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Approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) offshore, and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north-east of North Berwick, it is a steep-sided volcanic rock, 107 metres (351 ft) at its highest point, and is home to a large colony of gannets.
The rock is uninhabited, but historically has been settled by an early Christian hermit, and later was the site of an important castle, which after the Commonwealth period was used as a prison.
There will always be cliques of climbers who hang out together, but they dominated the older gyms, as they don’t ours.” Indeed, CRG offers a rich menu of yoga, spinning, and Pilates classes, all of them free with membership.
“It’s great that kids love our place,” added Pickren, “and yes, we regularly host birthday parties for them. We’re trying to push gyms toward a broader audience.
[pagebreak] Recently I sat down with Kevin Pickren, general manager of CRG Watertown, to get his take on how the best new gyms have transformed the ambiance of indoor climbing.
“Traditional gyms,” he ventured, “tended to be exclusively about climbing, whereas we’re developing a well-rounded fitness center with a focus on climbing.
We aim at working professionals who are fitness conscious.
We get a lot of people who come here for the yoga and end up climbing.” To be sure, there’a hardcore side to CRG Watertown.
The Bass Rock Lighthouse was constructed on the rock in 1902, and the remains of an ancient chapel survive.But while its 50-foot-high overhanging lead wall, with lines up to 5.14 in difficulty, could challenge an Alex Honnold, CRG Watertown remains thoroughly beginner-friendly.An entire 30-foot-high pillar upstairs is devoted to no fewer than 16 easy routes, rated at 5.5 or 5.6.Fun was not in the ether—only the endless, guilty campaign to stay in shape. My encounters with those joyous neural gremlins have been mostly confined to the touch football field and the unclimbed walls of Alaskan mountains.But at CRG Watertown that afternoon in May, I was transfixed by the sight of 8-year-olds whooping with delight as they thrashed their way up their first 5.6 routes.