A few weeks ago, my little family and I did something rather unusual. Instead of enjoying our standard Saturday morning lie in and leisurely breakfast in our pyjamas, we spent the morning climbing trees!
Heaton Park, Manchester, is somewhere that I’ve visited countless times over the years and spent many a weekend there spotting squirrels and exploring the boating lake. Treetop Trek recently opened two brand new courses at the park so we were delighted to be invited along for a trip.
Me, Adam, my Dad, Lucie and her friend Lily arrived at the Treetop Trek early on a Saturday morning, curious to see what lay ahead. Parking was ample and directly across from the entrance which is handy if you have little ones (although it did cost £2 upon entry so be sure to take some spare change).
We checked in at reception and were given a wristband each, signed the disclaimer forms and waited for the instructor to run through a safety brief and help us harness up. Being Manchester, it was a typically grey and rainy day but that didn’t stop the fun!
Sensible footwear is essential for the trek, especially in wet weather when the obstacles can become a little slippy. We all wore trainers and my (ever practical) Dad wore his walking boots. It’s also advisable to cover up with long sleeves and make sure that hair is tied back so for those of you with longer locks, bring a bobble.
Once we were all securely fitted with our respective harnesses then ‘attached’ to the safety cable above the course, it was time to begin. We started off well, with the kids and my Dad zooming ahead. I got to the second platform, at about 4m high, and something odd happened.
My legs began to feel like lead and a lump formed in my throat. I simply couldn’t bring myself move off the ledge and whispered to Adam pitifully: “I really don’t think I can do this...” as my eyes started to well up. I have never been so (irrationally) scared in my life and have no idea where it came from. I love flying and even been to the top of the Empire State Building with no issues.
Then, perfectly timed, Lucie shouted from across the trees: “Come on Mum!“, blissfully unaware of the situation unfolding. I realised that I now had two options: to either admit defeat and get hoisted down with a member of staff or simply suck it up and get myself to end of the course- I chose the latter.
In an effort to get through the course as quickly as possible, I raced to catch up with the rest of the family. We had one instructor at the back of the group with several others in stationary positions across the course and they came in handy for moral support!
We only required practical help once, when Lucie’s friend slipped on one of the more difficult obstacles and got tangled up, leaving her dangling in the air like a puppet. She was cool as a cucumber as Lucie found it hilarious and instantly popped a video on Snapchat. Modern, friendly humiliation at it’s best, huh?
We tackled moving steps, swinging logs, rope bridges, balance bars, suspended surf boards and more during our two and half hour adventure. My Dad is a natural daredevil on the quiet and was absolutely in his element, especially when we spotted several squirrels both on the ground and in the trees.
Reaching heights of 15m (random trivia – that’s three times higher than an average adult giraffe) and tackling no less than 24 zip lines of varying lengths, it’s certainly a great workout and, as I refused to let go of my safety rope throughout the entire course, I did end up with rather sore hands for a few days afterwards! (entirely my own scardey-cat fault)
We left on a high and treated ourselves to a well-earned lunch (shout out to the Stables Cafe for the best cheese and onion pie in the world!) whilst comparing our personal highlights of the trek. The kids loved the zip lines, my dad found the Squirrel skateboard fun, and me? Well, I was just happy to be back on solid ground again. Seeing these guys so happy made me glad that we visited the Treetop Trek and we’ve already agreed to go back again in the summer holidays.
There are no toilets or refreshments available on site but you can use the facilities in the Stables Cafe which is only about a 5-minute walk away. Also, as there are no lockers on site, I had to leave my bag at the reception desk – just a few little things for you to consider if you’re planning a trip to the Treetop Trek, however, this information (and more) is freely available on the website so it’s worth a read prior to booking.
*Our tickets were provided FOC, however, all opinions are my own.