Ratho quarry to be turned into £10m surfing centre

A Wavegarden facility in Spain, similar to the one proposed for the Ratho site. Picture: comp
A Wavegarden facility in Spain, similar to the one proposed for the Ratho site. Picture: comp
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A disused quarry would become an unlikely mecca for surfers from around the UK under bold plans to create an outdoor adventure hub on 
derelict industrial land.

The proposal, which is estimated to cost more than £10 million, would see the Craigpark Quarry pit near Ratho transformed into a huge artificial lake and the creation of an “adventure leisure destination”.

Scott Brewster and business partner Andrew Hadden hope to use revolutionary wave technology developed in Spain to create wave after wave of pristine “peelers” at the flick of a switch. Nowhere in the UK currently has a Wavegarden system, although two sites in Snowdonia and Bristol are already under construction.

Surf Snowdonia in the Conwy Valley is being built at a cost of £7.7m and promises 60 jobs when completed, meaning any development on the scale proposed at Ratho would likely generate tens of millions of pounds of investment.

Mr Brewster said the site could become a major destination for outdoor thrill-seekers, with space for biking and a network of zip wires suspended over the water.

He said: “Some people may raise their eyebrows at cold-water surfing in Scotland, but it is an ever-growing sport and wetsuit technology has advanced to a degree that opening for at least seven out of 12 months per year is viable.

“There will also be facilities for more formal camping – or glamping – where accommodation pods, instead of tents, are already there when you arrive. We don’t want to over-develop the site and would prefer to retain a natural, escapist feel.

“We looked at various watersport facilities, but the Wavegarden just struck a chord. It just seemed unique, had a ‘wow’ factor and we’re keen to investigate it further.

“We look forward to consulting with the local community on our vision for this country park. The project has the potential to create strong social, economic and health benefits to the local and national community, as well as providing a world-class leisure and training facility for surfers of all ages and abilities.”

Mr Brewster said Ratho could become an outdoor adventure hub, with the proposed country park located next to the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena and open-air climbing facilities in other nearby abandoned quarries.

His firm, Tartan Leisure Ltd, expects to submit proposals for outline planning consent in March of next year. Plans have already been submitted separately by Cala for around 100 homes in one corner of the site.

Local councillor Ricky Henderson welcomed the “imaginative and ambitious” proposals.

He said: “What an opportunity for young people in Edinburgh. Not a lot of young people in Scotland can say they have a surfing facility on their doorstep. There’s some wonderful potential there.”

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com