B.C.T Takes on Edinburgh

By Roz (TCA Staffer & B.C.T Coach)

Last weekend saw the final round of the BMC Youth Series (BMCycs) and four BCT members had been training for months for the big day.

The BMCycs has three regional rounds before the big final – in the South West these were held in Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol. Each climber must attempt three routes and three boulders, each gradually getting harder, with the aim obviously being getting to the top as you get more points for this. The highest ranked climber (the one with the most points) overall from these 3 round gets to go through to the national final in Ratho, Edinburgh!

So, let’s meet the B.C.T team members who got through to the final…

Meet the coaches:

Most of the team headed up to Edinburgh on Friday morning (apart from Coach Roz who had a 7am flight on Saturday – what a dedicated coach). Friday evening was filled with lots of meditation, visualization and early nights (I am sure) ready for the big event on Saturday.


For those that haven’t been to Ratho, it is such an amazing wall and the photos never really do it justice. There is a huge, steep, comp wall at the very back, of which the steepness of the angle can actually be changed using a pulley system (I am sure it’s much more complicated than just a pulley system), and lots of other walls reaching a staggering 40m, as well as three very old school, featured bouldering blocs. The arena is actually built around a quarry – though being unused for around 90 years the council decided to put a roof on it and turn it into an International Climbing Arena – hence why you can see real rock in the background.

Ratho Arena (Image: Sam Mitchell)


The comp started at 9am, and the kids warmed up and got ready for their first routes or boulders. Everyone was split into two groups within their categories, so it was pretty full on from the start of the day with B.C.T members firing up the wall left, right and centre. The morning started well with Katie and Finlay cruising to the top of their first routes, with Izzy and Owen coming super close (Owen literally fell off with the last hold in his hand, apparently all that fall practice at the last draw in team training sunk in a bit too well!). On days like this it is always really hard to know how everyone is doing as it is such a big arena, with so many kids all climbing at once, but Sam and I were sure the team was doing well and cranking hard!

Finlay smashed through his boulders and got really pumped on his two remaining routes – they were both on the steep comp wall (orange and grey panels), the last of which was a staggeringly hard 8a+! Likewise for Owen, who finished a very respectable 18th. Izzy got off to a slightly shaky start on her boulders – completely understandable as this was her first time in Ratho and she was first out on the first boulder, though she pulled it back and climbed really well on the remaining blocs and really pulled it out the bag on the third route, getting way higher than she expected – strong work 💪💪. Katie breezed through her boulders and routes, climbing out her skin on the final two routes. It was so impressive to see all the squad kids climb so well, and enjoy the whole process of competing too (as that is what it is really all about; it is great to see all their hard training from the last few months pay off.

Katie Whittaker on her first route. (Image: Sam Mitchell)

Sunday was a more relaxed day. I am pretty sure Sam and I drank enough *orange juice* for the whole team on Saturday night, so it was a more relaxed start. Some squad-lings headed to the wall for an extra training session on the big walls, others headed to an afternoon tea with tea, scones and cake (glad my coaching has taught these kids the real key to success). I went for a stretching session as my finger is still dodgy – as was my head. Then, before we knew it, it was time to get on the plane and head home.

B.C.T has already started their training for next year! Onwards and upwards.

If you are interested in joining B.C.T then we will be having Squad Trials in September. Keep an eye on the Facebook page or ask a member of staff for more details.