I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as an adventurous person. I’m open to new experiences, but have a healthy fear of the little things, like, you know, death and serious injury, that hold me back somewhat when it comes to extreme sports.
So to say our A Date took me well outside my comfort zone is something of an understatement.
We were running late to start with – QWERTYmum’s husband has the loosest sense of urgency I’ve ever known in a person. We were supposed to be fifteen minutes early for our 2pm session, but barely made 5 minutes early, leaving me and Mum to all but run up the hill, me in a mild state of panic we’d be told we were late and turned away from our first date.
We needn’t have powerwalked, as we were fine, and after a brief questionnaire about our health and fitness, we were harnessed up and led to the warm up course.
Now, I’m not particularly frightened by heights. I don’t like climbing, but once I’m up, the actual height doesn’t bother me. The sight of the high ropes did have me slightly knock-kneed before we even started, though.
I went second round the course after the Boyfriend, followed by Mum and her husband. The Boyfriend, being a firefighter, is used to this sort of thing, and as much as he protests he’s scared of heights, he certainly didn’t look scared from where I was standing! He took to the high rope assault course like a natural, making it look far too easy, so I looked totally incompetent when I went across.
I was pretty much totally incompetent, but that’s beside the point.
The warm up course wasn’t too bad, except for one portion where you had to tightrope walk without anything except your harness rope to hold on to. That was a little on the scary side, but I made it across in one piece.
Ready to graduate to the proper course, we made our way over and hooked up, the Boyfriend once again in pole position. The course was very much higher, but I didn’t find it bothered me – unlike Mum who didn’t like standing on the platforms between rope bridges.
The Boyfriend once again made things look easy while I struggled to traverse the various ropes, bridges, log swings. The upper body strength and lack of inhibition required to get across easily were not things I possessed. Despite the Boyfriend taking a tumble on the very first obstacle due to over exuberance, I still found I didn’t trust the rope to support my weight. It took me a long time to cross certain obstacles.
By the end I was picking up speed, and before too long (despite a big hold up at one very difficult obstacle) we were at the last obstacle – a rope bridge ascending to a huge tower which we had to jump off.
My throat was drying up at the mere thought. As the boyfriend scaled the bridge and got attached to the device that would slow his fall, I filmed with Mum’s Flip Camera, catching the descent. The Boyfriend was cool as the proverbial cucumber, stepping off the edge of the platform without so much as a tremor. I wasn’t quite so cool.
The rope bridge was steep and got high very quickly. The height, which honestly hadn’t bothered me all the way round, suddenly seemed a thousand times worse. My heart hammered in my chest, my breathing quickened, and I had to make bad jokes about being terrified with the assistant so as to keep my feet moving towards the edge of the platform.
Before me, a few people had chickened out of jumping and climbed down. Personally, I thought this looked worse than the jump option, and that thought kept me moving too. I couldn’t step off like the Boyfriend, opting to sit instead and shuffle off.
On the count of three, I went.
And it was fast. Not like the bouncy descent of a zipwire – the limit of my previous experience in this sort of thing – this was a freefall drop until you came to a controlled, but fairly rapid stop at the bottom. I landed gracefully (unlike Mum, who sat down and then lay down at the bottom, eyes clenched shut as she called out ‘has it stopped yet?’) but my hands were trembling so much I had to let the Boyfriend unclip me from the harness.
Knees shaking, I walked out of the way and waited for the others to take the plunge.
On the way home in the car we were full of opinions on what was the scariest bit. We all agreed, aside from the drop, that the log swing obstacle was the hardest/scariest bit. I sucked at that one particularly, and my hands are still hurting now from gripping the rope so hard during my crossing of it!
Back at home, we cut up some strawberries and homemade scones for the afternoon tea portion of the date. Unfortunately the Boyfriend was called to assist in the moving of a sofa, and so missed the afternoon tea part, but I enjoyed it very much.
Sometime soon we will be doing our B date – Ballroom Dancing and Beer at the Brewery. After the excitement of our A date, I’m looking forward to it more than ever!
If you’re interested in Aerial Extreme, they have a facebook page here. I’d highly recommend it – a fantastic day out for the adrenaline seeker!