Kids Corner: Clinging on by your fingertips amongst the treetops
Mum, what are you doing?!” Embarrassing? Me? I wasn’t wearing a skirt, I was wearing trousers. I wasn’t acting out of my tree. Quite the contrary.
And I wasn’t stuck, like Jake’s godmum, Jane, when she followed him down some wooden tunnels at a different climbing park near Norwich in England.
They were not wide tunnels, but they were long. I was last in line, and when I stuck my head into the tunnel, I was surprised to see no light at the other end at all. A total eclipse. Just Jane’s bottom, wedged like Winnie the Pooh in his burrow. She was trying to turn round to avoid a vertical drop of three feet or so where the tunnel diverted downwards before carrying on.
With full faith in Jane’s agility, and admiration that she, like us, climbs trees at all, we were prepared to wait the customary ‘half an hour before you call the fire brigade’, and she finally wriggled free. Of course, she almost scrambled straight back in when she heard we would have called the fire brigade. She does have a soft spot for men in uniform, after all.
No, I was embarrassing because I was practising clipping on and off on the kiddy route for the under-sevens before tackling the more challenging obstacles.
This time Jane was in Norfolk, and it was just Jake and me exploring Til Tops at Havreholm Castle. I’d translated an article about a new treetop adventure park opening at another location near Frederiksdal Castle in Lyngby, and we couldn’t wait to try it.
I’ve liked climbing trees since I was five and my big scout brothers made me a huge aerial runway. Great fun … though not as impressive as the magestic forest setting near Havreholm Castle.
Regular readers of helendyrbye.blogspot.com will know that Jake broke his arm twice last year. Once falling out of a tree and once tripping over a tree root. So perhaps we were barking mad to be trying this? Absolutely not.
Line, who runs the park with her staff and co-investor husband Steve, an East Anglian like me, strapped us into professional climbers’ harnesses and showed us the ropes. We then had to demonstrate that we could use carabiners as instructed – always clipping ourselves onto two separate safety wires at any one time.
So the worst that can happen is that you drop a foot – or rather misplace a foot and drop 12 inches – and end up sitting in the harness like a swing, hanging from a safety wire enjoying the view.
Full concentration – go! (Photo by Helen Dyrbye)
Ten minutes on the kiddy route and I was ready. Jake went first. It’s cleverly built so you start off easy and literally stretch yourself as you go from one obstacle to the next – with escape ladders naturally. Good exercise! The wooden planks you step on gradually become further apart and evolve into wooden stepping ‘stones’ linked by chains that encourage you to test your boundaries. I not only pushed my envelope, I licked it too … all the way through from one end of the green route to the other. Zip wires and all. Weeeeeeeheeeeeeee!!!!! What an experience! Time for an ice cream, before embarking on …
The blue route. Indiana Jones would have been proud of us. I only overbalanced once and we got about halfway … to where you hang from a trapeze (roped on securely, of course). You swing across to another tree some 12 metres away. Or you’re meant to.
“Shall I go first?” I asked with a wobble in my voice as well as my ankles, seeing that Jake had stopped.
“Mmmmmm, might be better. Just this once.”
With some difficulty, we changed places ten metres up. Then came the moment of truth. Clip on … Deep breath … Fat chance! I had reached my limit – for that day at least. Maybe if we’d seen someone else monkeying about on it first, we’d have dared but hey, it’s good to have something to look forward to in life,
Ending on a high!
So instead, we retraced our steps and completed the green route again – in half the time. We had a blast. So did everyone else we saw there. Especially the guys who braved the red route right through to ‘splatting’ comfortably into the giant ropey spiders’ web at the end.
We’ll be back for more daredevil antics and Tarzan team-building, I’m sure – next time with our whole family, though perhaps not Grandma.
Klosterrisvej 4, Havreholm, Hrnbæek (also Hummerltoftevej 179, Virum); 3074 0944; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.til-tops.dk
Gladsaxe Sportscenter, Vandtårnsvej 55, Sobørg; 2685 2089; email@example.com; www.gomonkey.dk
Carlsberg Byen, Pasteursvej 8-10, Cph V; firstname.lastname@example.org; 2894 4648; klatreskoven.dk