The Physics of Climbing

It was a pleasure to welcome Ross High – Higher Physics class – to Foresters Park Climbing Wall in Tranent for the two hours of their science period on Tuesday morning.

They walked to the wall straight from school and split into four groups – looking at Forces and Equations of Motion in a Climbing Wall.

The pupils were required to design experiements that would enable them to:

  1. Using the equations of motion devise an experiment to work out the height of the climbing wall
  2. Using the setup on the wall investigate the relationship between the force and the direction of anchor.
  3. When a climber takes a fall, good belaying and friction are the things that prevent that fall from being serious. One way of increasing the force of friction is to cross the rope over Carry out an experiment to investigate the relationship between the number of twists and the force experienced by the belayer.
  4. When belaying keeping the correct distance from the wall can make a big difference to how easy it is to hold a climbers fall. In this activity investigate the effect on the belayer of moving further back from the wall.

The pupils were all thoroughly engaged and gave fantastic feedback to their science teacher – Mr. Laud. Along with the school we are looking to make this lesson an annual one in the higher physics curriculum.


Many thanks to Mr. Laud for his development of the session and the higher physics class for their enthusiasm. If there is any other school out there that would like to develop lessons similar to this then please get in touch with your Outdoor Learning Service

Where’s wally?

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Today Longniddry Primary P5/6s enjoyed a lesson at the East Lothian’s premier indoor climbing facility – the Tranet Wall.

The lesson started with a number of bouldering games including blind-fold climbing and drawing a poster – while climbing. After these warm-ups all of the pupils had a chance to try and reach the top of the wall as well as taking their turn to belay their partner.

NICAS to you

We are delighted to announce that the Outdoor Learning Service are now able to offer young climbers in East Lothian a nationally recognised award in indoor climbing; the National Indoor Climbing Achievement Scheme.

In July we became a NICAS Awarding Centre, one of only a handful of public sector organisations in Scotland. The NICAS award can be delivered by the service’s Outdoor Education Teachers over a number of sessions at the local Tranent climbing wall, and potentially visits to Alien Rock and EICA at Ratho.

NICAS allows young people to progress up a number of award levels. The Outdoor Learning Service are able to deliver levels 1 and 2 of the fives steps of the award; Foundation Climber and Top Rope Climber. Contact Andy Duff if you want to know more.

Yester Primary kids go up the wall

A group of pupils from Yester Primary school visited “East Lothian’s best kept climbing secret” … otherwise known as the Tranent Climbing Wall.

Still heady from their recent win in the P6/P7 East Lothian Schools Orienteering Competition the pupils enthusiastically got to grips with indoor climbing. The session started off with bouldering, before each pupil had a chance to complete several climbs. As well as enjoying the climbing they all (literally) experienced having their lives in their partner’s hands on the top-roped routes (closely supervised!).

Thanks to Pamela from Enjoy East Lothian and Lesley from Yester for their help.

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East Linton teachers on the rocks

Last Wednesday nine teachers from East Linton Primary attended a twiglight CPD session at the climbing wall in Tranent.

The objective of the session was to investigate how a climbing wall, and in particular bouldering, could be used to extend the school’s already enviable repetoire of outdoor activities. The session looked at how a number of activities and games could deliver physical, group work and curricular learning outcomes – all very CfE.

These included …

1. The ‘trust game’ – catching your partner to look at spotter’s body position.
2. Blind-fold bouldering- for groupwork and trust
3. Climbing in balance – climbing with something balanced on your head
4. Climbing moves for bouldering – focussed on body position and footwork.
5. Climbing and numercy – marking holds with numbers. Only climb using holds on even-numbers etc.
6. Climbing and literacy – bouldering up to a card taped to the wall and drawing and annotated a picture, taking turns with your partner
7. And lots of good discussion and ideas!

For more information on this initiative contact Janet Gordon at East Linton.

For more information on climbing wall games and activities see climbing wall games.