Inspirational amputees form new group at Edinburgh Climbing Arena

Corrine Hutton abseiling  amuptee climber
Corrine Hutton abseiling amuptee climber
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Standing at the foot of imposing 25 metre high walls pockmarked with tiny handholds and strung with ropes would be a daunting sight for most.

But in a first for Edinburgh, a new group of amputee climbers will clip into harnesses and face the challenge head on.

The brainchild of quadruple amputee Corinne Hutton, Finding Your Feet charity aims to give amputees and those born with limb differences the chance to explore their adventurous side.

A new monthly climbing group at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena has now launched after a £2,000 donation from city law firm Slater and Gordon.

Corinne, who survived sepsis in 2013 but had to have both her hands and legs amputated following the battle, said life after losing a limb doesn’t have to be boring.

She said: “I like challenging myself, but also showing other amputees that life after limb loss isn’t just sedentary and dull. “The word “disability” has a lot of negative connotations and we’re trying to change that by creating these environments.

“Climbing is a daunting task in itself, and losing a limb – or four in my case – doesn’t make it any easier. The challenging part of it is essential for the charity, because it shows amputees that they can do things like this. It’s important that we have the great facilities of Edinburgh International Climbing Arena to make sure everyone is safe.

The mum-of-one was given less than a five per cent chance of survival after a suspected fever was diagnosed as acute pneumonia, flooded lungs and Streptococcal virus A causing sepsis that ravaged her body. The price for her survival was losing four limbs but she said sport really aided her rehabilitation.

Corinne added: “Pushing yourself to go out of your comfort zone and try new things gives you a massive confidence boost. It’s important to set your own goals rather than letting other people tell you what your limits are.”

The charity has already built a strong network of amputees in Glasgow and Dundee and Corinne is confident the Edinburgh group will be a success.

Slater and Gordon solicitor Sarah McWhirter, who volunteers for the charity, said: “I went to an event hosted by Finding Your Feet and was sitting with an older lady. I was surprised when she started telling me about abseiling. I could see people had a new lease of life and it was just so inspiring.

“Finding Your Feet is so positive. What we love about them is that they show amputees what they can do, not what they can’t.”

Sarah and her colleagues will also be taking part in a sponsored climb of Arthur’s Seat later this year to raise funds for the charity.

The team will scale the local landmark 18 times – a total of 90km – to match the distance being climbed by Corinne, who is scaling Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro in September to raise money for the charity.

For more information visit www.findingyourfeet.net.