Eskbank boy climbs the walls to make GB squad

While most kids have been ‘climbing the walls’ during the pandemic, one Eskbank boy has excelled at the growing sport by making the GB Development Squad.

By Kevin Quinn
Monday, 31st January 2022, 5:00 am
Charlie Wardrop (11) from Eskbank represents Loanhead-based Eden Rock.
Charlie Wardrop (11) from Eskbank represents Loanhead-based Eden Rock.

Despite only starting climbing in late 2019 at Eden Rock at Edgefield Industrial Estate in Loanhead, Charlie Wardrop (11) has excelled in the Olympic recognised sport, winning the UK Youth Climbing Series Grand Final in Southampton in November after also winning the Scottish regional final.

His proud mum Gosia said: “We are really proud of him. He has worked so hard at it.

"He is so dedicated to the sport. He is part of the youth squad at Eden Rock who meet once or twice a week, but we go there once or twice more a week as well, I feel like I live there!

Charlie Wardrop won the Youth Climbing Series Grand Final in Southampton late last year to qualify for the GB National Development Squad.

"We had been told he was really good at climbing but we weren’t sure how good, and he absolutely blew them away down in Southampton, winning both the roped climbing and bouldering competitions.

"There are 12 boys from across the UK who have been selected. He has met quite a few of them at competitions but he will meet them properly in February.

"It’s a really nice group. He talks to them on Instagram. They share videos and information about what they are doing. It’s all very friendly and nice.”

Charlie competes in roped climbing - getting as high up the wall as possible - and bouldering climbing, which involves shorter, more physical or technical climbs, with climbers navigating a series of ‘problems’ to score points.

Sporty Charlie was also, until recently, a gymnast at Lasswade Gymnastics Club and has represented Scotland in that sport, but is now focusing on climbing.

Gosia added: “He got into climbing by accident. We realised Eden Rock was opening so we signed him and his older sister up for classes over the school holidays. He absolutely loved it and was talent scouted by the coaches, who knew he was going to be something special at that stage.

"Last summer he said he wanted to reduce his gymnastics commitments to concentrate on climbing to make the GB team and now he has done it. So it’s amazing.

"It’s in two-year age ranges, youth A, B, C and D. Last year he was D for 10 and 11 year olds. Now he has moved to C, which is for 12 and 13 year olds, because he turns 12 this year.

"Throughout the year there are 10 competitions, including four bouldering competitions and four roped competitions.

"When he moves up the next stage in two years time he can go into European competitions.

"There is one international competition in Austria he could do now but we don’t think he is ready for it. It’s a really tough age group that he has just started so he needs to get used to it first. He’ll definitely be ready for Austria next year.”