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Zorbing project to roll into capital

IT began as a minority interest for thrill-seekers in New Zealand and now Scotland is embracing the extreme sport of zorbing, with construction of the country's biggest and fastest run on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

A 220-yard slope has been developed at the Pentlands Regional Park, Hillend, to host the sport, which involves participants rolling downhill inside a giant inflatable ball, reaching speeds of up to 30mph.

Rolling Haggis, the firm behind the venture, has already invested £100,000 and is now seeking a further £35,000 investment through Squareknot, a Glasgow-based crowdfunding platform, to prepare the business for its launch next May.

The company, headed by professional fundraiser James Clayton-Jones, has full planning permission and a 10-year lease on the site neighbouring the Midlothian Snowsports Centre.

Mr Clayton-Jones said the location of the facility, close to an international city, will be key to its success.

"Nearly all of the current zorbing sites in the UK are located in rural or semi-rural areas, making access difficult. Our location sets us apart, being situated close to Edinburgh with access to 750,000 potential customers within a 30-minute drive," he said. "We will also benefit from a thriving tourism market."

Rolling Haggis was launched in 2009 by Mr Clayton-Jones, a development manager who has raised funds for projects including the National Museum of Scotland and recently at Edinburgh University, where he is helping to generate £6.5 million to redevelop St Cecelia's Hall.

Derek Bond, Squareknot's managing director, said: "It is an ambitious start-up with an exciting business proposition, taking advantage of a niche within the Scottish adventure experience market."

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