Go Ape in Crawley review: One Thing or a Mother

All of my friends and family know I’m pretty competitive.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 7:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 8:29 pm

I loved PE and team sports at school, played on a netball team in adult life and am even happy to compete against myself, to try to better my 5k running time (PB from pre-kids is 24:50, but I tend to run it at about 26:10 now, in case you’re interested.).

I’m always up for a game of bowling (did you know three strikes in a row is called a turkey? I do, because I’ve got one), mini golf, or I even find playing a board game is fun if there’s an element of challenge or I can try to beat you!

It was this mentality that saw me sign up for the Warrior Run 7k challenge in Albourne, West Sussex, in 2016. A couple of the gym instructors from my old gym had decided to put together a group of us to enter the race. Not being the kind of person who likes to miss out (Hi, I’m Katherine, and I get fomo) and assuming as I had a reasonable level of gym fitness that I’d be great at it, I signed up.

Taking myself out of my comfort zone, trying out all the challenges at Go Ape in Crawley
Taking myself out of my comfort zone, trying out all the challenges at Go Ape in Crawley

We did practice sessions at the gym prior to the challenge, which mainly seemed to see us wheelbarrowing (is that even a word?!) each other around the exercise studio, and doing a lot of burpees.

I was pumped. I was ready. I was going to be amazing. I even entertained the idea that I might come first in my age group...

And then we got there, started the race, and after inelegantly scrambling over a huge cargo net, we turned a corner and they told me to jump into a huge, deep muddy pond/lake and swim across it to the other side.

It was only then that I realised I might just have underestimated the size of the challenge ahead of me.

Taking myself out of my comfort zone, trying out all the challenges at Go Ape in Crawley

We crawled through long, muddy tunnels, repeatedly waded through waist-deep muddy waters, jumped over walls, ran up and down hills, crawled through nets, and tackled dozens of other obstacles.

I did it, but only just. I have never been more exhausted, cold or dirty than when I finished that race!

I hadn’t really felt that same shift in expectations versus reality since. That was until Saturday, when my sister, brother, sister-in-law and I booked to do Go Ape at Tilgate Park in Crawley...

We figured it would be a fun thing to do together and we’d have lovely views of the trees.I just don’t think we’d banked on just how challenging some of the aerial obstacles would be. And quite how high up you’d be at points...

Taking myself out of my comfort zone, trying out all the challenges at Go Ape in Crawley

I’m not scared of heights, but when you’re walking a tightrope at around 40ft in the air, it does make you want to give the challenge your full concentration.

You’re also responsible for attaching and reattaching your safety harness carabiners and pulley whenever you move from one obstacle to the next. Reading the safety waiver which mentions that three people have fallen on the course through not doing this properly makes this no less scary!

But tummy butterflies aside, it was such good fun. Once I’d got over the initial nerves, I was actually able to relax into it and really enjoyed it. It’s good to be pushed outside of your comfort zone sometimes. Especially after a year of working from home, where the most dangerous part of my day has involved trying not to burn myself while making my lunchtime panini.

Tilgate Park also offers a children’s version of Go Ape, which my daughter is very keen to try, so we might find ourselves back there fairly soon to try it out. If so, I’m sure you’ll be able to read about it here!

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