Gym scales new heights

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TWO keen climbers who transformed a disused Brighouse flour mill into an indoor climbing gym are aiming high after securing extra funding.

Business partners Euan Noble and Leigh Topping opened ROKT Climbing Gym in the former Sugden’s Mill in April and have already signed up more than 6,000 members in eight months.

They now hope to further their plans of creating one of the largest indoor climbing walls in the UK.

To help them do that they have secured an undisclosed Enterprise Finance Guarantee Loan from NatWest.

The funding will be used to create new climbing features including a large penthouse bouldering chamber that uses the latest climbing technology, a caving system that features one kilometre of tunnels, drops and pools, an indoor free running gym and an external free running park.

Euan, of Lindley, and Leigh, of Mytholmroyd, spent three years researching suitable sites across Yorkshire before opening ROKT in the old flour mill, one of the distinctive landmarks on the Brighouse skyline.

Since it opened in April, the gym has become a firm favourite with climbing enthusiasts and regularly attracts visitors from all over the UK. ROKT is also used by local schools, colleges and community groups.

Leigh said: “The response has exceeded all our expectations. Since we launched the business in April the feedback has just been tremendous.

“We’ve attracted people from all backgrounds, ranging from the most experienced climbers to beginners who had previously never been near a climbing wall.

“Our ultimate goal is to create one of the best indoor climbing facilities in Europe. We have a unique building in which to do this and have made this latest investment to enhance the facilities and create almost 2.5 km of climbing wall surface.”

Caroline Hamnett, NatWest relationship manager, said: “This is a great example of a successful start-up business.

“Euan and Leigh have invested a great deal of time and money to turn a disused and dilapidated building into a focal point for the community.”

The climbing gym’s facilities include a 4.5 metre bouldering wall, a 21 metre overhanging lead wall, five boulder chambers of varying complexity and a children’s climbing wall. It recently hosted the first round of the North West University Bouldering Competition and the final will be held there next year.

Pennine Canoe Club has also moved onto the site and regularly holds races and events.

Euan and Leigh were given planning permission to open the centre at the end of last year.

There will be an open day at the gym from noon on Saturday with a climbing boots demonstration, clothing sale and coaching sessions. Adventure film-maker Ian Burton who worked on the ‘Coast’ TV programmes will give a talk at 7pm.