Winter Sports

Royal Navy receives country's first luge training ramp, boosting UK winter sports

Royal Navy winter athletes are the first in the UK to receive a special artificial training ramp to hopefully give them the lead in the luge.

Engineering students from Glasgow Caledonian University, working with local primary school children, designed and produced the first artificial luge ramp on the land.

The impressive ramp is 2.5 metres high, and 13m long and has now been officially handed over to the RN Luge Team.

The training ramp will allow the Royal Navy athletes to practise their race starts – seated on a small sled or luge, rocking back and forth on fixed handles – before hurtling down the ice track, feet first, head facing the sky, at speeds potentially in excess of 85mph.

The 10-month project is the result of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) partnership between the university's Mechanical Engineering Department, the Royal Navy and children from six Renfrewshire primary schools.

With no ramp starts in the UK, the 15-strong Royal Navy Luge team struggles to train or find fresh blood; it relies on two weeks of novice ice camps every year to find new athletes.

Royal Navy winter athletes first in the UK to receive special luge ramp 10062022 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
Engineering students from Glasgow Caledonian University, working with local primary school children, designed and produced the first artificial luge ramp on the land (Picture: Royal Navy).

Lieutenant Commander Emma Miles, the Royal Navy Luge team captain, says luge is "the fastest of the three ice disciplines, timed to a 1,000th".

"Races are won by as little as 0.001 second over the cumulative times from two runs. Such tight margins make for excitement in both racing and spectating as the slightest error can lose the competition.

"Whilst it is the fastest, it is also the hardest and can take athletes upwards of 10 years to master and become competitive on the world stage."

The addition of the ramp will allow the lugers to attend or run grassroots events and summer training camps to recruit more athletes and develop the starting skills and sled handling abilities of existing members.

And although the start ramp has been delivered to the Navy, it will be used by winter athletes from all three Armed Forces teams, as well as GB Luge, by enabling more grassroots events and the ability to identify talent at a younger age.