New climbing centre coming to Kilmarnock

Awesome news from Kilmarnock! The new climbing centre has been granted it's funding and is ready go. ClimbScotland Sports Developement Officer Kevin Howett and RDO Robert, went down to check out the final plans.

Based out of the mainly disused Grange Church in Kilmarnock town centre, local charity Above Adventure have an amazing vision for the future with a huge new climbing centre.

We met up with Dean Pastulovic, project manager, and Danny Hodgson from Entre Prises (wall manufactueres who have won the tender to build the walls). Dean explained why it started, “The charity was formed in 2013 and using the powerful tool of learning to climb, our mission was to improve the health & wellbeing of the most disadvantaged individuals & communities of Ayrshire - disadvantaged through deprivation, disability or circumstance (e.g. in care or young carers). We started running our own youth climbing sessions,to raise aspirations and provide the skills for each to make positive choices, promoting a healthier, happier & more inclusive lifestyle."

To meet those aims Above Adventure had the ambitious goal of having their own climbing centre based in Kilmarnock and, working with Mountaineering Scotland for the past 6 years on designs and funding applications, it would become an inclusive Regional Level 2 Climbing Hub that would cover Ayrshire and the south west Coast of Scotland.

Dean explains, "The centre will help us engage with the local communities to promote health and wellbeing and tackle childhood obesity as well as breaking down the barriers of inclusion and promoting and changing perceptions of disabilities through climbing."

Having found the old Grange Church was potentially available to build a climbing centre in, the plans began in earnest. Running their climbing sessions to raise the money for this ambitious idea, while they worked with SportScotland, Mountaineering Scotland and Enter Prises to create the designs and the business plan. Mountaineering Scotland have helped Above Adevnture plan the project to fit the requirements to become a Level 2 Regional Hub.

A Level 2 Regional Hub will support an increase in participation through recreational climbing. It will act as a vital tool for encouraging the introduction of climbing to young people and a start on the climbing pathway that can lead to life-long participation and future job opportunities in the sector.

*Designs below may change

A centre like this will be able to host ClimbScotland youth competions, like the ClimbScotland Fun Comp and the Youth Climbing Series, but also the Mountainneering Scotland Scottish National Bouldering League. It can be a facility for sport-specific training (technique and physical) that are not available in the area and offers a suitable venue for developing coaching climbing from novice to elite through Mountaineering Scotland Workshops.

When will it open?

Having already done a huge amount of work to raise some of the funds for the massive £2.4 million project, there was still a long way to go coming into 2019. However March brought amazing news as the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, in partnership with East Ayrshire Council, awarded the project the remaining £1.5 million they needed.

As of last month Above Adventure are proud to be able to say they have secured the funding they need to build their new climbing centre. Another stroke of good news came last month as they secured the ownership of the church, which will mean the planning process and building works will become a whole load easier, and well, no rental costs.

The plan is to start construction on the bouldering wall area first and to have that open by 2020 in time to watch the Olympics in the café while you boulder. Construction of the main roped walls will be a much larger task that will take a little more time but a live feed into the café will let you watch the progress as it happens.

What will it look like?

The following final designs from Danny at Entre Prises give a good indication of the scale and styles of wall that will be available. The bouldering wall will feature around 260m² of climbing in a fully matted room, with angles and grades for all abilities.

The roped walls will have around 1000m² of wall, with a beginner area with top ropes and autobelays, an advanced area with long lead climbs and steep walls, and a few features specifically designed for para climbing.

There will be a function room and a cafe as well as a training room.

When the new centre is fully open to the public there will be a huge range of sessions available through the centre:
  • Taster sessions
  • Introduction to climbing
  • Learn to Lead
  • NICAS classes
  • Youth climbing club sessions
  • and more

We are psyched to see all the work coming together over the next few months, and look forward to popping in for a climb when they open the doors for teh first time!

To find out more about the centre, or to volunteer for Above Adventure, as a climbing instructor or just volunteer for their outreach programmes, please get in touch with them direct at

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