High in the sky, a Treetop Trek Adventure
On Saturday, my husband and I took our daughter, our son and 4 of his friends to do the Treetop Trek at Heaton Park in Manchester. There are two different courses – a Mini Trek for adults and kids of 5 and over, and the more adventurous Zip Trek, for adults and kids of 7 and over. As we were with fearless 9 and 10-year-olds, we went for the full Zip Trek.
The Zip Trek is in a lovely setting in woodland around Heaton Park, and is described as a ‘spectacular aerial adventure through the tree canopy, featuring 35 obstacle challenges and 24 zip wires’. Between each obstacle or zip wire is a platform built around a tree (about 15 metres off the ground), where you wait (for safety reasons) until there is only 1 person left on the next platform, before launching yourself onto the next obstacle.
Once strapped into our safety harnesses (comprehensively checked by two instructors), and given instructions on navigating the course, we were clipped onto the trek wire via ropes attached to our harnesses and off we went.
The first obstacle to navigate was a large, horizontal tree trunk, about 4 metres off the ground. I looked and looked again, but there didn’t seem to be anything to hold on to, which was slightly terrifying. I think it took me about 5 minutes to get across that (which is dismal when you consider that the course record is about 7 minutes!). This was immediately followed by the first zip wire, where we had to simply crouch down on a wooden platform as if sitting and push ourselves off into thin air! It took Ed and I a little while to trust the safety harnesses and convince our brains that, if we stepped off a treetop platform, we would slide down the zip wire to the next platform, rather than plummeting to the ground. The kids, of course, had no fear at all and found our trepidation highly amusing.
Between the many exhilarating zip wires we tackled obstacles such as walking across swinging posts that weren’t tied to each other, walking across a bridge made of seesaws that tilted downwards when you were halfway along (these resulted in even some shrieks from the kids!), navigating wobbly bridges with bits missing, and a brilliant one where you had to launch yourself onto a skateboard and skate down a wire to the next platform. The boy behind me helpfully advised me that I was likely to go quite fast on the skateboard, as ‘the heavier you are, the faster you go’. I was less than thrilled, on a number of levels.
We were left to our own devices on the trek, although we’d been told that if we needed help, we should shout ‘Instructor!’ and someone would come and find us. Once or twice, one of the boys was having a bit of trouble getting his safety harness clip to run through the bracket on the platform, and an instructor came to help very quickly. Although the trek is suitable for 7 years and up, I was glad I hadn’t brought my 7-year-old daughter with us. Although she’s quite athletic (which you do need to be for some of the obstacles), I don’t think she’d have liked being up so high, and she would have struggled to run the clip through the brackets as you need a bit of strength and a bit of height. Even our 10-year-olds didn’t find it easy when the brackets were high up. The boy behind me was doing the trek with his grandma, and she completed about a third of it before she decided she’d had enough and an instructor helped her to climb down a fixed ladder to the forest floor.
Altogether, it took our group about an hour to get around the trek (although my son and one of his friends claimed they were waiting for the rest of us for half an hour, which is not unlikely as we grown-ups were slowing down the other children!), with another 30 minutes or so to get kitted up at the beginning.
The Zip Trek was absolutely fantastic and brilliant fun (or, in the words of 10-year-old boys, ‘boss’ and ‘sick’, which I believe indicate appreciation) and we can’t wait to go again!
*Jane and her family were given tickets in return for a review – all opinions are her own.*