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Saturday, 26 July 2014

New bouldering wall opens in former Carlisle factory

One of the country’s biggest bouldering walls could make Carlisle a Mecca for the region’s climbers.

Katie Mundy  photo
Katie Mundy scales the wall

Bouldering is the latest climbing craze and it does not involve a rope or a great height.

Eden Rock opened on Monday in the former Carlisle Window Systems building in Brunel Way, on Durranhill Industrial Estate, creating two full-time and 10 part-time jobs.

Michael Stainthorpe, 26, from Newcastle, and Katie Mundy, 29, who lives off London Road in Carlisle, are behind the venture.

There is a 4m-high wall to clamber around and crash mats if climbers fall.

Mr Stainthorpe said: “You can climb up but the idea behind bouldering is to climb in all directions. It’s a combination of a physical and mental challenge.

“It’s much more accessible than traditional climbing because of the lack of ropes. You can turn up with a pair of climbing shoes and some chalk.

“Even if people have no experience, we can hire them the equipment they need and give them some training.”

He worked on a bouldering wall while at university in Sheffield and asked his friend Katie if she would be interested in setting one up in Cumbria.

“The investment is quite large so it took quite a while to bring together the investors,” he added.

“It was a shell when we took over the building so we had to do a lot of work and we put in a huge window at the front.”

There is a cafe at the 13,000sq ft centre, one of the biggest of its kind in the UK.

More than 50 people paid to climb in the first two days of opening with some climbers travelling from Whitehaven.

“I much prefer to climb outside when I can but you can’t really do that in wet weather and there is a lot of rain in Cumbria,” said Mr Stainthorpe.

“People have given us a lot of good feedback about the wall already.”

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