Swinging through the tree tops, walking a tight rope and taking a leap of faith… Go Ape Whinlatter offers the ultimate tree top adventure for anyone. If you love the great outdoors and a healthy dose of calculated risk, then this experience in the English Lake District is for you.
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Table of Contents
What Is Go Ape?
Go Ape is the most well established high ropes and forest adventure company in the United Kingdom. I have been to go ape a few times now; once with friends, once on a team building trip with work and another with family.
What To Expect At Go Ape And How To Book?
You should arrive early to use the toilet, check in and give yourself time to get your harness etc. The routes take between 1-3 hours depending on the location and chosen activity. But you wont be rushed around the courses.
First thing you will need to prebook. In the U.K especially when you get further north the weather is unpredictable, meaning that there may be occasions even in summer when your high ropes booking may just have to be cancelled and rearranged. This makes it increasingly more difficult to book last minute and dam near impossible to rock up and expect there to be space.
The pricing of go ape is cheaper going direct than trying to book elsewhere. Trust me i’ve tried many and either found the same price or more. When you arrive you may be able to add on one of the smaller additional activities for cheaper such as the plummet or extra Zipline if they have space.
What to Bring or Wear To Go Ape?
- You don’t need hiking boots but as you can see I wore trainers on my first trip to go ape and regretted not wearing shoes with better grip.
- I wore trail shoes on my second trip and this was a lot better when the ladders get a bit muddy and slippy. I’d advise trail shoes or something similar that give you grip and freedom of movement.
- I would recommend a lightweight waterproof jacket. One suitable for the outdoors as you will get mud all over.
- Besides that just wear something practical that you can move in..
- Nothing too baggy that will catch either (not too much of an issue but annoying on the ladders etc). I saw a lady getting her jacket caught a few times that wasn’t zipped up and looked a few sizes big for her.
- You may want to use a good pair of gloves that fit well if you are like to get blisters (but make sure they are good quality and fit properly or it will just become awkward).
- If you take your phone or camera, get it securely attached or in a zip pocket and don’t use it at stupid times. Wait till you get to a platform and check for people behind you so you aren’t holding them up.
- There are cafe’s on each site but you may want to bring food with you. If this is the case you will need to eat outside (and don’t forget to put your rubbish away).
- There will be toilets on site.
My Recent Experience at Go Ape Whinlatter
Last week I went to whinlatter, an area of the north lake district that is heavily forested and great for hiking or mountain biking. This is also close to Keswick, Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite if you want to make a day trip from there. We drove up from Blackpool.
I have to say I am very impressed with Whinlatter. Following the pandemic there have been a number of experiences we have booked that have been cancelled due to double bookings, government emergency closures etc. Whinlatter dealt with a couple of hiccups we had booking elsewhere and were more than accomodating. They truley went out of their way to make sure we had everything sorted for the group.
There are 5 courses like the one above that weave in and out of the trees with rope ladders, walk ways, zip lines and tarzan swings. Each course gets a little harder than the last in both height and the challenge in balance. On site there are toilets, a fantastic cafe and takeway (that has amazing homemade cakes and hot chocolates) along with parks for family members that may not want to swing from the trees.
I got some video footage from our recent trip to go ape but it was mainly on my phone. I’ll put together some of the clips and pop it on our youtube channel. It was very muggy and didn’t feel comfortable wearing any thicker clothing.
- Cost: £25.00
- Duration: It should take up to 2/3 hours. It took us over 3 hours to complete all 5 courses (we had a break after a few due to a young family in front taking a bit longer and having a child who was very scared), we wanted to give them time to get ahead without pressure of others following too close.
- Segways also available to hire here for £35.00
- If you would like to book Go Ape Whinlatter it is best to book direct click here
I should note that I used to be terrified of heights (to the point where I wouldn’t even sleep on a top bunk at 16 years old). I was very fortunate some friends pushed me to try activities at height including climbing and i’ve fallen in love with the acheivement of doing anything at height. Even during this go ape course, I found it scary and shook a lot. I even skipped one of the swings and chose the alternative swinging rope ladders after psyching myself out.
Health & Safety Points
Safety is paramount and they take it very seriously. I have mentioned before, despite my love for adventure I am terrified of heights, but I do get a kick out of adrenaline. Due to this fear which used to be a full on phobia, I find myself scanning all the set up, equipment and the staff for how they approach the safety. Having worked in this industry previously (at an outdoor centre) and regularly taking part in rock and ice climbing I am familiar and confident with the knots and equipment. So I appreciate all the little things they do to ensure this and the briefing given to participants.
You are always clipped in, even when transitioning from one section to another, you never unclip both (one at a time).
- There are staff and surveillance in the trees and at check points.
- You will be reminded if you ignore the safety and potentially removed if that continues.
- The equipment and set up is regularly checked, tested and serviced in line with stringent guidelines.
- The U.K takes health and safety very seriously.
What Other Activities Do They Offer At Go Ape
There is a choice of 34 locations around the United Kingdom (they are also opening more locations soon). The locations are always accessible and close to or near either national parks or declared Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Because of this, Go Ape can be the perfect add on to a weekend away in the great outdoors or a short day trip from the cities.
My experiences include my recent trip to Whinlatter (2021), a trip from 2009 at Rivington Pike in Lancashire, England and Grizedale Forest in Cumbria, England (2013). I also revisited both Grizedale and Rivington pike in 2022 (Rivington was part of my Hen Do).
Each site offers slightly different activities, but they all have a high ropes course at the heart of their operation. Depending on the site you chose, You can try one of the following:
- Treetop adventures and challenges
- Axe throwing
- Zip line experiences (including a sun down zip)
- The Plummet
- Speed Climbing Walls
Prices are approx £23 – £35 with combo’s costing more and plummet costing just £5.00.
They also accomodate groups for team building, birthdays and hen/stag do’s (bachelorette/bachelor parties) – Click here to find out more