Published: 31/01/2014 16:00 - Updated: 31/01/2014 12:06

Speyside climbing wall reaches new heights

SPORT and fitness in Moray is set to be taken to a whole new level when a new £50,000 climbing wall is unveiled in Speyside.

The new facility at Speyside Sports and Community Centre in Aberlour is to be launched at an open day between 10am and 4pm tomorrow (Saturday).

Local councillor Fiona Murdoch said it was a fantastic new facility for Speyside and Moray which will have great appeal to visitors and locals alike.

Supported by a number of funding bodies, community groups and the local public, the 7.3-metre-high wall is designed for both novice and experienced climbers, with several routes to choose from.

Equipment such as climbing shoes, harnesses and ropes are all available from the centre for anyone wishing to have a tasting session at the open day, while climbers will be on hand to give advice.

The day-to-day running and maintenance of the centre will be taken on by Moray Council, jointly through the school and the sport and community centre.

Councillor Murdoch, who represents the Speyside Glenlivet ward, said: “Outdoor adventure activities are growing enormously popular, and the climbing wall allows people to practise for the real thing as well as providing a new indoor sporting opportunity in its own right.

“I am sure the climbing wall will be a magnet for people of all ages to come to Aberlour to try this challenging new sport.”

Tomorrow’s launch will give people of all ages and abilities the chance to try out the facility. It will also include a talk by Kev Shields, who features on climbing and outdoor programmes, and regularly guides climbs.

The new wall replaces one built as part of the original school building in 1976, and has come about through the efforts of a steering group including representatives from the local community, Speyside High School and Speyside Sports and Community Centre.

Funding and support came from Moray LEADER, SportScotland, the Big Lottery Fund, Aberlour Community Association, William Grant & Sons, Glenlivet and Inveravon Community Association, Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire Mrs Clare Russell, and the local community.

The centre aims not only to provide a facility for the school and community, but to draw visitors to the area, where weather is often unsuitable for hill climbing.

It has a range of lead and bottom-roped routes that will be changed to maintain variety for regular users. Two dominating roof sections extend the length of routes by five metres, creating two of the longest horizontal roofs in Scotland.

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