Interview: The Edinburgh DIY Spot

  • Leith, Edinburgh DIY Interview

    So the background for this project came from the burning down of the Plastic Beach miniramp right? Were you involved at all with the build of that?

    I was involved, yes. Not as much as some but I put in a few hours graft here and there. My claim to fame would be manning the CD player at the jam fundraiser day. It was amazing seeing how fast that ramp went up, it only really got started in late August I think! I was one of the most surreal places to skate ever and was such a shame what happened. It was special as well because a lot of the wood came from The Space in North Berwick which everyone has great memories of. A huge chunk of the effort was just getting the wood from North Berwick to Seafield, I think we have Ruari, Colin and Fiona to thank for that particularly!

    Did you guys manage to recover any materials from that ramp for this project?

    I am 99% sure not. That ramp in Seafield was charcoal by the time the neds were done with it. The whole idea behind the DIY in Leith is that there is as little wood as possible, so that the same thing can’t happen again.

    Colin Adam Frontside Airs over! Photo: Russ Hall

    Looks as though you guys have been quite successful crowdfunding for the spot, having reached your initial goal, and now having almost reached your current goal. What did you build from the first target and what are you intending to do with the second? I saw Youngo’s been building a few bits in the meantime?

    For anyone who wants a breakdown of what we have spent I can provide an excel chart! Contrary to popular belief I did not spend all the money on booze!

    But being serious, Most the money was spent on concrete and saws, screws, drill bits etc., a mixture of premade concrete delivered in the trucks and cement bags we bought and hand mixed with sand on site. A good chunk went on hiring a flatbed truck for a weekend as well as hiring various power tools for a week or two. We transported a lot of materials over one weekend from various tips and building sites across the city to the spot. You haven’t lived until you have cut some concrete in half with a stihl saw! Stuff like protective gloves and PVA glue for the concrete mixes all adds up as well.

    That main quarter with the hole looks real gnarly, whats the best thing to go down over it so far?

    It is gnarley! Videos don’t really do it justice. Not going to name drop people here because their ego’s are big enough but from what I can remember, there has been a couple big grabs and some grind variation fakies over the door. A certain Parasite may have also nose picked in from the sketchy concrete pillar coming out the top of the bush behind, that was pretty gnarly for a Sunday afternoon. Lots of tail slide variations and airs aswell. Waiting to see an alley oop kickflip fakie out the top over the gap…..

    Mark Burrows Nosepicks. Photo: Russ Hall

    How many people you got involved in the project, seems like it’s really brought the scene together?

    Probably up to 7/8 People who are really manning the ship, showing up several times a week if not every day (weather permitting). I will put my hands up and say I am probably not in this group. These are the guys really making this happen.

    Then I would say at least 15 people who consistently show face and then a lot more who have been down once or twice.

    Definitely got to spend a lot of good quality time with people I might not have otherwise, different skaters from all over coming down. All the skaters in Edinburgh are friends and get on well on but naturally we all fall off into our own groups etc. The DIY has kind of cut across that a bit and it’s a good mixture of people, ages and skating abilities involved.

    But what I would also like to say that anyone who has donated can count themselves as involved in some way, without the money we would be nowhere as far as we are. So thanks to everyone for that! We appreciate that everyone has different schedules and it’s not always easy to spend half your life down a grimey industrial estate in Leith…..

    How’d you choose the location for this one? Looks relatively open, are the surrounding businesses etc cool with you doing it?

    Credit here would have to go to Ruari Rawdawg, he spotted this and it coincidently happened to be 100 yards from his flat at the time. Apparently he had several others up his sleeve and this was the cream of the crop. It is secluded enough but still central and accessible by vehicles. Kind of shielded from residential property but still close to the beer shop as well, it really is as good a location as we could hope for.

    Colin Adam Liens to Tail over th hole. Photo: Russ Hall

    Related to this, do you know who owns the land being built on? I’ve heard a couple of rad stories from other DIYs about this one.

    We have done a bit of research but are still slightly hazy on this one. Wouldn’t really like to say until we know for sure to be honest.

    What I can say is that we have no complaints or bother so far. Only good feedback from passers-by and even the Police were positive when they have stopped past looking for stolen motorbikes etc.

    Any more plans once you guys have reached / built after this current Just Giving?

    A key factor in getting the DIY spot to where it is now has been the ambition of the people involved. That is only going to grow I think so I can’t see us putting the tools away after we have spent this round of money.

    We realise the that we can’t just keep repeating the Crowdfunder route, but there are always other avenues and methods of raising a bit of cash. After we have spent this round of money we will have a decent sized skatepark of what people will hopefully consider alright quality (DIY standards!)

    With that under our belt I hope we will have a platform to sell ourselves a bit further than begging our friends for cash!

    Not to sound cheesy but from my perspective this is only just the beginning.

    Mark Burrows fully committed Frontside Rock and Roll. Photo: Russ Hall