Scotland’s First Paintball Arena Set To Open (Online Report)

by Christopher Martin

Scotland’s first ever indoor paintball arena is set to open in the Leith district of Edinburgh. Urban Paintball Edinburgh, on Leith Walk, will open its doors to the public on Friday November 11th following years of planning.

Project leader Robin Knox hopes the business will be a success, having invested his personal savings, as well as a bank loan and money from the Princes Trust into the development of the arena. Despite the gamble, Mr Knox is optimistic and excited about the coming weeks.


He said: “It has been a long journey through the various channels involved in setting up a place of public entertainment, but now we are here it is a very exciting time. I’m also quite nervous to see how it’s going to go considering the amount of capital required to open a centre such as this.”


Additionally, the project is aiming to tackle the issue of underage binge drinking in Leith at night, a problem which has gone unresolved in recent times despite police measures.


Mr Knox hopes to be instrumental in helping the community and wants other local businesses to follow suit: “I wouldn’t call Urban Paintball a solution to underage binge drinking, but it certainly provides an alternative. I have always felt that there are a lack of activities open in the evening and for a change in culture to come about we need more businesses like this to open providing a variety of alternatives to just going down the pub.”


Already the future of the indoor paintball arena is looking promising, as a number of group bookings have been made, as well as substantial interest from paintball enthusiasts within the Edinburgh area.


Mr Knox said: “The amount of enquiries we have received so far has been great. We’re on track to make a profit in the first week given the amount of bookings in the diary and the proper marketing has yet to start.”


“I would really love to see the business take off and become a popular evening destination for Edinburgh as a whole but only time will tell. We’re adding another string to the bow of night-time entertainment in Edinburgh. After about 8pm you only have cinema, bowling or the pub to go to, indoor paintball adds a number three to that list.”


As paintball enthusiasts, Edinburgh Napier Paintball Society have expressed a keen interest in the indoor paintball arena, and President Daniel Parker is eagerly awaiting the grand opening: “I am very excited as it gives myself and my society somewhere local and good value for money to play, with easy travel to and from the arena.”


He also believes that Urban Paintball Edinburgh has what it takes to become a key part of the Leith community and of the city of Edinburgh: “I can see the place becoming quite established as Robin has already forged good links with several University societies such as myself and seems to be getting involved in the community.”


Additionally, he added that Mr Knox’s project had the potential to encourage younger people involved in binge drinking to get active as an alternative. Mr Parker said: “I see it as a positive as it will hopefully get them off the street and having fun in a more recreational way. It should be more popular than the usual offerings of youth clubs and youth projects, as most teenagers see them as ‘uncool’. Hopefully youth projects get involved and take trips to Urban Paintball Edinburgh.”


The addition of Urban Paintball Edinburgh to the Leith district continues the trend of regeneration in the area which has been ongoing since the 1980s. Leith had endured industrial decline, clearance of slums, and resultant depopulation in the post-war era, but since then has had an upturn in fortunes. The money pumped into the area has led to affordable housing, new businesses and recently a planned redevelopment of the Western Harbour.


Paintball, as an extreme sport, originated from the early 1970s when paintball guns were used primarily to mark trees and livestock. In 1981 twelve friends decided to play the first recreational game of paintball in a field measuring 100 acres. They used farmers’ industrial paintball guns and chose to wear no protective safety equipment.


Over the years the game has developed and became more popular than ever. Paintball has come a long way since 1981 and new game styles have emerged, including “capture the flag” team games which serve as an alternative to a team shootout.


Paintball also now has its own professional league in America, the NPPL (National Paintball Professional League).


It was estimated by the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association (SGMA) that up to 5 million people played paintball in 2006. Today, this figure is thought to have grown since as paintball has become more and more popular globally.


One Response

  1. I developed a fear of paintballing after I went once and got destroyed. I still want to go to this!

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