THERE are no two ways about it – like it or not, you’re going to get wet. Welcome to the newest high-octane visitor attraction in the Lothians, what is said to be Europe’s first over-water rope course.
There are no safety harnesses here, just a plunge into the icy waters below to break your fall.
Somewhere between an assault course and hit TV show Total Wipeout, visitors to Dunbar’s Foxlake activity centre navigate their way over some 22 obstacles, each two metres above water. Operational director James Barbour, 48, says: “I’ve been on the course already about five or six times to do staff training, but a lot of that has been spent in the water.”
The park, which opened in summer last year, was the first cable tow wakeboarding centre in Scotland. It’s like water skiing on a surfboard. And so far, more than 3000 people have tried out this Olympic sport hopeful.
The new attraction is appropriately called Foxfall.
“Visitors get kitted out in full diving suits, shoes, helmets and buoyancy aids,” says James.
“They’re given a safety briefing and then they’ve got about an hour to go around the Foxfall obstacle course.
“That gives most people the chance to go around the course a couple of times.
“There is no harness so if you fall off, then you fall into the water. The safety mechanism is the water, so water is your friend in this course.”
The course took six weeks to build, starting in the middle of May this year.
James, who quit his building business firm to run the Foxlake centre, adds: “Foxfall has been described as pioneering because it’s the only one like this in the country and that’s really exciting for us.
“All visitors finish with a splash thanks to the 40-metre zip line at the end of the course. That way everyone ends up in the water.”
The original Foxlake venue was the brainchild of North Berwick trio James, brother Duncan, and school friend Alex Dale. Out walking on Alex’s farm three years ago, the friends were looking at potential uses for the land.
James explains: “About eight years ago he had excavated the lake but hadn’t done anything more.
“In 2010 we were out walking and ended up at the lake and started talking about ways we could use it.
“I’ve been a keen waterskier for about 30 years so I’d heard
of wakeboarding but hadn’t tried it. But when I did I was hooked.”
Brothers James and Duncan set up Foxlake and are now leasing the land from Alex.
Wakeboarding looks like a cross between water skiing and surfing.
It began in the 1980s and was so-called because of the use of boats. Now technology has moved on and Foxlake uses a cable system which is human operated. Two cables run overhead with two stanchions at either end of the lake supporting the cable and a rope hangs down, towing users.
James adds: “Around 60 per cent of our visitors are children from the likes of school groups, community groups and Scouts.
“But we get a lot of stag and hen parties and corporate groups, too. Adults love it as much as the children.”
Over the winter it expanded from its one original
wakeboarding tow, and as well as the new Foxfall obstacle course, also opened a second wakeboarding tow.
• To book, contact Foxlake on 01368 863 615 or visit www.foxlake.co.uk.