Zip World, Wales. Alans 21st Birthday treat.

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What a week its been. Work: progress is being made in unloading customers. One has signed with our recommended replacement company out of 70. We have 6 weeks to go. However, the message is getting home at last that we really are leaving and people are seriously looking at alternatives

Personal: Not much happened Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, yesterday, we went to Zip World Slate Quarry at Blaenau Ffestiniog. This was part of Alans 21st birthday celebrations. We went to Alton Towers a couple of weeks ago. This trip was a two day trip to two of the Zip World sites plus an overnight stay in Betys-y-Coed. It was a great break. We drove down early yesterday getting to the slate mine far too early . However it was a lovely warm day and it made the first ride on the Titan zip line really nice.

Titan is three separate runs with 4 lines on each run so we all got to go together. The first requires a mini bus ride to the top of a hill where we queued in the sunshine for our turn. Charlotte was very nervous and we did a fair amount of hand holding but I’ll give her due,, despite crippling fear she launched at the same time as the rest of us. Unfortunately she is a bit lighter than the rest of us and she stopped short on the first run and needed a long pole to pull her to the end. Amusing for us but not so much for her. The second and third lines she was fine on and was smiling at the end. I had some fun, Clair and Alan  had to use parachutes as they were over the weight limit for the conditions. The Fatachute as I called it was the subject of much mirth from my point of view. For them, not so much.

The second ride was the Caverns. This is about three hours of underground zip lines, scramble nets, clambering along sheer drops and even a couple of ladders, all underground in the dark. The first hour or so is training, getting used to the harness and safety gear. It includes 5 short zips. We were all fine. The actual experience though starts with a 20m zip and then moving across a sheer wall, standing on logs, chains, wires and steps staked into the wall. Charlotte was very upset to start with but again, all credit to her, she took that fear and worked through it and ultimately enjoyed the whole experience.

For me, I hate launching off at the start of every zip line. It takes an act of will every single time. I think Clair and Alan found that much easier than me. I find myself triple checking everything and then feeling surprised for the first few seconds that I really got it right and I’m not falling to my death. After that, I’m fine. Apart from landing. I don’t like landing either. All the other bits are easy for me. The finale of the caverns is a climb to the heavens which up a sheer rock face before getting onto a final zip with quite steep descent before being braked near the end. Me and Al di that part. Clair and Charlotte opted to step out just before that. I have no idea what I was thinking.  All the other zips, you can sit into your harness before sliding off. On this one you can’t. You must step off on a slack harness. No fun! Alan on the other hand jumped off straight away. I hate kids!

That was the end of the day, we headed into Betys-y-Coed, booked into our hotel and went and found food. A good end to the day.

2019-04-18 Zip World Fforest

We had three rides booked for the day. Forest Coaster, Zip Safari and Skyride.

We picked up a packed lunch before we went which was my preferred choice. The coaster was our first ride. Wow! You get three runs, sitting in a single seat roller coaster with manual brakes. Of course, the trick is to not use your brakes at all. Apart from right at the start of my very first run, I went for it. It does auto brake if you’re going too fast so I got slowed a little but there was nothing I could do about that! What a ride, it was so good that I nearly suggested a second go at it (£80 for four of us!) In the end, we didn’t, we waited and went on our booked slot for the Zip Safari. This is like the caverns except in the trees. 18m up at the highest point! Did I mention I don’t like the zip lines. It was about 80% zip lines! Strangely I am absolutely fine with the obstacles. So stepping over a rope bridge, tight wire or wobbly logs? No problem. Hanging from a wire on a truck with three other safety lines? Not so good. Clair was the opposite, loved the zips, hated the obstacles. It took roughly two and half hours to complete. I was glad when it was over.

We had an hour to kill before the last ride. The Skyride is simply a very large swing. Up to 5 people are harnessed to a large metal beam that it suspended. A wire pull the beam back until the swing is horizontal to the pivot and then one lucky person gets to release us for the swing. The first few seconds are great but then it’s a bit tedious waiting to slow down with the harness digging in. Ho well. All in all a brilliant 21st birthday outing for Alan. The lucky bugger literally slept the whole three hour journey home including the time when Clair and I got out for a cup of tea and a sandwich.

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