Three years of work, fund-raising and organisation came to a successful end last month (20th) with opening of the Gairloch Climbing Wall. This corner of Scotland has long been known for quality trad climbing and, more recently, it has gained a reputation as one of the best venues for sport climbing in Scotland (and possibly the UK). The one ingredient lacking was a venue where local climbers can train, where young climbers can cut their teeth and where visiting climbers can retreat when the weather turns. go further Scotland’s Paul Tattersall has been at the heart of the local campaign to get the wall built and pushed things forward at various times when all seemed bogged down in council red-tape.
The new wall has replaced an (almost) useless blockwork and cement ‘climbing’ wall in one corner and a blank blockwork wall in another. Hopefully, it shows the way forward for other venues in the Highlands and Scotland where vertical space can be utilised to make leisure centres hugely more appealing and useful. Perhaps with this success, more pressure can be put on Highland Council to follow this lead in other areas – such as Ullapool.
As well as giving everyone in the area a whole day to visit and try the wall, the opening included other activities including rope climbing, spinning and rowing. Climbing films were screened and stalls were provided by Tiso, Craigdon, the local mountain rescue team and local businesses. Volunteers provided a feast of baking and snacks and Gairloch High School provided much of the support and the additional space. The day was a fantastic success, where the whole climbing community came together to support what must be the best boost to climbing the area has yet seen. Thanks again to the companies and organisations who supported the project – Ineos, SportScotland, Highland Leader Fund, Great Wilderness Challenge have all contributed to the money raised by local community.
Everyone who came along had the chance to try the routes.
Local climbers with some of the team from Avertical World (Dundee) who built the wall.
Relaxing with tea, cake and a climbing video.
Some familiar faces. Local climbers – Steve and Ray from the local rescue team.
….and spinning tasters put on by Gairloch Leisure centre.
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