Not only is it Europe's largest climbing arena, the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena also manages to successfully combine the outdoor and indoor. Built into the side of a disused quarry, it offers natural rock faces alongside artificial surfaces. This impressive architectural feat, designed to blend into the rolling hills of Ratho, to the west of Edinburgh, was built with funding from The National Lottery.
Unsurprisingly, the arena is popular with visitors from near and far, of all levels of experience. “We get a variety of people – lots of expert climbers and real enthusiasts, but also vast amounts of novices,” says the general manager. The benefits are more than just physical, as well as being a great sport for developing fitness, climbing is a fantastic way to build confidence, as you get higher and higher. It also develops trust and teamwork – there’s always someone holding the rope at the bottom.”
Fortunately, the centre is equipped to cater for all, with more than 200 routes to choose from. There’s also a bouldering room, gym, fitness suites and a spa, complete with a jacuzzi nestled into the quarry wall. And real thrill-seekers can brave the world’s largest aerial assault course, suspended 100ft above the arena floor.
The Centre is keen to promote active, healthy lifestyles from an early age. It’s regularly used by schools and youth groups, and has the ‘Scrambles’ soft play area for young children. It also runs sessions for groups of disadvantaged and disabled young people.
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