Feeling a bit ropey in the Extreme

Hold tight: Aerial Extreme at iceSheffield
Hold tight: Aerial Extreme at iceSheffield
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WHILE one of our most famous superheroes battles Penguin and Cat Woman across the way Aerial Extreme offers the chance to tackle the likes of the Spider’s Web, The Blue Buoys and The Burma Bridge.

These are some of the challenges facing visitors to the most recent addition to east end Sheffield’s skyline.

David Dunn takes to the ropes with son Harry, right

David Dunn takes to the ropes with son Harry, right

Sited next to iceSheffield and Don Valley Bowl, the high ropes adventure course opened a year ago and while you may not get a cape or a utility belt you do get to scale similar heights to that of the caped crusader or his fellow crime fighter Spiderman.

Aerial Extreme features a gradually rising series of 34 obstacles and tests of balance, agility and courage with a 13 metre Leap Of Faith finale.

You don’t have to be Indiana Jones, super fit or – take it from someone who is none too fond of heights – that much of a climber either.

As long as you are aged at least six, a minimum 1.1m tall and under 19 stone you can take part and there is a sense of reward when you complete your first lap of the course. 

Unlike Go Ape or some of the other Aerial Extreme courses which occupy various woodland sites across the country, the compact Sheffield site is built on huge wooden poles and arguably offers more perspective on height.

By the time you have reached the tallest point, having hauled yourself across the climbing wall and negotiated bridges fashioned from tyres and logs, you are on a level with the roof of iceSheffield.

The other great advantage is the flow of the activity; instead of buckling and unbuckling as you move between challenges you remain reassuringly attached to a safety wire throughout your pulse-raising romp.

Simon Mason is site manager at Sheffield having previously worked for Go Ape and Aerial Extreme’s tree-based North Yorkshire site in Bedale.

His team include climbers, local students, a retained fireman, a female footballer and a former circus performer, there to ensure safety and “encourage people to get up and do something quite challenging”.

He says: “We have a lot of people come as a family. There are not a lot of things mum and dad, son and daughter can do as a family and all enjoy the same.

“It’s a fun day out and a bit of an adventure, something different to what you might normally do, as long as you’re prepared to give it a shot and put in some effort. Sometimes the six year old kids are the best and they’re pulling mum and dad round. There is some quite tricky stuff, some more tricky than others.”

Course completion times can vary depending on your nerve, fitness and people traffic, but it is hard not to get hooked.

“Everyone is different and we normally call it a two-hour experience, but most customers stay a bit longer and do two or three laps. Some kids fly round, but if anyone gets nervous we can help them out.

“Sometimes we take people round but most of the time we try to talk to them from the ground, encourage everyone to keep going. It’s quite a fun environment and we try not to help them out .”

And then there’s the view. “You can get up high and see quite a long way,” says Simon.

“When the big wheel was up last year you could see that and even to Magna. We occasionally get people picking out their house, which is quite cool.”

Aerial Extreme has lowered its Sheffield summer prices (£14 for kids, £19 for adults) to encourage more families to take advantage of the school holidays and warmer weather.

To find out more, book times and tickets visit www.aerialextreme.co.uk