I think I must have got it into my head that it would be much like the canopy tour at Lower Loxley Hall on the Archers — some gently swaying walkways to stroll along while examining the flora and fauna — so it was a butterfly moment when I was handed a climber’s helmet and some heavy-duty harnessing.
What we were about to do was to go zip-lining from tree to tree 100 feet off the ground, and me with a morbid fear of heights.
There were seven of us on our particular tour and me the only bloke, apart from our two guides, and I somehow found myself doing the gentlemanly thing and leading the way. The thing is though, once you’re hooked up to the line, you are not unhooked again until the end, so I was first off the launch platform every time.
We’d had our instructions from our guide, Distin, which was to launch ourselves into the unknown, enjoy the view and then apply the brakes (a leather-palmed welders mitt) before hitting the next tree.
The prospect of expensive dental surgery or worse rather deflected me from taking in the scenery, even if I had a mind to look down, although it wasn’t quite as lethal as I paint it since Distin had control of an emergency brake.
So there I was, sliding from one giant Outeniqua Yellowwood tree to another for a couple of hours. Several seconds of exhilarating speed followed by ten minutes spent on a vertiginous platform waiting for everyone else to make the leap.
I’m being curmudgeonly, of course. It was actually great fun. The longest and fastest slide is around 100 metres by which time I’d got the hang of it.
And if you do need to take your mind off the long drop below, you can always cling to the tree trunk and marvel at the construction of this monorail through the forest.