Reaching new heights
Having just celebrated six years in business, independent climbing wall centre Clip’n Climb in Ilkley is enjoying a new lease of life since lockdown restrictions ended.
F or so many business owners, the past 18 months has been a tough climb and for Sally Shelton it has been no different.
As the centre manager and co-owner of Clip ’n Climb in Ilkley, her business went into free-fall as restrictions were imposed and she was left wondering whether all her hard work since taking over the indoor climbing wall four years ago was going to be in vain.
But thanks to the determination of Sally and her dedicated team, she is finally reaching the summit again as restrictions ease and people are flocking back to the centre which is located in the heart of the town.
With 21 climbing challenges to suit all abilities from tots to adults, the award-winning Clip ’n Climb has proved a popular addition to Ilkley since first opening in 2015 and Sally says she has been blown away by the support of locals and visitors since reopening.
She said: “With people unable to get out, the past year has been incredibly tough both physically and mentally for us all and we’ve been delighted to see so many people of all ages coming through our doors since reopening.
“It is great to still be here on the other side of covid and provide such a welcome outlet for people. Parents and grandparents have been especially keen to give the kids a treat after struggling so well with lockdowns.
“Apart from the obvious physical benefits of being active and getting the kids off their screens, climbing requires co-ordination and mental agility to work out where you are going and it is so rewarding to give children and adults that opportunity in a safe, clean and exhilarating setting.”
Situated alongside the town’s train station, Clip ’n Climb is easily accessible by public transport and since taking over the centre in 2017, Sally has worked tirelessly to engage with local schools and businesses to make it an activity hub that the whole community can enjoy.
Popular with school parties, hen nights, SENDs children, scouts and other organised groups, Clip ’n Climb has reached new heights of excellence over recent years and that is something Sally and her team are incredibly proud of.
She said: “The key for me is providing that personal touch and I have always run the business as a mum rather than a business woman and this has influenced my decisions from the start.
“Working together with Ilkley businesses and the local schools is very important to me and if I can give something back to the town and the children then that is a huge incentive for me.”
Alongside the climbing activities – which are kept immaculately clean following a lockdown refurbishment – the centre is also home to a welcoming café, where visitors can relax with a Fairtrade coffee and cake or children can enjoy a party with homemade pizzas.
And with climbing now an Olympic sport, Sally is hoping the centre might inspire a future champ.
She said: “With climbing becoming such a popular activity we’d love to think we might encourage somebody to take up the sport and one day become an Olympian but above all it’s about having fun and we’re delighted to be back providing that opportunity for so many people.”