Albyn School’s Rebecca Kinghorn was just eight years old when her dad, Scott, took her to the Transition Extreme climbing wall in Aberdeen. Nine years on, she is now rapidly scaling the world rankings.
The 17-year-old has just completed a hat-trick of victories in the Scottish Schools’ Climbing Championships and was ranked No 1 in her age-group in Britain and No 24 in the world. She has competed in the last two World Youth Championships.
“After the first visit with Dad, I started going to classes and someone spotted me,” explained the sixth-year pupil. “I entered local competitions and, when I was 13, I got into the British team.”
Most of Rebecca’s climbing takes place on indoor walls, but she does enjoy the outdoor experience in the better weather overseas. At home, she trains four times a week on the wall and also does strength and conditioning sessions”
At the end of this month, she will be representing GB at the European Championships at Imst in Austria, where the event takes place on a plastic wall in the outdoors.
With an Advanced Higher in business and Highers in physical education and philosophy to cope with before then, she is grateful for the support from Albyn. She sits her final exam the morning of the flight to her first Europeans.
“School is great, although it is quite tough combining school and my sport,” said the teenager from Cruden Bay. “Not too many of my friends do climbing, but more people are taking it up and there are a lot of walls all over Scotland.”
Rebecca is coached by Tom Randall and Ollie Torr, who are based in Sheffield as part of the Lattice Training scheme, and she often travels to the Yorkshire base for competitions.
As one of Scotland’s best up-and-coming sports stars, Rebecca receives funding from Sports Aid Scotland. “It is extremely helpful,” she said. “I’ve had the grant for the past two years and it makes such a difference.”
Rebecca hopes to qualify for the finals at the European Championships and then she will be looking forward to heading to Edinburgh and the start of a business degree at Heriot-Watt University.
One reason for choosing the capital is the Edinburgh International Climbing Centre at Ratho. “It’s a great facility and I get to train with other team members,” she said.