North Yorkshire entrepreneurs climb to new heights with wall purchase

Dan and Marc <i>(Image: PIc supplied)</i>
Dan and Marc (Image: PIc supplied)

Two North Yorkshire entrepreneurs who met at a climbing wall in Harrogate 12 years ago have now bought the facility.

Marc Wise, 39, and Dan Miller, 37, worked as instructors at Parthian Climbing, before setting up their own outdoor activities business, Live For Today.

Previously, Dan from Skipton studied outdoor education and Marc from Harrogate worked in IT, before using their savings to launch Live for Today in 2012, with zorbing in a Harrogate farmer’s field.

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It has since grown into a leading outdoor activity business operating across four sites, including Ripley Castle, the Harrogate Climbing Centre in Hornbeam Park and Hazlewood Castle near Tadcaster.

Live For Today now has 25 outdoor activities, including quad biking, paddle boarding, axe throwing, air rifle shooting and escape rooms.

Buying the climbing wall marks a significant moment for the pair.

York Press:
York Press:

Marc said: “I was pretty unfulfilled working in IT, and the idea for Live For Today was inspired by a climbing trip we took to Austria.

“We started from a Harrogate farmer’s field, saving money to buy new equipment, growing into a really robust, exciting business. It was a chance to pursue our passion. Buying the climbing wall is a full circle moment for our business, as it’s where we first met and it all began.”

The business grew quickly in 2013 and the manager of Hazlewood Castle invited them to bring adventure activities to its 70-acre woodland.

In 2014, Live For Today moved into their second activity centre in the grounds of Ripley Castle and launched offsite adventures, such as caving and climbing in the Yorkshire Dales. The team now has their head office at the castle.

It then expanded with summer camps, new activities in the Lake District, partnering with the Prince’s Trust, and in 2019, launching their first escape rooms at Ripley Castle.

The climbing walls purchase comes as climbing is growing rapidly as a sport, boosted by celebrity climbers including Harry Styles, Lady Gaga and Lewis Hamilton.

Marc said: “The beauty of indoor climbing is its accessibility. It isn’t elitist. People of all abilities and skills share the same wall. We have all ages taking part in our activities from eight to 80-year-olds. The Olympics has thrown a new spotlight on the sport, so it’s an exciting time to buy the wall.”

Live For Today has had over 100,000 customers since it launched in 2012, with 2,250 five-star reviews. The team features 20 activity instructors, and a 11-strong management team.

However, the business has faced challenges, including the pandemic and its lockdowns but the business has recovered to enjoy its biggest year in 2023.

Marc added: “Now is an exciting time to expand into the world of indoor climbing, here in Harrogate, and on the wider global sporting stage - we might even help train the next Olympians.”