Chamber Members Discover Climbing Centre Is More Than Meets The Eye

Our members had a different start to the day on Tuesday (16 April) when we visited The Ledge Climbing Gym as part of our Inside Stories series.

Inside Stories aim to give attendees a deeper understanding and, quite often, a surprising insight into what goes on behind the scenes of businesses, organisations, or charities in our region.

This week, at The Ledge, we learned that it’s so much more than a climbing centre, building a diverse community of climbers, it also offers a vital support service to many people in our community.
Co-founders, Duncan McCallum, Marc Peart and Alasdair Lawton gave us an overview of the background to the charity, its mission, the facilities which include a weights gym and yoga/fitness studio, and how it’s attracting a wide variety of climbers – from athletes at the top level and those wanting to build their fitness, to social climbers, a supportive group of women and children gaining valuable skills and confidence.

They also talked about the deeper impact it’s having on children living in the local community where, in its first year, the team has supported 700 hours of free climbing through its programmes for vulnerable young people who are struggling to engage with education. 

And the feedback the team is getting from schools, the police and other stakeholders is that they are having a real impact thanks to the consistent approach and the safe space they provide. “They walk out different kids,” explains Alasdair. 

The team is also now working with the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to develop evidence-led study to support the work they are doing so that other climbing centres and local authorities can benefit from the approach and the impact already being seen in this short space of time.

Duncan adds, “Since opening The Ledge we have seen just over 40,000 visits. This includes climbers in membership, adhoc visitors, as well as those using our facilities as a one-off wet weather leisure activity. We’re also excited to be going into year two with plans to expand opportunities for youth, and indoor climbing courses.

“Very soon we’ll be launching our outdoor climbing and activity courses for all participant levels. From complete beginner courses and family days to more expert classes, which include the aptly named “fear of falling” course, The Ledge offers a wide range of opportunities for all climbers wanting to get vertical.”  

Our Deputy CEO, Paula Nicol said, “Having the opportunity to see the Ledge and learn about the impact the team there are making in the community was truly inspiring.

“Not only is it an impressive facility, being the largest climbing gym and national bouldering and performance centre in the Highlands but, as a charity, it was amazing to hear about the incredible work the team are doing to support young people at risk and other vulnerable groups in the community through climbing.

“Their social impact programmes include courses, classes and long-term mentored projects, all designed to help people expand their horizons and guide them to more positive outcomes.  They really are making a difference to people’s lives.”

John Tavendale Regional Director at Thomson Gray was part of our group and took a lot away saying, “Thanks for organising what was a really enjoyable and fascinating event at The Ledge. The background story was commendable and deeply moving. The work the team there are doing with local kids is priceless and setting a way forward for other communities.

 “This was my first Inverness Chamber of Commerce event but one of the most rewarding events of this nature I’ve been to in my career!”

As a registered charity the Ledge is always looking to speak to businesses to discuss ways they can support its vital and proactive programmes. If you’d like to engage with The Ledge to offer support, talk to them about corporate events or team building days please email them at or

Visit its website for more information about its climbing session, yoga & fitness classes and courses here –

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