TEAM GB ice climber, Andy Turner, is swapping Sochi ice for Kinlochleven rock today to open an unique outdoor climbing activity that is the first of its kind in Scotland.
Celebrating with fellow climbers, many of whom are dressing in kilts for the occasion, Turner will officially open Via Ferrata Scotland by cutting a giant ribbon and bow running across a gorge at the activity’s waterfall location.
The launch event is expected to be attended by funders and supporters of the new venture including Highlands and Islands Enterprise, VisitScotland, West Coast Communities Growth Trust (administered by Foundation Scotland) and sponsors Petzl.
The new Via Ferrata takes up residency at Scotland’s third largest waterfall, the stunning 90metre high Grey Mare’s Tail in Kinlochleven, near Glencoe. Latin for Iron Way, the Via Ferrata consists of 450 metres of metal staples and cable bridges.
Accessible and challenging, participants on the guided only adventure activity are permanently attached to a safety cable making it as safe as possible yet exhilarating. It is suitable for ages ten-plus. Via Ferratas date back to World War One when they were used to help soldiers across the Alps.
Andy Turner, one of the UK’s best climbers, manages, coaches and climbs for the GB Ice Climbing Team. He has just recently returned from Sochi Winter Olympics where ice climbing was showcased as part of the cultural programme.
Andy said: “I’m delighted to be asked to open such a fantastic addition to the UK’s climbing scene. The Via Ferrata will provide novice climbers the opportunity to experience the challenge and exhilaration that climbing can bring. Plus, experienced climbers will enjoy the opportunity to access what was previously an unreachable climbing spot. The view is stunning at the top.”
Ben Starkie, director for Via Ferrata Scotland added: “After fours years of getting this project off the ground, I am delighted that Via Ferrata Scotland will officially open today. A massive thanks goes to the local community, our sponsors and funders for the support in making this project happen.
“I am expecting to see around 500 visitors to the attraction in its first summer. It is set to be a great asset for Scottish adventure tourism and we hope it will bring many benefits to the local economy.”
For more information please contact:
PR account manager – VFS
Note to picture editor:
IMAGES RELEASED AT 2.30PM 28TH MARCH.
Notes to editor:
VFS is sponsored by Petzl and part funded by West Coast Communities Growth Trust administered by Foundation Scotland. It is also supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and land owner Rio Tinto. VFS aims to provide an all year round sustainable adventure activity using the most up to date technical climbing equipment.
Guided trips only. Price for a guided trip on the Via Ferrata is £65 per head with discounts for families and groups
VFS aims to be accessible yet challenging for people with a wide range of climbing abilities.
Is the Via Ferrata for me?
Yes if you are:
* Physically and mentally able to be comfortable in this sort of outdoor environment
* Comfortable with heights and exposure
* Ready to get over your fear of heights and exposure!
* Over ten years of age and over the height of 1m 30m.
About Ben Starkie (director Via Ferrata Scotland):
About Kinlochleven: www.kinlochleven.co.uk
Outdoor Capital of the UK: www.outdoorcapital.co.uk
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Contact: Pauline Clifford