GS Go Ape in the Forest

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A simple team building exercise devised by Rachel and Richard – take a drive to Delamere Forest, pitch a few tents, cook food, ride two wheelers, climb a few trees and complete a ‘pub’ quiz.  What could go wrong? Well, the rules of engagement said fancy dress was the order of the day and the views from the trees would be truly spectacular – but only if you liked heights and standing on rope bridges too many feet above the forest floor.


Kipling never envisioned the jungle book look swinging through the trees of Delamere ….  (from left back row) Niels, Richard, Stuart, Lewis, Andrew (front row) Rachel, Mike and Ann.  Niels says being dressed as a tiger certainly entertained the other guests at Go Ape. Mum, why is that man dressed as a tiger? Keep walking sonny. Keep walking.


Richard was a born natural but lost points for style and not wearing fancy dress. Niels watches and thinks he’s making it look too easy. The BBQ will test him later.


Thelma was worried about spiders in the camp – plunging from the high wire in front of an expectant audience was not a problem. In the slightest.


Large cats were not built for climbing high trees as Niels discovers. Everyone was afraid of heights, some more than others, he said afterwards. Thelma looks on and yells encouragement. “Don’t look down.”  Don’t worry Thelma. He’s not. Now he’s got the hang of it.



Ann was another with an instinctive fear of heights – until push came to shove and she took to it like a frog to water…


Stuart found time to sing a song or two – auditioning for the next series of the Voice.


Mike found it pretty easy going too – this clips here, that clips there – how come that same logic doesn’t apply on the golf course?? Different swings Mike. Different swings.



Richard wins back lots of points for looking incredibly at ease.


Pete disguises himself beautifully in the forest safe in the knowledge he has his pub quiz up his sleeve for later on. We don’t score very highly on general knowledge, pop music and sport apparently.


The course had four levels. They got higher and more challenging each time the team completed a circuit. After this riding segways (two wheel scooter type machines with motors and joystick steering) would be really easy. Course it would.


Look no hands needed (from left): Pete, Ann, Mike and Lewis display a remarkable confidence or incredible stoicism before tackling the unknown. Pete and Ann both fell later… pride took a fall too but they were both OK apart from the odd bump or bruise.


The Tiger in front by a short neck but Richard is on his tail and has that steely-eyed look…..


….But neither know Ann has them both in her eyeline….


Andrew Elliott filmed a great video showing the highlights of the day. You can watch it on FACEBOOK here. He was less successful initially at building the BBQ – but despite losing one of the bolts, he managed to complete the task. Knowing he faced endless ribbing from hungry teammates for the rest of the evening probably inspired him. We won’t mention leaving early in the morning because of the cold Andrew?? Our secret.


BBQ up and running and Richard took over cooking duties (he is a former operator after all) and ensured everyone was well fed – and everyone contributed to the food festival including washing up.


While Richard cooked, Stuart emulated Usain Bolt while Mike looks on thinking OK Stu you were fast through the trees but not that fast – and not as fast as me. Shame there are no prizes for zipping around. However, there was an awards ceremony (and all the winners would dearly love to thank their parents, partners, colleagues, peers, clients etc)….


Rachel won the award for being the most enthusiastic member of staff….


Richard won the grumpiest (but notice how the award was handed out AFTER the food was cooked and eaten. Crafty aren’t they?).


And Lewis won the funniest team member… He’s the youngest at GS – joined us an apprentice and has done really well – a great team player too… even when his team employ the local badgers to untie a few ropes and remove a few tent pegs… He sleeps through it all. Must have been a great dream!



Stuart could have won the award for the fastest through the trees, the best fancy dress outfit and the best Usain Bolt impression….but in fact collected the most helpful team member award from his colleagues. He’s also put together a great video you can watch on Facebook.


Are we safe at night in the tents from the spiders….? Mike, Lewis, Rachel, Pete, Andy (sadly injured after a bike acrobatics accident a couple of weeks ago) and Thelma ponder the coming darkness and the arrival of our eight legged friends. I think if you were a spider this lot staring down at you would put you off getting too close….?


Thanks  to everyone at Go Ape for giving us such a great experience. For Richard and Rachel for organising everything. And for everyone else for entering into the spirit of the occasion. As Niels said, several of the team had never been camping before – and will never go again.

Find out more flying through the trees at

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