Published on : Monday, August 22, 2016
Ice Factor Kinlochleven, seven miles east of Glencoe village, is the first business in the west Highlands to be awarded the national tourism organisation’s Five Star Activity Centre award.
The £3.4 million attraction annually attracts in excess of 130,000 visitors who enjoy year round indoor ice-climbing, rock climbing and the outdoor aerial adventure course, complete with 50m rope swing. Opened in 2003, the 120 year-old building is a former aluminium smelter.
Its indoor ice and rock walls provide a safe and enjoyable way to learn to rock and ice-climb 364 days a year, under the guidance of experienced instructors. Within the sub-zero ice-climbing zone, beginners and experts alike get to grips with over 400 tonnes and 445 square metres of ice-wall designed to replicate winter climbing conditions on the likes of Ben Nevis. Overall, the facility offers over 1,400 square metres of ice and rock climbing space.
Visitors can watch the ice and rock climbing from the Ice Factor Café on the ground floor or from the mezzanine area of Chillers Bar & Grill, which serves freshly prepared food and provides stunning views over the Mamores. Ice Factor also provides visitors with a well-stocked outdoor shop incorporating the highest quality equipment.
Designated as the National Centre for Ice Climbing, the facility, which is 23 miles south of Fort William, is also used for training by members of the GB Ice Climbing Team and by Scottish Mountain Rescue.
Ice Factor offers ice-climbing and rock climbing for all levels of ability and for participants aged 12 and over (or minimum size 4 adult ice climbing boot). Children under seven can try a Little Monkey’s rock climbing taster session and those aged 10 and over can try the Aerial Adventure Course. In addition to the outdoor aerial adventure course, it runs outdoor summer and winter mountaineering courses and guided climbs with participants able to climb/hike on some of the UK’s most famous ridges and mountains, including Ben Nevis.
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, consistently ranks Ice Factor within its top five attractions in the Scottish Highlands.
Developed and improved for over 30 years, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. They allow businesses not just to meet visitor expectations, but exceed them.
QA can open the door to new customers. It is a powerful marketing tool and works well with online review sites in using an independent perspective to measure visitor experience against tried and tested criteria, so visitors know exactly what to expect.
Tracey Smith, Operations Manager of Ice Factor Kinlochleven, said: “Just months after reopening as a bigger and better facility, Ice Factor Kinlochleven is immensely proud of being recognised as the only adventure tourism attraction in the west Highlands with a VisitScotland 5-star Quality Assurance Award.
“The continued success of Ice Factor Kinlochleven is in no small measure down to our highly trained and motivated staff. They are terrific ambassadors for what is the world’s largest indoor ice-climbing facility, enjoyed throughout the year by thousands of climbers and non-climbers alike.”
Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland’s Regional Partnerships Director, said: “I am thrilled that Ice Factor has achieved Five Star status, as it is such a popular adventure attraction in the west Highlands, fitting in perfectly with its surroundings and location.
“High-quality visitor attractions such as Ice Factor are vitally important to our visitors, particularly those who are seeking something a bit more adventurous when they visit the west Highlands.
“This is why VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance gradings are so important to the tourism industry as a whole. Developed and improved for over 30 years, our Quality Assurance schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. They allow you to not just meet visitor expectations, but exceed them.
“Quality Assurance is about much more than just the ‘stars’ on your door – it’s about the entire visitor experience, it’s about investing in your business and making it as economically sustainable, and profitable, as it can possibly be.”
Steve Johnstone, GB Ice Climbing Team Manager and a former World Cup competitor, added:“Whether a novice or expert, Ice Factor is worth its weight in gold. It’s a fantastic set-up for the climbing community, helping to develop individual skills and giving our GB athletes a great location to push themselves to an even higher standard for both home and international competitions.”