I RECEIVED a message on my gym group chat which read: “The Inflatable 5k is heading to Glasgow and is the biggest and best inflatable obstacle course. The 5k run has just gotten even BIGGER, bouncier and better!”

Well, I wasn’t sure how to reply, because this time last year I was in a similar situation.

“Join us for a Treetop Challenge if you want to test yourself physically and mentally on our most adventurous treetop trek.

“A mecca for thrill-seekers who love canopy-high tree-to-tree crossings, free-fall Tarzan swings and riding super-fast, very long zips.”

My friend Wilma and I had stared at each other for ages as we absorbed this challenge, because we both knew this might be way out of our comfort zone.

“Why don’t we conquer our fears and just go for it?” Wilma sounded positive, which I thought was extremely brave because she is as terrified of heights as me.

“OK, it can’t be that bad.”

I agreed to sign up, avoiding the reality of what possibly lay ahead.

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Saturday morning and we headed off in the minibus to the Aberfoyle area, and the weather couldn’t have been any worse. Rain was coming down in sheets and I was trying to look on the positive side.

“Hopefully, Wilma, when we get there it’ll be cancelled.”

But it wasn’t cancelled.

Twelve of us made our way to the registration point where we completed paperwork which highlighted the fact that there was a high risk of injury or fatality, which did nothing for our stress levels.

Standing in a semicircle with our instructor, we pulled on our harnesses and listened to the drill.

“You are responsible for your equipment being fitted and secured properly, and if it is not, then you are at risk of serious injury, or worse...”

His voice trailed off, leaving us imagining all sorts.

“Blue to blue and red to red,” he parroted while demonstrating how to secure our giant safety clips.

Two people left the group at this point, and Wilma and I joined the queue for the zip-wire which would take us to the next part of our adventure.

Harnessed and hovering on the edge of the wooden platform, my legs were like jelly as the zip-wire disappeared far into the forest, and I realised just how high up I would be hurtling through the air!

“Just push me, Wilma,” I pleaded as the crowed jeered impatiently.

“Push me!” I roared.

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And she did.

Screaming like a banshee, I whizzed through the trees while cold rain battered off my face.


Suddenly and awkwardly I came to an abrupt halt on my backside in the forest followed by my terrified pal.

“Surely that’s the worst bit over.”

We high-fived each other as we trembled.

Climbing a rope ladder 30ft up a tree, we huffed and puffed and finally made it to the high-wire walk.

“Don’t look down” was the only advice I had, but when it was my turn, mid-way along the wire, my legs began to quiver, which made the rope quiver. Meanwhile, the rain blinded me as the rope swayed from side to side beneath my feet.

“Wilma, help.”

But she couldn’t help, because she was now splayed across a cargo net clinging on for dear life, and every time I glanced over, she was in the exact same position, until I realised she was frozen with fear to the net.

Exhausted, we managed to climb upwards off the cargo net and were ready for our next daredevil event.

By now we were hugging the tree trunk as tightly as we could with our newly manicured nails, clutching the bark like a baby koala hanging on to its mother, and neither of us could move an inch – until a stag party appeared behind us.

“Are you OK?”

The groom, who was dressed in a white tutu, could see we were not enjoying this at all.

“We’re terrified,” admitted Wilma.

“So am I,” he confessed out of earshot of the rest.

“But I’ve got to go along with it as it’s my stag party!”

Grateful for the assistance, we forced a smile as his mates helped us scale the last tree trunk, level after level, clipping and unclipping our safety harnesses.

“Right, that’s you secured.” The stag shook my harness.

“This is the longest zip-wire, but it means you’ll be straight to the finish in no time,” he assured as he pushed me off the last platform.

Piling back on to the minibus later, most of the team were exhilarated and popping open drinks to celebrate.

However...“I feel my fear of heights is now worse than ever, Janice,” Wilma said.

“Me too, Wilma.”

And after opening our small bottles of Prosecco, we struggled to pour ourselves a drink as we were still shaking from the fear and the cold.

So, with the reminder of high-wire ropes, cargo nets, zip-wires... I quickly rejected the offer of an inflatable 5k obstacle course!