Jessica Hope defies gravity, goes all Bear Grylls and masters axe-throwing at Leap of Faith’s Survival Situation challenge – perfect for teams and parties
As we got strapped into our harnesses, we craned our necks to look up at the challenge before us. Looming above was an almighty climbing wall, a towering climbing totem pole, and what looked like a punch bag hanging metres away from a jumping platform. Out of our depth would be an understatement as to how we were feeling about the trial ahead.
The Bristol Mag team assembled, we had arrived at Leap of Faith – the high ropes adventure course based at Wild Place Project, next to Cribbs Causeway – raring to go, but with a pang of nerves in our stomachs at the heights we were going to have to master.
We were trying out Leap of Faith’s Situation Survival course, which is ideal for groups such as stag ’dos, hens and workmates looking for a team-bonding activity. The scenario is that your hot air balloon has crashed deep in the woodlands and it is the team’s task to locate the items that you threw out of the balloon as it was descending in order for you to survive in the wild.
First you must scale the heights of the climbing wall and poles to find codes that will help you unlock the box with the maps that will help you find the items scattered around the woods.After being guided through the safety tips with our instructor Jack, with almost too much confidence I stepped forward to be the first person to climb the wall, thinking this was going to be piece of cake. The cake quickly crumbled as I got part of the way up the wall before the fear of having to come back down from a great height kicked in. After a gentle pep talk from my teammates, I gently descended via my safety rope back down to earth, adrenaline pumping, and was glad for giving it a try.
In search of an important clue for cracking the code, my teammate Crystal ascended the steep totem pole with impressive ease. Gathering up her courage, she hoisted herself to stand up, pole wobbling slightly in the wind, and grabbed the code before jumping off the pole to a rapture of applause as she softly landed back on the ground. Cohort Josh then scrambled up the climbing wall to collect the final code, with a big smile as he jumped down from his success.
Equipped with our codes, we cracked open a box full of maps, clues and walkie talkies – everything we needed for the next part of the challenge. We followed the map to scout out the most important survival items. We explored the woodland for various clues, questions, and tasks we had to complete to gain necessary items like a first aid kit, water, flint and, obviously, marshmallows; along the way we got to see the Wild Place Project’s wonderful wildlife enclosures featuring the giraffes, zebras and geladas. With our time for exploring up, we arrived at the crash site of the hot air balloon where Jack greeted us with the items we successfully scavenged. After collecting plenty of firewood, he guided us on how to make a roaring fire from some cotton wool and hay, using a flint and a bit of encouragement from the oxygen in our breath.
While we waited for the kettle to boil on the fire, we indulged in a casual axe-throwing contest – an unusual way to spend your afternoon, but a whole lot of fun nonetheless. Some of us discovered we have surprising talent for this skill, and there is an extraordinary feeling of satisfaction when the axe makes a thud into the target.
With our water boiled, we ended the day by sitting beside the fire, drinking a cup of tea and toasting marshmallows while reflecting on the fears we overcame on the high ropes and our success in navigating the woodland.Leap of Faith’s Situation Survival caters for everyone – it’s not just physical, there’s plenty of logic and skill that come into each task, making it great for a large team to work together and use their different talents. Plus you get to learn a thing or two about survival along the way.
If you’re planning a stag, hen do or birthday party, or reckon your workmates are in need of a top team-bonding day, then send them up the high ropes and into the wild – they won’t regret it.
Activities for adult groups start at £29pp. Corporate events, birthday parties and school visits are also available
• Leap of Faith, Wild Place Project, Blackhorse Hill, Bristol, BS10 7TP; leapoffaith.co.uk