On the 27-28 November, 23 members of the Scottish Youth Climbing Team joined over 211 youth climbers from across the UK for the 2021 Youth Climbing Series Grand Finals at Parthian Climbing in Southampton

. For our Scottish youth climbers this was the first British National Youth Climbing Competition in well over 2 years; the last YCS Grand Final was March 2019 and of course we had the SYCC in September 2019, but since then it has been pretty much tumble weed as far as British national level youth climbing competitions go.

For youth climbers to keep up their enthusiasm, psych and climbing training, through a global pandemic, with climbing walls closed for many, many, months was a really big ask, and so our expectation and focus for this YCS was to bring Scottish Youth Climbers together and having fun. Turns out we have a very self-motivated, psyched and resilient bunch of Scottish Youth Climbers on our hands… and what we perhaps hadn’t fully realised was just how hard each of these youth climbers had been independently training at home over the pandemic. As we went through the regional rounds, it appeared that something special was happening.

The change in format allowed for the North and South Scotland climbers to compete together through the regional rounds for the first time; which meant some long journeys for our friends from the north (thank you guys, fingers crossed for The Ledge next year!). However, the big advantage of this change was that we were all able to access specialist boulder venues and really prepare our young climbers for the YCS Grand Final format; by competing together against the best young climbers in Scotland, everyone was able to make new friends and get some strong competition experience.

Journeys to YCS Grand Final

With storm Arwen blowing in, quite a few Scottish folk had epic journeys to get to Southampton. Ironically, the Orkney Crew were the first to arrive! Fionn travelled on the sleeper train and was shunted to Rugby after a catastrophic locomotive failure and 3 hours stopped in the middle of the tracks, Scott’s plane from Edinburgh was cancelled, and he had to reschedule via Heathrow and get a hire car; Scarlett’s plane was cancelled and they drove through the night to get to Southampton; Cammy’s flight from Glasgow was cancelled, he reschedule for a Saturday morning flight which was then delayed, and he finally landed in Southampton at 2pm on Saturday, just in time for him to get to the wall for his 4pm start time (and he still finished his first day on routes in an impressive 4th place!).

The YCS Grand Final

With the covid restrictions in place the Scottish kids were all climbing at different times, and we were unable to have a team gathering or a team photograph; but with the help of a parent led WhatsApp group, the whole team, parents and volunteers were able to support each other through every stage of the journey on and off the wall and feel part of a very special Scotland YCS Team 2021.

Quote from volunteer Director of ClimbScotland and parent, Lucy Fraser:

“I am so very proud of the whole Scotland Team, who showed such fantastic sportsmanship and team support – you are all amazing ambassadors for our sport! I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next year brings, with all this Scottish youth climbing talent and fantastic support from across Scotland, there’s no limit to what we can all achieve together. Big, big, thank you to all of our volunteers and parents for everything you do to support our Scottish youth climbers – without you none of this would be possible.”

Quotes from other parents:

“Brilliant results – all the kids have done so well this weekend! Super proud of them all!

Alasdair Mclean

“I personally want to say how lovely it is to see time and time again how you Scottish kids support one another. You are not only great climbers but amazing role models. Huge congratulations to all of you and big thanks to Scott and the team!” 

Vicki Mulhearn

“Brilliant results from everyone today, Team Scotland knocked it out of the park!” 

Gail Adair

“Well done everyone, fantastic efforts and it was awesome to watch.” 

Keith Lynch

“We’ve been watching the CS live feeds on facebook. Well done for being the noisiest team! And for all the amazing results too.” 

Andrea Partridge

“Absolutely fantastic result Team Scotland” 

Ian Rendall

“Lovely to share the experience with you all and I think our team support was first class! Look forward to seeing you all soon.” 

Jill McNicol

Previous Results

3rd Place Team result was an incredible achievement. The last time Scotland did better than 3rd, was in 2008 when Scotland South placed 2nd as a region. To give that a bit of context in in 2008 Will Bosi was in Category D! The team have come 3rd on a number of other occasions since then: Scotland North were 3rd in 2009 & 2010; and Scotland was 3rd as a region in 2018.

Competition photos can be found here and also here courtesy Ian Lawler from Dublin Cliffhangers.

Thank you!!!

Massive thank you to Zoe at BMC/GB Climbing for organising the Grand Final.
Thank you to Parthian Climbing Southampton for hosting. Your venue and holds are awesome!!!
Thanks again to BDO for sponsoring the Scottish YCS Regional rounds.
Specially thanks and credit to Lucy Fraser for the above report.