Scottish Paraclimbing Club - Club of the Month, June 2023 | Every Body Moves

Scottish Paraclimbing Club - Club of the Month, June 2023

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We were easily 'roped in' to awarding June's Club of the Month to the Scottish Paraclimbing Club. This amazing team and it's members have reached 'new heights' in making climbing more inclusive, adaptive and accessible for the disabled community, so read on to hear more about why they 'rock' our world...

A young paraclimbing boy mid climb across and overhanging section. Both his arm are straight in front across his body, grabbing holds on top of the overhang His right knee is bent and right foot also on a hold above the overhang, left leg is straight and using a hold below the overhang. He is looking back down towards his instrcutor.

Based at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (Europe's largest indoor climbing centre), the Scottish Club was established in 2018 by Keith Lynch. Keith had encountered lower limb complications that subsequently required an amputation, following a sky diving incident. The club was his way of staying active and helping even more members of the disabled community access and enjoy climbing.

Fast forward to today and the club are leading the charge in paraclimbing, all thanks to a wide range of adaptive equipment alongside experienced instructors and volunteers tailoring participation to an individuals needs.

Speaking around the natural adaptive and inclusive nature of climbing, club member Iona Kendrick told us...

"Everybody can climb... it doesn't matter how fast you go, it doesn’t matter how slow. It’s just about, taking your time and doing what you would like to do."

Ian Flockhart, the club secretary, added to that sentiment. "You can set your own objectives... set your own targets. You can push it as hard as you want. If you really want to be completely scared at the top of a 30m wall, you can do that. If you only want to climb three or four metres into the air, you can do that too."

Side on photo of a paraclimber mid climb.

"We have blind climbers, climbers with MS, climbers with prosthetic legs, autistic climbers. If you want to be a member of the club... then come along and join."

The venue itself is also impressive and incredibly accessible, which many may struggle to believe when you learn it's housed in an old quarry. This sprawling metropolis of walls and features boast a range of ever evolving routes to suit all ability levels and style of climber, there truly is something for everybody.

From all the participants we spoke to, it quickly became clear that the positive and transformative impact of this inclusive and supportive environment on participants lives could be seen far beyond the doors of the club and the sport. “I’ve got more confidence”, said Iona . “Before, I was really, really shy and hardly ever spoke to anybody. But coming to the club, they’ve helped me to know that I can be myself and I can speak to more people. So that feels good.”

Also in attendance for our award hand over was Louise Gillespie, Regional Manager with Scottish Disability Sport, who praised the club on their achievements. “It’s fantastic that the Scottish Paraclimbing Club have received the Every Body Moves Club of the Month. It’s wonderful to recognise the hard work and commitment of the participants, coaches and volunteers at the EICA and also showcase the breadth of opportunities available for people with a disability across the East of Scotland.”

Upon receiving the award, Ian told us. " We're delighted to receive this award from Every Body Moves. Our members are passionate about climbing, and many of us have "found their sport" in climbing. It is such a rewarding sport, combining action and adventure with strength, balance, coordination, concentration and problem solving.  So we are delighted that this award will highlight climbing to a wider audience, and encourage other groups to start paraclimbing clubs in their area".

"It's great to get awards, but the main award that we get as volunteers is seeing climbers improve week on week, building confidence and make progression over the weeks that they keep coming here.

The club offer weekly Thursday night sessions for climbers of all abilities and impairments to get involved and become part of this amazing community. So be sure to check out this amazing club, or search for paraclimbing clubs in your local area, via the Every Body Moves inclusive activity finder.

Scottish Paraclimbing Club accepting their Every Body Moves Club of the Month award