Photo gallery: New Norwich climbing centre takes shape

Climbing in Norwich is set to reach new heights as a warehouse on the outskirts of Norwich is transformed into the city's first dedicated indoor climbing centre.

Climber Mike Surtees, of Marlborough Road, Norwich, and his neighbour at the time, osteopath Phil Mortimer, who now lives in Stalham, first discussed the idea to develop the climbers' playground over Christmas drinks back in 2010.

Now, their vision is being turned into reality. The formerly derelict unit in Twickenham Road, off Fifers Lane, is now home to nearly 500 square metres of bouldering walls and a seven and a half metre climbing tower.

Building work started on the project last month and over the next four weeks, some 2,000 multi-coloured holds will be attached to the walls, a cafe, shop and reception area will be built and a yoga and pilates studio and treatment rooms will be constructed.

The centre, known as Highball Climbing Centre, is set to open on September 8.


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Mr Surtees, whose dad helped develop Norwich's former YMCA climbing wall, said: 'There is a shortage of climbing facilities in the area and the popularity of the sport has grown.

'There's a limit to how good people can get with the existing facilities so our aim was to build on the work done by the current facilities and give existing climbers what they have been craving for.

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'We also want to help get more people into the sport and open climbing up to a far wider market than it currently has.'

According to statistics published by Sport England, indoor climbing will overtake its traditional outdoor counterpart as the country's most popular mountaineering activity in six to 12 months.

And climbing as a whole has been on an upwards trend since 2005.

At Highball, there will be more than 100 bouldering circuits and 16 routes on the roped climbing walls. There will be graded routes for all abilities and there is an induction wall for beginners.

The centre also features a 15m by 4.5m competition wall with plans of running various competitive events.

'Bouldering has really exploded in popularity,' said Mr Surtees, 'You don't need much equipment and you don't need to learn technical aspects, You just need a pair of boots.'

For more photos, go to this story online at www.eveningnews24.co.uk.

Are you developing a new project in Norwich? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

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