During 2009 Nevenko and Nigel were given the idea of building a high ropes course on land just up from Nevenko’s house by a German couple who were staying in Nigel’s accommodation.
Once the rental season was over then Nevenko Bulić and Nigel Simpson (plus Nevenko’s son Marko), traveled to Wales and England experiencing the very best parks available. Thanks to these parks for the photos/videos which we used to make our original compilation video.
It was our aim to combine all the very best experiences and place them all here in Glavani village in the council of Barban, Istria for your adventure and enjoyment.
We wanted to supply the very best in excitement, leisure and relaxation and we wish to feed and refresh you with our excellent local food, wines, rakias all produced naturally.
We returned to Istria full of plans and ideas! It was November 2009 and we set our sights on opening for June 2011.
In December 2009 we had our architect design the park on our, already, urbanized land. Later in December the Barban council told us how excited they were by our plans and we put in for permission to expand our urbanized land and to change all the other land into “sports and recreation” land which will enable us to expand in the future.
The real work begins!
The outlying land, currently registered as woodland, measures about 4 hectares, 10 acres, in total. We immediately started clearing all the scrub leaving the healthier and larger trees so that they can grow and in the future provide much needed shade, a haven for the birdlife, and to conserve the natural woodland.
The land had huge piles of limestone rock on it and we spent days crushing this to use for roadways and pathways. We needed the rock to be very dry for this and the wind had to be in the right direction to avoid covering the local village in dust! So we had to wait for the right times to crush.
We were fortunate then to have a rock crushing machine (we later scrapped this to help pay for further construction of the park 2012), large diggers, front-loaders (JCB) and a large lorry. Huge amounts of work could be done by us which would normally have cost a great deal. Because we have so much land we also had a supply of materials which would normally have increased our outlay substantially.
We were given well over 1000 small juniper trees in a nearby village which we were asked to remove as it is registered building land. We were busy sawing these down in the winter 2010(leaving the nicer trees and different varieties for future landscaping) and, after cleaning the bark off the stems, we had plenty of posts to use for all the fencing we required. This was a very laborious process but – better than paying for it!
We also cut down 9 large oak trees which we took to the sawmill to make into planks. This we seasoned for the spring and summer before being used to build the platforms for the high ropes games and for other purposes around the park. The logs from all the branches were used for a variety of purposes too. We have kept some 4 metre long 30 cm diameter branches for use as benches, posts, and carpentry. The sawn logs will be used for heating and for the barbecue which we plan to have for evening cooking for park guests.
Of course, sometimes it rains and we have to continue working. So we have a workshop with carpentry machines ready to make the childrens rides, climbing frames, tables, and so on…
We started with some simple animals which are now on large springs so that the children bounce and wobble much to their parents delight.
During 2010 we found a family who had some very big pine trees in their garden which they wanted removing for safety reasons and in order to build a house there in the future. We cut these down ourselves and got them ready for transport.
We soon realized that the standard straight lorry of the length required to transport the (upto) 20m pine trees for the posts would not be able to approach or move about on the land where the trees lay. We had to convert a large trailer to fit behind the lorry which we already had. This was the only way to take such long cargo back to the adventure park site.
Fortunately, we had only a very small distance to travel and we were able to stop traffic at both ends of our journey so that the transporting was carried out very safely. We were able to load, transport and unload all the 32 trees in just 2 days.
When a tree becomes a post!
When a tree becomes a plank!
Talk about needing a lift!
All the posts were up and looking very high by the October of 2010! The team of constructors were going to be coming to Istria to put up all the platforms, wires and games in the next couple of weeks and we needed a way of getting them up the posts with the heavy oak planks! Usually, on trees, they are happy to climb with ropes and do all the work in their harnesses, however, these “trees” have no branches, no rough bark, are smoother with the preservative and the oak is definitely a lot heavier than the fir wood they are used to using.
So, as is usual for Nevenko and Nigel, it was agreed to build a “lifting platform”. It had to be a lot cheaper than having to hire one, we thought, plus we would be able to use it again and again in the future!
Of course, Nevenko, the engineer, knew how to make it and as time went on the plan got even better as we could put the platform on the back of the old lorry he still had. And, the hydraulic piston on the lorry could lift one half of the platform whilst the second piston he had in his garage could be used to lift the second half.
So all the steel required was bought in Pula along with two lifting motors and work began.
The welding of the two six metre long “arms” and of the “platform” was very quick and efficient. Two coats of paint were applied. The lorry was brought back to life and driven close to the electric point as soon as the container was removed. We had a week to go before the arrival of Charles and his workers, the constructors of the high ropes and games for our “Glavani Park.”
And then the problems began. Actually there was only one problem but it was a big one. The second piston half way up the lifting platform required the steelwork to be immensely strong and the angles very precise. When the platform was brought down in order for us to move the lorry from post to post we needed an angle of approx 30 degrees between the arms. When fully extended the angle is, of course, 180 degrees. This is a large arc for one piston and presented a big challenge.
The team arrived and started preparing and cutting all the oak planks into the 33 platforms, they cut up loads of the juniper we had earmarked for the fencing to use them for games, they prepared and cut all the lengths of wires for the games and zip wires.
All the time Nevenko and Nigel worked on the lifting platform. Unfortunately the team became ready for the platform before the correct strength and lifting angles had been successfully found! The team returned to their homes in Montenegro and would return once we succeeded.
Perseverance brings success!
It took ten days of extreme determination and a conviction that we would succeed to finally get this lifting platform to pass the tests we had set it in order to allow the team to use it. Please watch the video to understand the scale of the challenge. The final maximum height of the platform is nearly 14 metres, over 40foot!
Up we go!
Charles and his team returned from Montenegro one week later, witnessed first hand the stringent tests we applied for the lifting platform, agreed that they would use it for their assembling of the platforms and started!
Unfortunately the weather was atrocious for the first two days with seemingly never ending rain but we all worked through it. Maybe the resulting mud for the next five days was even worse!
Little more can be said except for a huge thanks to Charles and his hard-working Montenegrin employees. All the wires and platforms were erected within the “spider’s web” construction area within the week and we even got to put up the tower posts either end of the line of olives so that when Charles returned in the new year we could construct the huge towers and suspend the 113 metre zip line between them, stretched over the top of the olives!
So Nigel, for the new year was hard at work cutting more oak planks for these platforms and Nevenko was busy clearing all the land of machines, stored (for years) materials and leveling the “mud” so that, once the land dried, we could landscape the park, fence off all the areas for safety and security and, once we had insurance and “European standards Certificate” we could start to “use” our park!
We also had to erect our first fence around the 2 metre high platforms area where the steps up to the higher platforms were also found. We would use “the church of st. germany”, our entrance gate constructed by our German friends, as part of this fence. This finally was taken down in September 2014 as it had become “ugly” and out of place but we will never forget that it was because of our German friend that the park existed!