Young climbing talent

Our spotlight now shines on the 2016 Scottish Paraclimbing Champion, Rebecca Gilchrist. 13 year old Rebecca from Rothes is an absolute inspiration.

How did Rebecca get into climbing?

Becca first got the "bug" for climbing when she had a taster session in P7 with Inveravon Primary School because the swimming pool was already being used! She absolutely LOVED IT! Following on from this she successfully completed her 'Introduction to Climbing' course with Tony Brown at Speyside Climbing Centre.

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When Becca first started climbing, she struggled to walk from the car park to the hall where the climbing wall is, as the pain in her legs was too much to cope with. Climbing does not come easy for her due to intense pain from her Fibromyalgia, which affects muscles, tendons and ligaments all over her body - they do not appreciate being used. She also has fairly bad asthma, hypermobile joints (especially her hips and ankles) which gives a real challenge with bouldering in particular, and Raynauds disease, so often cannot feel her fingers and toes.

Becca always has a ready smile for everyone and never lets on how much pain she is struggling with. She thinks the climbing community is a very very friendly one to be part of and she finds all the other paraclimbers to be wonderful and very inspirational.

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So Rebecca, what’s your favourite type of climbing?

Top roping indoors. I love the auto belay.

Why do you like climbing?

It's a sport I can manage. I don't really know why but I find it fun, and really like it.

Tell us a funny climbing story?

When I went climbing one time at Speyside Climbing Centre with Audrey and a few friends there, Kaitlin and myself were on a really easy route, but because the route was so easy we decided to make it a challenge, by doing games, like dancing up or playing 'Simon Says' while climbing. If we did something wrong, we had to do a forfeit, like go up to my parents and say I wanted to eat nothing but brussel sprouts until my next birthday, or sing a song like 'Singing in the Rain'.

* We hope you didn't have to eat too many brussel sprouts?!

What do you do when you’re not climbing?

I go to school, play video games, see my friends, go horse riding when I can and do my homework.

Do you have any advice for people thinking about becoming a paraclimber?

Just go for it and don't worry about where you come or what other people think, just have a go.

How's Rebecca's school life?

Becca now goes to Grantown Grammar School and loves it there. They do a fabulous job of nurturing their pupils and make school fun and a joy to be at. The headteacher and teachers are very enthusiastic about their jobs and this passes on down to the pupils. It is a school that should be proud of itself.

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Rebecca you are awesome!

Not only is Rebecca our 2016 Scottish Paraclimbing Champion, which is impressive enough, her love and attitude towards climbing, despite the challenges she faces, is truly inspiring. Rebecca is a credit to herself and the sport.

Find out more

  • If you think you or your child might like to give climbing a go, but have special needs and don't know how to get started, just ask for advice at your local climbing wall, or get in touch with the ClimbScotland team and we'll try to help point you in the right direction.

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