What is it like to soar five hundred feet through the air at one hundred miles per hour? According to the creator this is the closest you can get to skydiving without actually leaping from a plane. So, what better way to surprise Jamie on his 31st birthday than with a trip to Zip World in Bethesda. This is the longest zipline in Europe and the fastest in the world and was I really going to do it? I struggle with the pirate ship at Alton Towers! I kept telling myself all it involves is flying face down, head first, for a whole mile at speeds of over 100mph off the top of a mountain – but that didn’t help! Next year I’ll surprise Jamie with a nice relaxing meal instead..
What’s the idea: The longest zipline in Europe and the fastest in the world!
Who for: The thrillseekers and daredevils
Cost: We went on Velocity which is £60 per person (family tickets are available) – ticket includes ‘Little Zipper’, quarry tour and the ‘Big Zipper’. Gift vouchers are also available
Where can I book: http://www.zipworld.co.uk/booking-page/
Zip World is based at Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda, where slate has been mined for over two centuries. This was the biggest quarry in the world at one time and it employed two thousand men. Now it employs two hundred people and the two zip lines stretch across areas of the quarry that are no longer in production.
We arrived in good time to visit the viewing platform for Velocity (the fast one!), as we got closer we heard this whoooooshh, as we looked up there were two people zip lining down. At this moment my stomach was churning and I sat down to compose the fear and the realisation that had just set in. What was I letting myself in for? I have never done anything like this before and I refuse to go on rollercoasters! When I was booking it I saw that two people go down together at the same time and I thought it would be a better experience for Jamie if he did it with someone. What was I thinking!
12.30pm soon came and our group of 16 ranging from 16-70 year olds were ushered to the kit room. We put on the ever-so unflattering red boiler suits, helmets, googles and the all important harness. At this point we also registered for a free video of our experience which was all generated through our helmet numbers. At the end of the experience you get a text with the video of your experience on it.
We were all kitted up and ready to go so we walked the 300m to the ‘Little Zipper’, the third longest zip wire in Britain and this was just the warm up act! After a full safety brief, we were attached into superman stylee, face down, head first position. Then 3, 2, 1 GO! We were off at speeds of 40mph, my face pinned back, hair all a flutter and we start swinging sideways as the wind had picked up. This felt unbelievably fast. Once we reached the end it was a surreal sensation but a good one I think, despite leaving my stomach half way down. I couldn’t believe how fast that was, and the ‘Big Zipper’ is 60mph faster!
So, with the ‘Little Zipper’ calming any potential nerves (supposedly), it was time for the big one. We had a 15 minute drive up a very bumpy quarry dirt track to the summit with a talk about the quarry on route. As we reached the top the view was absolutely incredible, then all of a sudden the realisation set in that there was now only one way down. We got into position, ready for the thrill of a lifetime. The blood was pumping, stomach churning, nervous laugh activated, swaying gently on the launch pad. Finally, the radio communication is done, the safety clip is released….‘Three… Two… One… Go!!’
WOW! What a feeling, I was off, dropping down a mountain side, accelerating at a ridiculous speed on a very thin looking wire! I reach the almighty void between me and the vivid blue lake below and everything is in slow motion. I was gliding through the air at 100mph and I felt like time had stopped. What an exhilirating feeling just cutting through the air with the loud whoosh of noise and the cold air on my ears. I was flying!
After 60 seconds, I put my arms out to slow down and it’s all over. A totally unforgettable experience that I didn’t think I would be able to do in a million years. Now it’s your turn – experience a thrill of a lifetime and see for yourself the incredible experience that is Velocity at Zip World.
- You can hire a video camera to fix onto your helmet for £20. I don’t think you need to bother with that as the free one (shown above) is pretty impressive and takes out all the hassle of editing your own!
- Wear a hat under your helmet – the wind certainly gets to the ears
- Check the weather and the ride status on the site the night before
- Zip World also has another site 45minutes away that has Europe’s only 4 person zip line
- Finally, check out their ‘Bounce Below’ – the world’s first subterranean playground of its kind. Set within a historic disused slate cavern, installed with massive bouncy nets to jump around in!
Any bad points?
My stomach was churning for a good 24 hours after the event! Apart from that, it was incredible, couldn’t fault it.
Would I go again?
I probably wouldn’t do it again, as it has now been well and truly ticked off the to do list. However, I would recommend this to anyone and everyone. Zip World are extremely professional, they made us feel 100% safe at all times and the whole experience was streamlined to perfection. The take home video was a total bonus, perfect for cherishing the memory of the scariest thing I have ever done.