High hope of Glentress treetop adventure

A HIGH ROPES adventure trail could be up and running at Glentress by summer.

Developer Go Ape says it will take six weeks to set up the course, which involves scrambling on nets and ropes high above the ground, over 6.5 acres at the popular Peeblesshire forest.

The company formally submitted its application for planning permission to Scottish Borders Council earlier this month.

The company’s business development manager, Ben Davies, said: “We hope to be open for the summer, but we’re in the hands of the planners.”

The adventure company has 28 high ropes courses throughout the UK, including one working with the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), at Aberfoyle.

Mr Davies said: “The amazing thing about Glentress is we’re building in some lovely big Douglas firs. There is going to be some real height in the course. It will be on a steep-sided valley and we will have a couple of nice big ziplines over the valley. It will be the best of both worlds – you’ll get the amazing course on big trees and the two zip lines to finish.”

It will take three hours to complete and will include rope bridges, tarzan swings, scramble nets and many other challenges, he said.

An FCS spokesman said the move is part of the commission’s long-term plan to expand Glentress and make it one of the top visitor attractions in the country.

Writing in support of the planning application, FCS’s recreation and tourism manager, Hugh McKay, said: “It will provide a great opportunity for all family members to enjoy a healthy outdoors activity that is as fun for the adults as it is for the children.

“The adventure trail would have a very low environmental impact on the woodland. The structure of the course is non-invasive, causing no damage to the trees. The course will provide a valuable amenity for younger people locally, as well as bringing additional tourism benefits and employment to the wider local economy.”

He described the company’s safety record as “excellent” and said: “The course has been designed to fit well within the woodland so that it will complement the existing facilities at the site.”

Go Ape has also applied to put up a small reception and equipment building alongside the course.