Throwback Thursday – Ice Climbing

Kinlochlevin, October 2010 – Indoor Ice Climbing

Back in 2010 a group of us went to Scotland to walk the West Highland Way. Starting in Milngavie, the route takes you 96 miles, across beautiful landscapes, to its finish at Fort William. We had a fantastic, if sometimes testing, week.

Along the way, we spent a night in Kinlochlevin, a village at the head of Loch Levin. The Ice Factor has been open in Kinlochlevin since 2003 and offered something I had never tried before; indoor ice climbing. It was time for a micro-adventure!

To The Wall!

Upon arriving at the centre our instructor kitted us up and gave us a safety talk. Used to climbing harnesses and belays, the crampons and ice axes were foreign to me. Suddenly feeling weighed down and surrounded by towering walls of ice, I began to feel a little nervous.

I needn’t have, however, as what followed was 1.5 hours of exhilarating fun! We learnt to trust the tiny points of crampons and axes to hold us to the wall. And if they didn’t, well, that’s what the ropes and harnesses were for. The only really hairy moment was when one of the climbers dropped an ice axe from near the top of the wall. That made us all move fast; you really are not supposed to do that!

Although I had done some climbing before you don’t need to have to try ice climbing here. It really does make a great addition to the West Highland Way. If you have  a little extra time you can also have a go on their rock climbing wall – go on, pack the adventures in!

Our accommodation was at the Blackwater Hostel, which I would recommend. A couple of us were in the hostel accommodation and two more stayed in the lodge pods. It was friendly, clean and welcoming.

Where else?

If you aren’t heading to Scotland any time soon, fear not! Vertical Chill run indoor ice climbing walls in Manchester and London. Try it, you might like it…and it is definitely one to tell your friends about!

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