For a literally ‘bird’s eye’ view of the Isle of Wight you can climb a great big tree with Goodleaf Tree Climbing. There are very few places in England that this activity is on offer and the Island is lucky to have Paul McCathie at Goodleaf to help you climb a tree in the professional way.
Roped to the branches above you use your legs to ascend the tree more than your arms. All of the equipment, instruction and supervision you need to make it to the top, including insurance of course, is provided. You have to be at least eight years old to have a go and the oldest climber Goodleaf have had so far was 78.
A tree climbing session lasts for two hours and when you finish there are refreshments and the famous Goodleaf flapjacks on offer. This is a great family bonding activity and very unusual – let’s face it you’re unlikely to have done this before. We’re not talking climbing that tree in the back garden when you were a kid – this is a big tree.
Goodleaf operate from a ‘secret location’ to the north of the Island and you get directions when you book. You climb a 200 to 300 year old oak that stands in a field in an AONB and from the top you have views across the Island to the Solent and the Mainland beyond. There’s even a tree-top hammock that you can try, you can have a go at branch walking – Avatar style – or even hang upside down at 20 feet if you fancy it.
In Appley Park in Ryde, Goodleaf will be holding hour long taster tree climbs this summer. To celebrate the Isle of Wight‘s partnership with Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie, Goodleaf are giving you the opportunity to climb high above the heads of these fearsome creatures by ‘Climbing with Dinosaurs’.
You’ll start off low, with the Dryosaurus (Oak Lizard) at 1.8m high. As you ascend the ropes through the Turkey Oak tree, you’ll pass the Corythosaurus (Helmet Lizard), Brachiosaurus (aka Branchosaurus/Branch Lizard) and others before reaching the top of the tree to find the Hornoraptor lurking 18m high in the canopy.
There’s a sticker and a clawtastic choci-vore brownie from Say it With Brownies for everyone who attempts the climb and a commemorative badge for those who brave the Hornoraptor.
Dates for these climbs are Sunday 28th July and Sunday 1st September and they begin on the hour starting at 11am and finishing at 4pm. Climbs last for up to one hour. Climbers must be age 8 and over and the climbs cost £12 per person and include entry into the Goodleaf Vertical Marathon 2013 – supporting the IW Christmas Toy Appeal. Book in advance by calling 0333 800 1188 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Also new for 2013 Goodleaf are going to be using the latest Go Pro technology and offering the Climber Cam Cap – a helmet with a camera attached – to tree climbers who want to see a bit more of their climb this summer.
You can hire the Camera Cap for your climb for £10 a session, which includes a donation to their 2013 Christmas Tree Challenge. You’ll get a set amount of data to use and after the climb they will transfer it to a CD and post it off to you. You’ll be able to turn your footage into a video or simply just enjoy re-living your tree climb. Once you’ve booked your climb, email them with the date and time of your climb and if the camera is free, it’s yours to use.
Paul McCathie trained as a tree surgeon but after a while he thought he’d rather take people up trees and educate them rather than just chop the trees down. He then trained as a recreational tree climbing instructor in the States and he’s now a LANTRA qualified tree climbing instructor and he sits on the board of GOTC (Global Organisation of Tree Climbers). So you can be sure that he’ll show you exactly the right way to climb a tree safely.
Goodleaf operate from Easter until the end of October and during the season they climb three times a day, seven days a week.