Above Adventure

Setting a high ceiling

Above Adventure is more than just an indoor climbing centre. Rather a lot more, as we shall see.

Set up by former soldier, Dean Pastulovic, Above Adventure was created in order to help disadvantaged people (whether their disadvantage be mental, physical, or financial) by taking them to climbing walls where they could have fun and enjoy social interaction with other people. To this end, a mobile tower was acquired, but although this was (and remains) a valuable asset, Above Adventure’s dream was to have a purpose-built facility of their own.

In 2020, this dream became a reality with the purchase of the former Grange Free Church in Woodstock Street, Kilmarnock, thanks to funding from a variety of sources, including the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, East Ayrshire Council, Historic Environment Scotland, the Robertson Trust, Foundation Scotland and the Architectural Heritage Fund.

The long process of converting the former church into a climbing centre began in 2021, and when it opened its doors in May 2023, it gained the distinction of becoming the first purpose-built indoor climbing centre in Ayrshire. The centre’s climbing and bouldering rooms make full use of the building’s high ceilings, and in addition there’s a sensory room, a cafe, a meeting room (which can be hired for corporate or personal use), and changing facilities.

Inclusivity has always lain at the heart of Above Adventure’s values, and this is reflected not only in the provision of climbing equipment which enables people with severe physical and mental disadvantages to enjoy the fun and thrill of climbing but also in the provision of a Changing Places toilet for use by people with severe disabilities. Moreover, Above Adventure is unique in Scotland, in that one of its members of staff, Raymond McCowan, is the country’s only climbing wall instructor who is a wheelchair user.

Individuals and groups alike are welcome at Above Adventure. Monthly memberships are available for individuals, and both children’s and adult’s groups are regular visitors. There’s also a social club (aimed at adults new to climbing), school holiday camps, and other initiatives such as Ladies Nights. Action Adventure started out with the intention of helping the disadvantaged, and its outreach programme, managed by Dean Pastulovic, plays a large role in continuing to pursue that objective.

In addition to eight part and full-time staff, a number of volunteers assist with the running of the climbing centre and outreach programme. Above Adventure’s operations are overseen by a board of six trustees chaired by Gayle Watson, all of whom provide their services on a voluntary basis. Moreover, as a registered charity all surplus funds from Above Adventure’s operations go into maintaining the centre and paying for its outreach work.

On visiting Above Adventure’s climbing centre, which is open six days a week (every day except Tuesday), it’s evident that its conversion from a church has been executed with great sensitivity and skill, with the result that important original features, such as the stained-glass windows, have been retained. Moreover, the repurposing of the building has not only saved it from falling into ruin but has also enabled it to once more perform a socially important role in the community.

Above Adventure’s climbing centre isn’t just a shining beacon as to what can be achieved with an old building in need of rescue, a group of committed people, and hard work, more than anything it’s a place where everyone can come and have fun.

Above Adventure, Woodstock Street, Kilmarnock, KA1 2BE
(01563) 657349