to try, but wrote off as being too scary. If I don’t like walking over a bridge or a pier, how am I supposed to swing through the forest? As their website states, Go Ape is apparently a good place to get over your fear of heights, though skeptical, I gave it a go. I can confirm that not once did I think I was going to fall to my death.
Before you are even allowed to leave the ground, you are fitted into your harness by a trained instructor. The instructor then talks you through how to use the harness and clips, letting you have a practice run before getting on the real thing. After you leave the practice area, you are fully responsible for your own safety when it comes to working the harness and using it correctly. However, if you are in any trouble, there will always be instructors in each site to help. You are also given and emergency whistle if you are really in trouble, in which case the instructors will drop everything to help you.
How to Get There
Go Ape Aberfoyle is located in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Driving from Glasgow is about an hour, from Edinburgh about an hour and a half. I’m not the most confident driver, and was met with some road closures on the way, so if you aren’t sure of country roads I’d give yourself plenty of travel time in case , like us, you get lost.
If using public transport, you can get the train to Stirling and then a bus out to Aberfoyle and just walk up to the visitor centre where you sign in.
Once you arrive you are given a safety leaflet to read over, highlighting all the rules to follow while on the course. When you are happy you understand, you can sign in. That is when you are taken over to the training area to get fitted for your harness and have a go on the practice lines. There are signs on every platform on every course reminding you so always be secured to something. As I said before, once you are on the course, it’s you responsibility to keep yourself safe.
Tree Top Adventure
To begin your Go Ape experience, you have to zip line over 400 metres long, flying 120ft above the ground over ancient tree tops. If that doesn’t get your adrenaline going, I don’t know what will! You are then free to make your way through the five sites at your own pace. Each site has an option of two routes. You can also chose if you want to do the easier or more difficult obstacles in some places.
The course itself takes about 2-3 hours to complete. It is made up of 30 crossings ranging from easy to extreme. Tarzan Swing, Button Crossings, Balance Beams, Log Swings and even a skateboard zip wire! Each site ends with an exhilarating zip wire to the forest floor. I challenge you to try to land on your feet and not flat on your back like I did every time!
Know Before You Go
- Wear comfortable clothing and prepare for all weathers. Footwear must be sturdy with good grip. No heels, sandals or open toe shoes.
- If midges annoy you, remember this is Scotland. Bring some bug spray to keep them at bay.
- Any cameras or phones must be either attached to you at all times or in a secure zip pocket. They do not allow bags on the course, so only bring what you need and leave the rest in your car. They do offer some lockers, but these are subject to availability.
- Book in advance to avoid disappointment. Go Ape is incredibly popular so it’s very possible that if you just rock up on the day, you might not get a spot.
- Go Ape operates during all weather, so if your worried about it closing for the rain, don’t be! It may actually be a bit more fun if it’s slippery. An extra challenge for you.
The end your tree top adventure you zip back across the valley to your starting point on one of the longest zip lines in Scotland at 426 metres. I found this zip to be quite relaxing actually. The view looking out over Queen Elizabeth Forest Park is absolutely stunning. It’s an amazing end to an adrenaline full day. At only £33 per adult and £25 for kids, I would definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone!. You can check out their website here if you are interested.
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Go Ape Aberfoyle invited me along to try their course but, as always, all opinions are my own.
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