True Grit

What happens when you put a school teacher, a barrister and her sister, me and my 13 yr old son, and a dis-advantaged young man with his carer together. Then tell them to climb up a tree and walk across a 5 meter high beam forwards and then backwards.

Comradeship, trust, and team work - thats what.

I was recently invited by James, friend and Owner of Log Heights to join a group on a high ropes course tucked away at Ripley Castle in North Yorkshire. It happened to be a rare sunny morning which helped dissolve the remnants of a hangover. We all met at the castle and, once introductions had been made, James took us along to the course . In fact we clearly walked on the scenic route around the castle and via the herbaceous borders. I’m convinced this was a ploy to calm our nerves. Either way it worked. It was a beautiful morning.

After a short introduction to the equipment in the store room (an old, but quaint squash court) , we were on our way. Within 10 minutes we were on our first task . A low level team test to get as many team members together on the smallest plinth possible. Clearly a little introduction and broke the ice nicely.

Next up….. the high beam.

Looks simple, not that high. But by god I’ve never seem so many knees shake like jelly. Check out the picture below.

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For an early start we got to grips with the equipment and learnt to trust each other. We all claimed to hate heights and we all suffered from vertigo. But we all had a go. We didn’t all make it to the top. But learnt to respect each other. We’d only been there for about ½ an hour…

Ok, so whats next ? Oh yes! Jacobs Ladder. One of my confident new colleagues said. “I’ll just whip up there on my own…” I think not. From ground level it looks easy peasy. But you don’t realise the logs get further and further apart as you get higher. You have to work together. And it is high. It must have been between 5 and 8 metres to the top.

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This task was serious team work and not just amongst teams, but between teams. I feel a lot of respect for Grant who showed a lot of courage. Jason and Ibrahim who both got really high on the ladder. Our team was beaten on time but we were the pioneers and led the way :)

A small respite with another low level but fun and team building exercise. This required a lot of team work. I think we all enjoyed the respite from the heights. This was called the Wild Woosey.

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The finale. What could have been more apt than the ‘Leap of Faith’? Take a telegraph pole, put a small plinth on the top, climb it, not just by yourself, but two of you. Yes, two. Shuffle into position standing on the plinth, then jump. At least leap, onto a trapeze bar. Oh My god! Sounds impossible. But you know what ? Within a a few hours of meeting we all did it without question, without real fear like when we started on the high beam, without jelly knees, but with self confidence and encouragement and support from everyone.

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And then we were done. A short, sharp, but sweet reminder that we can all have hidden depths to our courage and faith in each other. I know my son Jason learnt something about me, and about himself (I was extremely proud of him). I know our team mates all finished in high spirits and brimming with confidence in ourselves and each other. You know what ? Even after such a trial we were all laughing…together.

Well done Log Heights!