Climbers scale new heights at opening

SCOTLAND’S first Via Ferrata climbing route has been opened by a leading climber.

Climbers make their way up the Via Ferrata. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Climbers make their way up the Via Ferrata. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Via Ferrata, which is Latin for iron way, consists of 1,476ft of metal staples and cable bridges.

It is located beside the ­295ft-high Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall in Kinlochleven, near Glencoe, in the Highlands.

Via Ferratas date back to the First World War when they were used to help soldiers across the Alps.

It was opened yesterday by Team GB ice climber Andy Turner, who has recently returned from the Sochi Winter Olympics.

He celebrated the opening with other climbers who tried out the route, many of them wearing kilts for the occasion.

Turner said: “I was delighted to be asked to open such a fantastic addition to the UK’s climbing scene. The Via Ferrata will provide novice climbers the opportunity to experience the challenge and exhilaration that climbing can bring. Plus, experienced climbers will enjoy the opportunity to access what was previously an unreachable climbing spot. The view is stunning at the top.”

Access to the route is on guided trips only.

Anyone using it is permanently attached to a safety cable and it is suitable for those aged ten and over and more than 4ft 3in.

Via Ferrata Scotland director Ben Starkie said: “After four years of getting this project off the ground, I am delighted to see Via Ferrata Scotland officially open. A massive thanks goes to the local community, our sponsors and funders for the support in making this project happen.”

“I am expecting to see around 500 visitors to the attraction in its first summer. It is set to be a great asset for Scottish adventure tourism and we hope it will bring many benefits to the local economy.”