Britain's Biggest Indoor Climbing Gym Reaches for Sustainability

The Castle Climbing Centre - A Video Tour from CastleWebmaster on Vimeo.

The Castle Climbing Centre in London, as it's name suggests, has reused a Castle, although technically it was previously a water pumping station. Receiving more annual visits than any other climbing centre in the United Kingdom, The Castle is home to 90 roped lines and 450 climbing routes. What caught our eye, though, was its endeavours to reduce its environmental impact.

Since 2008, when the centre's owner, Steve Taylor, decided to reach in a green direction, much has been accomplished. The café is moving towards only offering organic and vegan food, with much of the vegies grown in gardens in the grounds of the centre. Food scraps are composted and returned to the garden. The centre is close to a Zero Waste model and is looking to further reduce the goods it sends away for recycling. Their retail store prefers to stock "products from suppliers who also have a good environmental policy," with an intent to produce labelling, informing customers about product sustainability credentials.

the castle climbing centre photo

Image credit: The Castle Climbing Centre

They are hopeful of one day finding a model whereby "customers can get clothing and equipment repaired or refurbished rather than throwing it away or recycling it."

They've built a "ventilated drying cupboard to store our hire equipment in, to avoid the need for antimicrobial sprays."

And many more initiatives. You can read more about them via an in-depth interview that Sarah Howcroft of Rohantime conducted with Steve Taylor. Steve is candid about what has worked and where the challenges have been, whilst offering this sage advice:

"You need a coherent strategy and a way of communicating it effectively but don't wait till that's in place to get started. Just make a start, let the ideas flow and develop some enthusiasm for a long but exciting journey. You need to be prepared to make mistakes, accept them and move on because no-one can draw you a map."

Also watch the slideshow that Steve presented earlier this year at the Innov_ex conference.

Or check out The Castle blog on its Sustainability sojourn.

There is much learn and be inspired by, in the work they have achieved so far.

The Castle Climbing Centre
More Green Climbing:
Mammut Makes Climate Neutral Ropes
Two Climbing Magazines Go 100% Recycled
Millet's Recycle and Save - on Climbing Ropes, that is.
Metolius Eco Ball for rockclimbing
Yvon Chouinard Wins Environmental Good Guy Award
Rock and Ice's Sprout Award

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