Published on : Friday, June 24, 2016
Three Wise Monkeys Climbing recently opened in a renovated church in Fassifern Road, Fort William, and is already proving a huge hit with visitors to the Outdoor Capital of the UK.
The facility – which has launched in Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design – includes a climbing and bouldering centre in the middle of the town and is available to anyone from beginners to experienced climbers alike. It has a bouldering wall, roped climbing wall, climbing shop, café and offers courses, coaching, yoga and sports massage.
With an estimated five million climbing wall user visits in the UK each year*, this is a rapidly-expanding market and the new centre offers the ideal place to spend rainy days in the Highlands, with climbing-based activities for all ages and abilities. It is open all year round, from 7am till 10pm, so is a positive addition for the local tourism industry as it will be open outwith the traditional tourist season of April to October.
The £1 million transformation of Mackintosh Memorial Church into a climbing centre was made possible thanks to an innovative crowdfunding campaign which raised over £43,000 – currently the largest amount raised for any climbing related crowdfunding campaign – through 644 global contributers.
Lochaber has become widely known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK and Fort William is the largest populated settlement lying in the area, renowned for its wilderness and natural beauty. Fort William is typically famed for its proximity and connection to Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK.
The many attractions of Lochaber include:
Dan Timmis, Business Development Manager at Three Wise Monkeys Climbing, said:
“We’re really excited to have a climbing centre open, right in the centre of Fort William.
Lochaber has such a strong reputation and rich history of climbing, which continues to draw climbers from all over the UK and much further afield, every year.
“Having a dedicated climbing centre that is open from 7am until 10pm everyday means that no matter the weather, climbers can come to chill out, climb and socialise whenever they’re visiting the area.
“Don’t worry, it’s not just for dedicated climbers. Indoor climbing at 3 Wise Monkeys also offers a fantastic wet weather, early morning or late night activity for anyone visiting the area. No matter your experience level, there’s something for everyone – from first time climber, to expert coffee drinker!”
Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director said:
“This business has only been open a matter of months and is already proving very popular with visitor, many from outwith Lochaber.
“This project is a perfect fit for 2016, Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, as it has brought a derelict old church with architectural gems back to life, with clever and innovative design. People may come to Scotland for the history, but they leave inspired by the modern and contemporary.
“Without tourism many remote communities would not be sustainable and businesses like food and drink, outdoor activities, retail or construction would be severely impacted.
“Tourism is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow – for every £50,000 spent by visitors, a new job is created in Scotland.”
Earlier this year, VisitScotland launched its biggest ever global campaign and social movement – Spirit of Scotland. The campaign is built on extensive research that shows the people think Scotland has a unique spirit – whether it’s the magic of the landscapes or the warmth of the people.