High Ropes and Woodland Warriors Staff Challenge

There have been many famous battles throughout history: The Battle of Hastings of 1066. Rourke’s Drift 1879. The Battle of the Bulge 1944. But none of these can compare to the carnage that was Bluestone 2010.

Before battle commenced, the brave guys and girls of Bluestone’s own sales and marketing department braved the giddy heights that is the Steep Ravine high ropes course, complete with 300 ft zip wires.

In wild and stormy weather, the adventurers watched nervously as the excellent instructors demonstrated the equipment. It was while the safety harness was being strapped on that one wag proclaimed that he had done something very similar the night before which had caused much chaffing around the inner thigh region. We ignored him.

Once the instructors were satisfied we were ready for what awaited, we headed off into the dense woodland, to soon be greeted by the first zip wire. I lost about four pounds instantly through a diet of fear and anxiety. Brimming with confidence, Nina sauntered onto the platform, attached herself and zipped off across the valley, even turning mid-air to give a very casual yet regal wave, before landing like a Russian gymnast’s cat with butter on its back (ie, on her feet).

I was next up and the fear was audible. Never in my life have I pictured myself in the woods, attached to a wire, launching myself off a massive tree. As my team mates voiced encouragement, I was suddenly possessed and starting speaking in tongues while sweating profusely and shaking crazily like Leonardo DiCaprio at the end of Titanic. How I managed to take that leap of faith is beyond me, but somehow I did and landed buttock-first on the other side.

Sales manager Sharon was much more confident than me, and leapt off the platform with such gusto that she travelled down the zip wire faster than a kid hearing the first chords of an ice cream van. Incidentally my Dad used to tell me that the ice cream van only played the chimes when they had run out of ice cream. It took me 25 years to learn the truth. Sharon landed on her back with her legs akimbo, covered in leaf and mud.

The actual high ropes was more my cup of tea, as it had ropes to hold on to. Leo waltzed through the course like Wayne Sleep on Pro-Plus. Cat, who brought up my aching rear, needed some support to pull herself through a pipe suspended in mid air. She had to return the favor when I was greeted with another zip wire. I was now half a stone lighter than when the day started. “Pretend there is a pub on the other side” Cat advised, as the rain fell and the wind howled.  Off I went, whizzing through the air and landing once again on my now muddy, wet and bruised behind.

Chloe, Lucy and Jenny gracefully tackled the course with an abundance of confidence, while sky monkey Jess zipped down the wire, adjusting her hair for the benefit of the young instructor waiting for her at the bottom as she whizzed along.

Having faced and overcome my most innate fears, it was off to Camp Smokey for a spot of lunch. We devoured jacket potato, BBQ beans and lovely local sausages all cooked on the open, rustic stove. I was delighted with pudding : a hot cup of coffee and a Mars, enough to settle my nerves and get me prepared for the mayhem that was to ensue: WOODLAND WARRIORS!

We were divided into two teams. Sharon headed up a team of Nina, Jess, Lucy, Leo and Cat, who were up against the team of Simon, Eirian, Jason, Jenny, Chloe and me. Once we had our amazing laser guns, complete with realistic sound effects, red dot scope and LCD readouts, it was time to venture into the war zone.

Game One of the Woodland Warriors was a straight-out, no-frills death match. Casualties were high, with both Cat and Jess taking The Big Dirtnap after I snuck up on them and caught them chatting about boys and the price of cheese. A couple of blasts to the head from my laser rifle and it was ‘adios senoritas.’

After blasting away happier than Han Solo at a stormtrooper convention, I was fragged by a very sneaky Sharon who was tucked behind a log like a gun-toting millipede.

Game Two was ‘Capture the Flag.’ After a tactic talk, Team Morris decided we would hit Team Sharon with a shock-and-awe, blitzkrieg attack. As soon as the whistle blew, I took off, screaming profanities and firing from the hip as the enemy ran at me, scared and confused; their bottom lips quivering. I grabbed the flag, wheeled to my left, straight into a tree. Nina ran in for the kill but with some assistance from a log, she trashed herself, ending up in a painful heap on the ground.

With bruised and aching legs I got up and hobbled off towards base, heroically throwing the flag to Jenny for the win as Leo and Jess emptied their beams of light into my mind and I suffered a quick and painless death.

Team Sharon came back with a  rematch win and then took the lead by winning a ‘Protect the General’ match twice in quick succession. It was 3 -2 to Team Sharon and Team Morris were on the ropes.

The gauntlet was thrown down: an all-or-nothing team death match. Winner takes all. And all was what we took. Half-naked and with a missing shoe, Eirian dashed through the undergrowth, shooting this way and that in a ballet of ballistics. He was greeted face to face by Sharon and a Mexican stand-off ensued as both tried to reload and go for the kill.

What happened next, we will never know. The subject is still a melting pot of controversy.

With the end nigh and the war of attrition coming to an end, Nina fought bravely on against overwhelming odds as she tried to take out Jason, Chloe and Jenny. But like Custer before her, Nina’s was an ultimately futile gesture. Jason put the Ginger Ninja out of her misery with a couple of shots to the noggin. Team Morris had won!

We took the long walk home, each of us with a thousand-yard stare, haunted by the horrors of war, our innocence lost, our bodies bruised and battered, but we were ultimately… alive.

To book your teambuilding day call now on 01834 862 406…. If you’re brave enough that is.

Categories:Activities, Steep Ravine, Team Building, Staff


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