Ratho Re-Opens

by Mick Ryan Ratho The Edinburgh International Climbing Arena(EICA) formerly known as the Ratho Adventure Centre re-opened last Friday (25th May). Managed by Edinburgh Leisure on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council the centre was the brainchild of Edinburgh climbers Rab Anderson, Duncan McCallum and architect David Taylor. It opened in September 2003, but due to bad workmanship ( a leaky roof), poor management and a lack of money the centre went into administration in March 2004. The centre cost £22 million and was fashioned round Ratho quarry. The City of Edinburgh Council bought Ratho and had to invest a further $6 million to overhaul the roof, the plumbing, improve parking and convert a scuba diving tank into a bouldering wall. Despite the increased popularity of climbing Ratho struggled as the nature of the walls was elitist. Now there is a new emphasis on beginner climbers and children, as well as great climbing for intermediate and advanced climbers. It also includes conference facilities that the management, under Graeme Gardiner, are pushing hard. Gardiner told BBC Scotland, “It was an incredible vision that didn´t want to compromise on quality and aspirations. It was just unfortunate that they ran out of money at a crucial time in order to complete the project. We will seek to address the balance between a conference centre and a sporting facility of excellence. In the past it was very much aimed at experienced climbers but now we are giving the opportunity to everyone to climb.” EICA will be hosting the finals of the BMC Youth Climbing Series (formerly known as the BRYCS) on Saturday 30 June 2007. You can find out more at: BBC Scotland online EICA-Ratho website Edinburgh Leisure website