Recently we had the opportunity to try out the relatively new Go Ape at Normanby Hall in North Lincolnshire. It is something that Archie had been asking to do for a while, as he loves nothing better than to spend his days climbing trees, so he was especially excited!
After 2 weeks of counting down how many sleeps we had until we went to Go Ape, he woke up raring to go and we met our good friends from Love Happiness Learning, bought ourselves some Go Ape gloves and headed into the woods for our turn in the trees.
The whole experience was made so easy by the staff. From checking in at the hut, to completion, they were all so helpful and we really got the sense that they love their jobs! The course is in the woods, so we did have to walk through the grounds of Normanby Hall to find it, but it is well signposted and we do know our way around, so it was easy to find. One of my concerns had been Archie having to walk across in his harness, but for the junior course, they have everything set up in the woods, so the children don’t have to be in their harnesses for any longer than necessary.
The staff on the junior course explained everything clearly to the children (and us!) and got us all harnessed up, before we did a mini practice course prior to starting. They wrote our start time on our wristbands and we were given an hour. There are 3 courses in the junior section and the children can choose whether or not they do the more challenging courses (course 3 is much higher than the first two), or stick to the ones they feel more comfortable on.
So, we set off up the stairs to the first course. On this course, there is a green wire to hold onto whilst giving you the opportunity to get used to the height. There is no unbuckling of carabiners on any of the junior courses, as once you attached, you stay clipped on until you get to the zip wire at the end of each course. There is an instructor waiting at the zip wire to attach everyone safely, so there is absolutely no fear of anyone falling off the edge.
We whizzed round the first course to be told that during the second course, our green ‘comfort blanket’ wire would not be there anymore. Archie had his first and only wobble at this point, which the instructors quickly picked up on. Rather than stepping in and helping, they quietly shadowed him until they could see that he had gained confidence and was going to be alright. This was just perfect for Archie, as he has a quiet determination and won’t let any challenge beat him, so it would have frustrated him if they had stepped in. He conquered the second course and chose to go up to the final one, which was as high as parts of the adult course and he loved it!
Once we had finished, we were presented with a certificate and sticker and we handed back the harnesses. We took up the full hour doing the three courses, but I’m sure some people may be able to squeeze in a fourth trip round.
Once we had handed everything back, Laura and I had the opportunity to have a turn on the adult course. Again, we couldn’t fault the staff and this time we did a full safety check whilst at the hut and were shown how to fasten ourselves safely onto the different aspects of the course, as our fate was in our own hands this time! This was actually a pretty terrifying thought when stepping off the edge of a Tarzan swing!!
We walked back to the woods with our group and instructor, before another safety talk, a walk through on a low course and zip wire and then we were free to go! We had such a brilliant time going round the adult course and laughed so hard all the way round. It had the perfect amount of challenge and in places we were able to choose which route to take. Each new part of the course had a picture description with a challenge level on it, just to prepare you. It is a great experience to do with friends and it took us much longer than the junior course. The zip wires were also much higher and longer which really added to the experience
One final zipwire and we landed to the applause and much cheering from our husbands and children, before walking back to the hut to hand back our harnesses and collect another certificate!
I would really recommend this as a day out with friends and you get the added bonus of it being in the beautiful grounds of Normanby Hall, where there is so much to do and see for people of all ages. Go Ape is still open for the half term weeks, so why not get yourselves booked in and enjoy this Autumn sunshine!
A few tips:
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are secure on your feet.
- Wear gloves! The ropes can cause friction burn if you are not careful. We hadn’t thought of this, but they do sell gloves at a pretty reasonable price in the hut.
- Leave your bags in the car. The hut is very close to the car park, but the staff did say if necessary, they do have the space to store your bags and belongings.
- Toilets are near the car park, so make sure you make use of them before walking to the course in the woods!
- Bring along spectators! With the course being in the grounds of the Hall, it is possible for people to walk around under the course to watch (and probably laugh at) you.
- Look out for special offers. I have spotted a couple of special offers running, so it’s worth looking out for them.
- Prepare for any weather. Unless stormy, Go Ape will be open, so you will just need to make sure that you dress for the weather!
- I used my phone to take photographs on the way around, so purchased a waterproof lanyard from the hut to pop my phone in, therefore there was no risk of dropping it.
- There are water stations dotted around the adult course, meaning you don’t need to worry about staying hydrated.
- There is a cafe in the grounds of Normanby Hall that has slightly different opening hours depending on the season. Click here to visit the Normanby Hall website.
- Have fun! It really is a lot of fun and once you are secured on, you really can’t fall….so enjoy it!
Hopefully this has been a helpful guide to what a day at Go Ape is like. If you have any further questions, please do get in touch – I love hearing from you!