The fastest zipline in the world!
Jo and I booked a long weekend off work and travelled to North Wales. We set off pretty early and arrived by lunchtime.
We were staying for a couple of nights in Betws-y-Coed which is a really nice village, close to Snowdon and about 30 mins away from the Zipworld location - perfect base for the weekend.
We grabbed a small bit of lunch and then set off to find the ziplining place.
The A5 from Betws-y-Coed to Penrhyn Quarry was pretty awesome. I was instantly impressed driving alongside the hills/mountains as where we live in Hertfordshire is pretty flat and the countryside is mostly farmers fields.
We found the place, parked up and went to the main building. We checked in and as we had a bit of time to spare, went up to the viewing platform to watch some other people coming down the zipline.
The main building has a couple of large balconies right next to a huge awesomely blue lake at the bottom of the quarry.
You hear the people coming before you see them! The zipline makes a buzzing sound for a few seconds before you see 2 people rocketing past. To be honest I was thinking this looked way bigger, higher and faster than I had imagined.
It was pretty chilly out there, first time since the summer I needed to crack out my beany and keep my bald head warm.
After about 10 mins we went inside to get ready for our ziplining experience.
First off they kit you out in your suit which a red jumpsuit setup. They strap you into your harness and helmet and run through a safety briefing.
Once that has been done they take you up to a smaller version of the zipline to have a practice run.
You go down in groups of two and they have a very well rehearsed routine of getting you into place and connected up to the zipline safely and everything is cross checked by another member of staff.
You ride the zipline head first facing down. There is brief wait at the top while you are left dangling looking down at the bottom. I remember think that, shit, this looks pretty high already and this is the baby version!
Anyways not alot I could do about it. Just hold on and enjoy the ride. Jo and I were going at the same time.
3,2,1 - go. All I heard was Jo screaming and swearing as we set off pretty fast. This small zip line goes over a few trees and a road in the quarry and was a reasonable distance off the ground and although it is only short, you still pick up a fair bit of speed.
Depending on your size and weight they either add tiny little parachutes to you harness if you are big or ask you to put your hands out at a certain marker point to slow you down.
So as we got near the bottom I had to move my arms from right by my sides, where they had been for most of the flight to directly outwards. I was under the assumption that I'd feel a large deceleration and then come slowly to a stop at the bottom. Nope, not the case. We came to the stopping part at what felt 5 times as fast as we should and I honestly thought for a split second, how the hell we going to stop, before the brakes kick in and you go from fast to a standstill in a second.
To release you from the line you have to go from lying horizontal to standing vertical, which was easier said than done and I was wobbling around for a few seconds while my legs caught up with what was going on.
After that bit is done you are off to a small hut to wait for everyone else to finish this warm up ride. We had a good few minutes to chat to the other people on the experience and there were a few Irish guys there on a work trip that were pretty funny, cracking jokes about the whole situation.
The next thing we did was get into a battered old quarry truck which had been kitted out with seats that drove you to the top of the large zipline.
The trip took about 15mins as the path was steep and narrow and the truck only did about 10 mph, bumping all over the place and feeling like it wouldn't make it around some of the corners.
The Welsh lady driving had pointed out a few landmarks to see on the way up, like the Snowdon range and the Menai Strait.
At the top it looked pretty high and the angle at which the zipline descends is quite large. We watched a few other people go down and then it was our turn.
Same procedure as on the small zipline except this time a bit more shiting yourself at the top!
Once you were strapped in and ready to go the wait at the top was much longer this time. I guess because there is a much longer cable.
The waiting was the worst part, plenty of time to think what could go wrong, which is probably why they do it!
3,2,1 - go, this time it was a bit different. The acceleration was much greater than on the baby line.
To start with you are travelling over the quarry rock maybe 10 meters below, then the floor of the quarry drops away sharply to reveal the lake beneath. This was a heart in mouth moment, suddenly we were like 60 meters higher than the water beneath.
Looking down at the huge lake I felt a weird feeling that I'd almost stopped moving even though I was probably doing about 90mph. This lasted for a brief few seconds before the landscape under you starts to change a bit and you feel the speed.
Same procedure as before. Stick out your arms, nothing happens and then arrive at the bottom going way faster than you think you should coming to the end.
Again another sharp slowdown to a stop, get off the line, wobble around all over the place, legs like jelly.
It was an awesome experience though! I'd highly recommend it.
That was the first day of our weekend adventure. The next day we were planning on getting up early to climb Snowdon, so was time to get back to the digs, check in, get a bite to eat at the local pub and get to bed early for an early start the next day.