"I started climbing at the Castle some years ago, at the suggestion of one of my trainers. Since starting, I have always had the same instructor, Sophie Charles. It is good for maintaining my general fitness and allows me to “train” parts of my body and brain, in a safe environment.
I have been in a wheelchair full time since I was involved in a car crash in 1992. I can safely visit the climbing centre, in the knowledge that they will have all the facilities I may need, from expert and experienced instruction, to a disabled toilet.
I have found over the years that I am a very complicated case and having an instructor who is familiar with the idiosyncrasies of my disability can save time and allowed me to build my confidence quickly. This is very important when you are learning something as complicated as rock climbing which involves coordinating arms, legs and balance.
It is a good way of combining therapy with enjoyment and I would highly recommend it."
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We have specialist instructors who have experience with rehabilitation and working with all kinds of physical and mental disability. We treat each case on an individual basis and will customise the training programme so that you see the most benefits while still having fun!
How can climbing help?
For people who have suffered a brain injury, long-term physical activity can encourage neuroplasticity and recovery even beyond the normally accepted six-month post-injury plateau.
For children with learning disabilities, climbing is a creative way to encourage concentration and confidence.
The Castle welcomes climbers of all abilities. The ground floor (boiler house) is completely wheelchair accessible and offers all types of climbing: traversing, bouldering, top-roping and lead climbing. There is an accessible toilet on the ground floor next to the bike park. There are two steps to access The Castle Shop. We are happy to assist with access to our non-step free facilities. For example, you can order your snacks, food or drinks from The Café at Reception and we’ll bring this to you.
The Castle is host to the BMC Paraclimbing Competition Series. To find out more and register, visit The BMC.
2014 BMC Paraclimbing Series - Round 1 (18 March 2014).
Fran Brown is a London climber and 2012 World Champion. Keep up with Fran (if you can!) on her blog or on Twitter. http://www.franbrown.org.uk/
Getting to The Castle
Our nearest tube station, Manor House (Piccadilly Line) is not wheelchair accessible. The following buses stop within 100 m of The Castle: 141, 341 and 106. For a complete list of transport options see How to Find Us.
"Climbing has made my muscles stronger. Now I’m able to do challenging and adventurous activities.
Before I was not able to do much exercise because my muscles were weak, Sophie’s instruction has helped me develop my climbing skills. This has also helped me in activities away from climbing. I have discovered that disabled people can get involved in the community and take part."
Simon Degan (22)
See the Castle Garden in all its full glory with this wonderful film by Paul Cox.
Filmed at the May Day fete 2014, with interviews from Ida Fabrizio (Garden Manager) and Min Willis (Garden Events)