Swingers in Scotland drive growth at Go Ape

A forest adventure company said its business in Scotland is flying high after more than 50,000 visitors swung through its trees during the 2016 season.

Go Ape said it has now seen an overall total of almost 365,000 customers across its three Scottish sites in Aberdeenshire, Aberfoyle and Peebles.

The Suffolk-based company, founded by husband-and-wife team Tristram and Rebecca Mayhew in 2002, said it has experienced year on year growth in Scotland with both a 3% increase in footfall and a 3% rise in turnover to £1.2million in 2016. This follows 3% growth in footfall and turnover in 2015.

Now in full swing for the 2017 season, Go Ape, the trading name of Adventure Forest Group, is celebrating the 10th birthday of its Aberfoyle site with the launch of a dual course which has doubled the size and level of adventure within Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.

The company saw UK turnover increase by 10% to over £22million in 2016 with the opening of new sites at Chessington World of Adventures Resort and Battersea. The company did not reveal its pre-tax profits. In total, 960,000 customers visited the 31 sites across the UK in 2016 to enjoy Tree Top Adventure, Tree Top Junior, Forest Segway and Zip Trekking adventures.

It is planning further investment and growth with the continued roll out of Tree Top Junior for younger adventurers at existing locations and the arrival of new adventures in UK cities throughout the year.

With its grown-up version of nostalgic childhood adventures such as climbing trees, Go Ape is seeing an increasing trend of adults hanging out in the forest. Figures show that gorillas (adults aged 18+) accounted for 76% of customers versus 24% baboons (children aged 10 to 17) in 2016, compared to 2005 when records began and 68% of customers were adults.

Jerome Mayhew, brother of co-founder Tristram and managing director of Go Ape, said: “It was a very successful 2016 season in Scotland, with a rise in visitor numbers and we’re looking forward to celebrating a decade of encouraging people to live life adventurously in Aberfoyle. Our recent investment in the site has significantly increased capacity to meet demand and will mean that even more gorillas and baboons can swing through the Scottish tree-tops this year.

“What’s really interesting in our customer profile is the ratio of adults versus children embracing that nostalgic activity of climbing trees as an escape from adult life. Against a backdrop of busy lives which are now dominated by technology, we really do love taking a trip down memory lane and reconnecting with our childhood.”

Go Ape’s Crathes site in Aberdeenshire is situated in the historic grounds of the 16th-century castle and includes a skateboard zip wire.