User guides save lives

The school summer holidays are well and truly underway. As a parent I have found myself hunting around for activities to keep the kids amused that do not involve sitting staring at a screen, I think we’ve all had enough of that by the weekend.

Last weekend I settled on taking my 13 year old daughter to Go Ape. For those not familiar with Go Ape they are woodland based activity centres where you work your way around a course of zip wires, ladders and rope bridges. We booked onto the ‘Tree Top Adventure’ and made our way over to the Wyre Forest. I think the clue is in the title, we were off to have an adventure in the tree tops. High tree tops!

After being fitted into our harnesses we had a very thorough briefing from Joe our enthusiastic young instructor. Joe demonstrated to us how to attach ourselves to the safety wires and brought our attention to the user guides secured to each tree. We were told that the most important instruction to remember was ‘Always stay attached’, this instruction was everywhere we looked. We were told that failure to adhere to this instruction could result in injury or even fatality! Suddenly I was alert and listening to every word Joe delivered and made sure that I thoroughly digested all of the instructions we were given.

I suddenly remembered that I had also signed a disclaimer to state that I was responsible if I failed to follow the instructions. On top of this I was also responsible for my daughter not following the instructions. Thankfully she is an experienced Scout and is used to these ‘extreme sports’, she is also very sensible and a keen reader so I think she was probably safer than me!

We nervously made our way to the first activity with the fear of fatality running through our minds. We started to attach and detach ourselves to the appropriate coloured cables with the appropriate coloured hooks and tentatively started working our way through the obstacles. Thankfully we had the user guides to follow every step of the way and we soon got into the swing of things (did you see what I did there?).

After two hours of hooking, unhooking, swinging and climbing we were preparing to whizz down our last zip wire. I glanced down at the user guide pinned to the tree and realised that I hadn’t attached my blue safety hook. Thank heavens for the ever present user guide to prompt me 14 metres off the ground!

We completed our final zip wire. Mission accomplished and we (almost) always followed the user guides. I am pleased to report there were no fatalities. Next weekend I’m doing a fun run and keeping my feet firmly on the ground. I’ll make sure that I follow the health and safety instructions though.

Keep your eyes peeled for those user guides, they really are everywhere and they can save your life!


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