Bear Grylls High Ropes Review
The high ropes were the first thing we saw as we entered the attraction. At 65ft tall it was taller than the Bear Grylls Adventure centre itself, it towered over us. Our eyes shifted at each other and nervously laughed, what were we about to do? *hand over face*. We were already predicting how high we could get to, who would be the quickest and who wouldn’t make it past the first set of ropes - which were pretty high already may I add.
We were greeted, prepped and given an informative chat about the harnesses, general information and health and safety. We were allowed nothing in our pockets like phones, wallets etc... and no jewelry, which we all put in our lockers. Our energetic and friendly instructors picked out our harnesses, gave us a demo of how to put them on and oversaw all of us individually to make sure we were doing it correctly. They all gave us 2 checks, tugging on our harnesses, checking they were tight and comfortable enough for us.
When we walked out, drastic adventure music boomed as if we were in an action film at the beginning of our quest. We all giggled nervously as our harness’ were clipped to us and connected to the metal rod/slat above us, which would follow us round on the rope circuit and keep us from falling off. Dan went first, energetic and raring to go, then James,cool as cucumber, Isobel - smiling nervously, myself trying not to think about it too much, Jay, perhaps the most nervous with a big phobia of heights and Eloise who was also scared of heights, which became more apparent as she climbed the steps up to the first level of ropes.
I was taking the ‘absent minded’ approach, it would be fun and scary but I was pretty confident I wouldn't crack under the pressure if I just didn’t think about it too much. How challenging could it really be? After all, we had harnesses, it would be fine!
After I crossed the first rope on the first level I felt fine as it was a wooden bridge - very stable, easy peasy! Then I moved to the second, feeling confident, until I realised my arm was too short to grab the rope *cries* (for context, I’m 5”3). I needed to support my first step by holding something but I just couldn’t reach it. I looked down, looked at the rest of my teammates who were whizzing past me and scattered around different parts of the course. Jay for example, who was the initial scared-of-heights person in the group, was completing each set of ropes quickly without the initial fear he had in the beginning. My legs lost complete feeling at first, then they started shaking and I was convinced I couldn’t make the first step out. Each level was timed at 10 minutes, and I had to decide quickly whether to go for it or whether to quit after the second hurdle, which I didn’t want to do.
My teammates cheered me on as they stood on the other side of the ropes after pushing past the literal and mental obstacles to get where they were. The instructor/supervisor told me to lean into my harness for extra support and balance if I were to only have one arm available, so I could make the first step onto the two pieces of rope. I shakily put my first foot forward and edged quickly, reaching for the higher rope. My breathing was incredibly heavy, as I watched my foot placement on the rope that was roughly 20ft+ high above the ground.
As soon as I got balance and a firm grip, I let go of my harness and clung to the ropes. I was relieved, I felt as if all the blood in my body had rushed to my cheeks. I suddenly felt an internal shift from fearful and defiant that I couldn't make the first step to energised and eager. This one small obstacle I overcame gave me a boost and a relentless desire to make it to the end of the rope and to the top of the high ropes. I was excited to take on every new challenge and it set the tone for the rest of my experience at the centre.
The next obstacle we couldn’t see but felt, was the wind. As we got to the middle level the wind picked up more which made the obstacle course a little harder to and a little slower to navigate through - for me anyway. With each small gale of wind my jaw clenched and grip tightened. When it passed I moved quickly. It’s important to mention not all obstacles were really difficult, some were solid bridge type walkways, others were rope with wooden squares and some were topsy turvy - which I did not enjoy because my trainers kept slipping on them - damn you clean trainers! The more difficult obstacles were the set of ropes that had limited things to hold onto or that were really spaced out. It made it harder to judge where you had to place your feet and you are left thinking, do I A: just do it as quickly as possible and not think too much or B: do I spend time mapping out a strategy. You can also choose the obstacles you walk round on, no one has to do the same course if one set looks too hard for you.
When we all got to the top of the 65ft structure, I looked over the tops of neighbouring buildings and laughed with my teammates, we did it! With every push, every course of ropes got easier, completed quicker and improved my general confidence. It was truly fascinating to witness the change in myself once I pushed myself outside my own pre-set boundaries and underestimated abilities. I know my teammates felt the same way, especially James and Dan who attempted the rolling log which had barely any support, moved with the slightest touch and only had a few material loops scattered above to hold. Even now a week later I still can’t work out how they got across, it seemed impossible. We posed at the top throwing a few peace signs and ear to ear smiles to the camera. It truly was an unforgettable and character building experience and the sense of adventure was ever present.
This activity would be great for families with kids 9+, groups of friends, work colleagues, school trips - to be honest, everyone would love this. Even if you don’t think it’s your type of thing, activities like the high ropes you should 100% give it a go. Whether it's to see how far you can push yourself or if it's to have a laugh and a joke at the awkward lunges and nervous squeals of your friends/family members, it is so worth doing. I found the process extremely funny and also exhilarating. It has left me with a hunger to take on more adventure based activities as it's so different and refreshing from normal everyday life/outings. 10/10 experience!