Since 2017, Urban Uprising has given hundreds of disadvantaged young people in the UK a first taste of climbing and seen confidence, self-reliance and resilience grow alongside their climbing skills. This Scottish charity runs courses for 10–18 year olds, mainly at indoor and outdoor climbing walls. In the spring and summer of 2022, with an award of £1960 from the SMT, they’ll also help more youngsters start climbing in Scotland’s great outdoors.
2022’s outdoor programme will run six one-day outings, each for up to ten young climbers who have been on the regular ten-week indoor programme in Edinburgh or Glasgow. They’ll be taken to an outdoor crag for a full day, with transport, food and instruction all included.
Warmups, belaying, top-roping and possibly abseiling are on the climbing menu. And there’s more to the day than just the crag. Many of the young people have never made it out to Scotland’s highlands and countryside, and Urban Uprising very much wants them to learn that Scotland’s mountains and landscapes are places to explore and enjoy.
In Strathearn, just south of Crieff, is a steep crag that’s ideal for this sort of learning day: Benny Beg is good for central belt access, has a pleasant setting, and offers steep 10-15m routes for climbers of most abilities. It’s a likely place for some of this summer’s outings. Each climbing day will be led by two instructors from ClimbScotland (part of Mountaineering Scotland) with the help of two of Urban Uprising’s own volunteer team, and people from the partner organisation that put forward the young people’s names. The partners work with disadvantaged and deprived communities, so they could be from a school, a youth club or another charity.
In the lockdown years, says Urban Uprising’s programme manager Ben Campbell, “the young people we support have suffered”. Ben believes climbing courses like this can help in all sorts of ways. As well as encouraging climbing skills and fitness, he expects them to “increase social connection; reduce loneliness and isolation; increase resilience to deal with difficulties and setbacks.”
“One day can make such a difference” is a comment from one of Urban Uprising’s ambassadors, pro climber Dave Macleod. There is a video from Dave on the group’s website:
and another from fellow ambassador Hazel Findlay at