NatWest helps ROKT Climbing Gym scale new heights

NatWest helps ROKT Climbing Gym scale new heights

Two avid climbers, who transformed a disused Brighouse flour mill into an indoor climbing gym earlier this year, are now making a further investment to create one of the biggest indoor climbing walls in the UK.

Business partners Euan Noble and Leigh Topping opened ROKT Climbing Gym in April and have signed up almost 6,000 members in less than eight months. The duo have now secured an undisclosed Enterprise Finance Guarantee Loan from NatWest to further develop the facility.

The funding will be used to create several new climbing features including a large penthouse bouldering chamber that uses the new Rotagon climbing technology, a caving system that includes 1km of tunnels, drops and pools, an indoor free running gym and an external free running park.

Euan and Leigh spent three years researching suitable sites across Yorkshire before launching ROKT in the former Sugden's Mill. The building is the tallest in Brighouse and features 15 giant solos and a 22 metre high lead wall. These scale and potential of the site is perfectly suited for an indoor climbing facility.

ROKT's existing facilities include a 4.5 metre high competition bouldering wall, a 21 metre overhanging lead wall, five boulder chambers of varying complexity, four six-metre top rope silos each with 18 routes, a children' climbing wall and a range of activities and places for parents and observers. Leigh and Euan created the gym and applied a ground-up design to the facilities and have benefited real-time feedback allowing them to continually change and innovate.

Since opening in April the gym has become a firm favourite with climbing enthusiasts and regularly attracts visitors from throughout the UK. ROKT is also used by local schools, colleges and community groups including students from Huddersfield and Bradford University. It recently hosted the first round of the North West University Bouldering Competition and will host the final next year.

Leigh Topping, director of ROKT Climbing Gym, said: "Since we launched the business in April the response has been tremendous. We've attracted people from all backgrounds ranging from the most experienced climbers to beginners who had never previously been near a climbing wall before. Our ultimate goal is to create one of Europe's best indoor climbing facilities. 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. We're confident this will attract new visitors and provide a different challenge to our existing climbers."

NatWest's business banking team in Huddersfield supported ROKT with their ambitious plans and provided an EFG loan to part-fund the new developments. Caroline Hamnett, NatWest relationship manager added:

"This is a great example of a successful start up business. Euan and Leigh have invested a great deal of time and money to transform a disused and dilapidated building into a focal point for the community. We are very happy to support their plans and I am even thinking of taking up climbing as a result."

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