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Lifestyle: Zip-wiring in the dark at Dalby Forest

Try zip wiring in the dark at Go Ape, Dalby Forest
Try zip wiring in the dark at Go Ape, Dalby Forest

Zipping 700ft across a valley into the pitch black while 120ft up in the air – definitely one of the more exhilarating ways to spend a Thursday night!

It is one of the many events taking place as part of the Dark Skies Festival, including an event perfect for adrenaline-seekers – zip-wiring at Go-Ape in Dalby Forest.

Go Ape instructor Tasmin Phillips with Jordan Atkins, 10, who sampled night-time zip wiring at Dalby Forest.

Go Ape instructor Tasmin Phillips with Jordan Atkins, 10, who sampled night-time zip wiring at Dalby Forest.

We were delighted to be offered the chance to test this out ahead of the festival’s start as Nick and Tasmin at Go Ape kindly gave up their time to show us the ropes and treat us to an hour of daredevil antics.

It had been blowing a near gale when we set off from Whitby but Go Ape’s sheltered position within Dalby Forest meant there was nothing to worry about on the weather front.

My son Jordan and I both carefully read the safety instructions, most of which were commonsense, and all seemed fine .... until Jordan uttered the words “Dad, what does fatality mean?”

Statistically, there’s more chance of Spurs earning a legitimate result at Anfield than there is of anything ever going wrong on the zip wire, and the instructors made us feel assured we’d be safe.

Zip wire fun in the dark.

Zip wire fun in the dark.

We were kitted up and given adjustable head torches and once we scaled the steps up the muddy bank to the ‘launch pad’ we were asked who’d like to go first and without hesitation, Jordan volunteered.

Like most parents of a fearless 10-year-old, I have to confess to being a little apprehensive when he was given the green light to go.

Such was the darkness, I could barely see 10ft in front of me, let alone my pride and joy hurtling off into the night with a drop of eight double decker buses below.

I was praying he’d remembered how to land safely and hadn’t skidded into a hedge, but the radio crackled the other end and it was Nick giving the all clear for my go, meaning Jord (pictured with Go Ape instructor Tasmin) was absolutely fine.

He actually landed with more grace and panache than his old man; I twisted round 180 degrees in mid-air not two seconds after setting off, facing where I had come from for the entire journey until the end approached.

I dug my heels in as instructed and came to a horizontal standstill with earth piling up in my back pockets and the uneasy feeling that someone was making a ‘loser’ sign at me.

But it was all great fun and Nick and Tasmin were quite happy to let us have another go each before rewarding Jordan with a Go Ape t-shirt for his efforts.

If you fancy giving it a try, on Monday (Feb 12), the cost is £12 per person with a minimum of two goes within an evening session. The Sunday session is booked up.

It is one of more than 30 new events and locations which will feature in the festival, which is on from this Friday to February 25.

Beyond this, Go Ape at Dalby Forest will be holding some night zip wire evenings in April and May, before starting again in October, once the nights are much longer.

They’re aiming at groups as well as individuals.

The Dark Skies festival has events on at various locations across the North York Moors National Park.

Some of the highlights are:

* Family crafting activities at both YHA Whitby and Boggle Hole

* Night time photography workshops from Whitby bandstand and the YHA with Richard Burdon (February 17 and 24)

* Ghost walks at Robin Hood’s Bay and a candlelit walk through Staithes learning more about smuggling and the stories behind the shipwrecks.

* A romantic afternoon tea followed by some stargazing at the Old Chapel (now Secret Seaview) in Robin Hood’s Bay on February 21, plus a showing of the classic movie ET at Secret Seaview on Saturday.