Cambridge Centre bravely tackle a tree-top assault course...
In the heart of Thetford forest, in the East of England, hangs a trail of ropes, nets and obstacles suspended 15 metres above the forest floor which goes by the collective name of ‘Go Ape’. Cambridge Sri Chinmoy Centre and friends recently went along for a day of clambering over treetop obstacles and gazing down tentatively from the not insubstantial heights.
First of all we were fitted with harnesses and given a safety talk and a lesson on how to use the climbing equipment. We learnt that we would have two clips (called ‘carabiners’) and a pulley system attached to our harness. As soon as we left the ground we would always be clipped onto a safety rope system. As we had two different carabiners, which could independently support our weight, we must always move them one at a time, taking care that the other was secure. And so we would always be safe. Hurrah!
Over the next three hours we negotiated an increasingly awkward series of obstacles up in the treetops. We crawled through wooden cylinders suspended in the air; we swung on Tarzan-style ropes and collided with cargo nets which we had to clamber up and across. There were different kinds of rope bridges and tightropes, and trapezes which had to be traversed whilst they swung around erratically. The course was separated into five portions, each one reached by a long climb up a rope ladder, and from which you descended by means of a zip wire.
The zip wire landings were always quite exciting since one would usually descend facing backwards or sideward and crash unceremoniously into a pile of woodchips provided for the purpose. Just occasionally somebody would land elegantly on their feet, but mostly we ended up lying on the ground, soaked to the skin and covered in mud from our soggy woodchip ‘bath’. Lovely!
We have differing opinions as to whether we will go back to Go Ape, or visit another of the Go Ape sites around the UK, but everyone seemed to have had an enjoyable and memorable day in the forest. It was great to be out in the fresh air together and to have fun in such a simple and spontaneous way. Now we’re looking forward to our next day out, which may just be something a little more sedate."
See more photos of Cambridge Centre having fun.