EDINBURGH’S climbing centre is set to scale new heights by opening a £500,000 family-friendly attraction on Friday.
The Clip ‘n Climb will give everyone from the ages of four to 84 the chance to get climbing with the minimum of experience and without any substantial training.
It will allow children and families to climb a rainbow and complete mid-air puzzles while attached to a secure safety harness.
Until now, climbers using the centre had to be tied to a partner and first undergo an extensive three-hour training session.
But with the introduction of Clip ‘n Climb, they will be let loose on the walls after just a ten-minute safety briefing.
The new walls, which are designed to offer climbers a range of physical and mental challenges, are painted in bright colours and built in a variety of shapes.
The attraction, which was pioneered in New Zealand, is the first of its kind in Scotland and aims to get more people involved in climbing that have no previous experience.
Remko Plooij, director of operations at Edinburgh Leisure, which runs the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena in Ratho, said: “The beauty of Clip ‘n Climb is that unlike traditional climbing no previous experience or training is required, apart from our statutory ten-minute briefing at the start of each hour’s session.
“It offers the challenge of climbing in a safe, accessible environment and it really does appeal to everyone from four to 84 years and beyond – something the whole family can participate in.”
Participants will be clipped on to an automatic belay system while they climb, which works like a seat belt.
If a climber was to fall from the wall, they would be automatically lowered to the ground in a slow and safe manner.
The new attraction, which Edinburgh Leisure believes may also attract hen and stag parties, is currently in operation at climbing centres in Russia, India, the Middle East, United States and Australia.
Around 20 pupils from Ratho Primary School have been selected as the first to try out the new facility before it officially opens to the public on Good Friday.
Heather Tumblety, a P5 teacher who will be accompanying the pupils to the centre, said the youngsters were “ecstatic” about the prospect of taking part.
Ms Tumblety said: “We feel very lucky to be given this opportunity to try it out first. Even talking about it has made more of the children in our school want to get involved in climbing – and that’s without even trying it.
“These new, brightly coloured climbing walls will be great for the children’s problem solving skills, as well as engaging them in the activity.”
Clip ‘n Climb will officially open on March 25 – and prices start from £8 for a junior and £15 for an adult for an hour’s session.
The new concept has created seven new jobs at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena and adds to the existing facilities of a soft play, gym, cafe and the existing climbing walls.