New kids on the rock

Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre and the Glasgow Gorillas teamed up to offer an amazing week of adventure for some lucky kids from Glasgow.

Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre hand-picked a few of their most impressive youngsters to embark on a week of learning and adventure. They covered everything from basic skills to multi-pitch trad climbing, topped off with a club day with the Glasgow Gorillas.

What is YDAS week?

Throughout the year Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre works with thousands of children from around Glasgow, who are introduced to a wide range of outdoor activities, one of which is climbing. It goes without saying that every now and again a star comes through the mix, someone who has the natural skills for climbing or the perfect attitude to learn. The Youth Developement in Adventure Sports (YDAS) week was designed to offer these young 'climbers-in-the-making' the chance to experience all that climbing has to offer and teach them the skills required to be safe and have fun. The YDAS week introduced them to indoor and outdoor climbing and taught them the basic skills needed for both.


The Program

The week started with two full days climbing in the indoor climbing wall at the centre. Here the children were given an intensive couple of days learning everything they need to know to pass their NICAS Levels 1 and 2.


Over the two days they were introduced to the basic indoor climbing skills, filling out log-books, and given an introduction to lead climbing. They also started getting some movement coaching. They focused on perfect practice, climbing calls and basic movement, to prepare them for the next stage in the week...


YDAS 18 ...going outdoors!

Here they were able to put their new skills to the test at Benny Beg. On a perfect sunny day team YDAS descended on the crag for a taste of some real rock. Throughout the day they climbed loads, and were given their first taste of an abseil before moving on to learn a whole new skill set - trad climbing.

Put to the test the kids were given the chance to lead, belay and second their first trad route. Being shown how to belay for trad climbing, and remove gear was a bit of a step up from the start of the week but they all took it in their stride. To top it all off they moved on to placing their own gear on some ghost leads, which are lead climbing with the safeguard of a top rope.

After an intense three days of climbing and learning, the team relaxed with an awesome adventure film night. A chance to get some much needed r'n'r before Thursday's epic adventure.

Early Thursday morning the team travelled up to Glen Nevis for their final day of learning. Here they would put all they had learnt to ultimate test. Some multi-pitch climbing at Polldubh on Ben Nevis has got to be the highlight of the week for these young climbers.

Meeting the Gorillas

One of the main elements of the YDAS week is providing a pathway for the new climbers to continue climbing and learning new skills after the week has come to an end. Blairvadach and the Glasgow Gorillas teamed up to offer this pathway.

The Glasgow Gorillas are a youth focused climbing club in Glasgow. They aim to get young people outdoor climbing at a variety of venues across Scotland, teaching them how to enjoy outdoor climbing safely.


Team YDAS met up with the Glasgow Gorillas at Auchinstarry to introduce the kids to the club and show them what joining the club can offer. The kids met each other in the morning and straight away went climbing together on some the best lines in the quarry.


YDAS Week 2017 was brilliant, with some inspiring young climbers learning to do some inspiring things. With such an intense week of training, learning basic indoor skills, NICAS 1&2, climbing calls, leading, trad climbing and multi-pitching, these four youngsters from Glasgow were put through their paces but impressed every step of the way.

Now, after such an amazing week we are looking forward to seeing these kids climbing together in the Glasgow Gorillas, developing their skills, learning new things and enjoying their climbing.

Supported by

A massive thank you to Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre for the work they have put in to making this week a success. Thank you to Glasgow City Council for the funding and support throughout the process. Thank you to the Glasgow Gorillas for taking the kids on to let them continue their climbing journey.


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