BLANEFIELD teenager Tim Miller took first place in the Junior Boys section of the Scottish Tooling Series climbing competition last weekend.
The 16-year-old, who attends Glasgow Academy, was a rookie at the dry-tool discipline but nevertheless edged his way to victory by the slenderest of margins.
A series of events saw the 160 climbers take part in the four-stage climb within their respective age groups.
The competition saw three Academy boys competing — Tim along with James Mortimer and Andrew Holliday — each attending three rounds of the series.
Round one, held in Kinlochleven, was won by James with Tim coming in second; while Tim took the second round in Glasgow ahead of Andrew.
James then claimed second place in the third round at RGU Aberdeen to set up a showdown with Tim in the final round in Aviemore last week.
Again the two youngsters battled each other during some fierce competition in both the indoor as well as outdoor events which were created from rock and overhanging wood.
In the end, Tim edged into the lead past schoolmate James, claiming victory by a single point.
Tim said: “This is the first time I’ve tried a competition like this and I didn’t expect to win.
“It’s brilliant to have tried something and to come first.
“I really liked the rocky routes outdoors,” he added. “Because it was very cold and there was snow on the ground it felt more like the real thing; like we were in the mountains.”
The dry-tool challenge tests strength, agility and technique as competitors scale indoor walls on set routes using ice axes and grippy shoes.
Many of the STS competitors use the contests for honing skills for tricky winter climbing routes in Scotland and further afield.
For Tim and James, the contest was practise for a forthcoming ice-climbing trip to Norway with their school and Tim’s first-placed prize — a pair of Petzl ice climbing crampons — will find good use.
Rosie Goolden, head of outdoor education at Glasgow Academy, said: “We are keen to encourage outdoors pursuits for the pupils and climbing is just one of them.
“To see the boys doing so well, especially on their first attempt at this competition, is brilliant.
“The series has also helped to consolidate their general skills and will be of huge benefit when we head to Norway.”