It terrified me, but I think I’ve found my inner gorilla

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Ashley Harley

So surely an invitation to Go Ape at the Itchen Valley Country Park would be a, well, walk in the park.

I certainly felt proud to have completed the whole course, even if I did end up with my pants full of bark chippings.

I immediately accepted, not quite knowing entirely what it involved other than climbing up a few trees.

I decided to drag along my girlie pal Claire for moral support, plus I thought it would be much more fun with two.

On arrival we were met by our friendly instructor Jacob, who helped us step into the safety harnesses.

That proved to be a real giggle, as he pulled it tight round my nether regions causing me to blush profusely.

We then had a briefing on how it all worked and had to sign a disclaimer to say that if we were silly enough not to listen to the safety instructions, then if something happened it was our foolish fault.

At that point I think my legs turned to jelly.

They were a mixed bag in our group, including a ‘silverback’ and a few ‘baboons’.

Jacob told me that the oldest ‘gorilla’ he had ever instructed at Go Ape was an 85-year-old!

There were five trails, involving going up ladders, crossing rope bridges and going across ravines on Tarzan swings.

This last bit is the hardest as you come down really fast and crash into a cargo net, which you then have to haul yourself up.

The most frightening but exhilarating part is going down the zip wires at break-neck speed and viewing the world from the tops of the trees.

The scenery is stunning, if you can manage to keep your eyes open!

On a practical note, I was glad I had two bras on because on the monkey bars I needed the extra support!

Despite feeling somewhat terrified most of the time, looking back I really did enjoy the experience.

It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, but in the process I think I may have found my ‘inner gorilla’.

I certainly felt proud to have completed the whole course, even if I did end up with my pants full of bark chippings.