/ The Edinburgh Guide
Edinburgh — By Andy Hayes on May 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm
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Saughton Skatepark Opens

For those visiting Edinburgh with teens, as of Saturday you’ve got one more reason to entice them to come for a visit:  Saughton Skatepark.  It’s in West Edinburgh, just off Balgreen Road (near Murrayfield stadium).  The skatepark is the largest in Scotland, and first of its kind in Edinburgh.

I didn’t attend Saturday’s opening ceremonies, but it was the most gorgeous day for it – bright and sunny.  I’m so glad to see something like this open in Edinburgh – teens are definitely desparate for spaces like this, and hopefully this will give them a fun and safe place to skate instead of making half-hearted attempts in places like the Parliament lawn where it’s just not good for anybody.

I’ve yet to find a poor review of the park – it seems most everyone who has been is well impressed with the setup. Deidre Brock from the Scotsman says “skateboarders, BMXers and rollerbladers who have been flocking to Edinburgh’s new skatepark are already hailing it as one of the best in the UK.”  The only complaint is possibly that there isn’t more spectator seating – surprising, given all the planning efforts.   Having said that, the skating areas include beginners areas as well as terrain for more experienced pros.   And those without two/four wheels, there are also grass football pitches, an enclosed running track, a play area and a new all weather full size ‘third generation’ pitch and sevens area.  Sounds like it is guaranteed to be busy this summer!

One unique feature that’s a nice touch is the art – commissioned graffiti in fact.  Those who, like me, actually love graffiti (apart from the obvious defacing of property aspects!) should pop over for a visit, as now you have some fantastic murals to check out.  The elaborateness did remind me murals of Belfast, though decidedly more upbeat.

Skateparks certainly aren’t a new concept here in Britain.  The first concrete skateparks were built in the 70s, and some of the most famous ones still exist – such as Rom in Essex.  One of the best British skateparks is in Scotland, in fact – Livingstone skatepark – and some say it is one of the best skateparks in the world.  Famous Americans skateboarders have travelled there to check out the park, which was built in the 1980s and expanded in 1992.

Thus Edinburgh City Council, who has been planning the build for this project for years, has had plenty of local lessons learned and ideals to strive for when putting together the Saughton plans.  One of the artists who worked on the murals, Aaron Sinclair, told the Scotman in a previous feature:

“It’s an artist’s playground as well as a skater’s playground. One of the main concerns I have is that I hope it gets treated with some respect. It’s an amazing thing for Edinburgh”

For those wanting more information about skating in Edinburgh, I suggest you visit the Edinburgh Skate Scene blog for lots of local tips and information.  (As of this writing, the official Saughton Park website was no longer available.)
Photo by chris jackson

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