A MINI mountain offered youngsters in the region a chance to try rock climbing.

Children in Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, Durham City, donned helmets and harnesses to scale the sides of the 25ft artificial climbing wall.

The structure features 200 hand-holds and foot-holds, offering various routes to the top.

Centre manager Richard Toynbee said: "This isn't the first time we have invited Rock-IT to the Prince Bishops.

"It proved such a hit with our customers, we managed to secure it for the weekend.

"As it is the Easter holidays, we are more than happy to provide an exciting activity for the kids while they are off school. It's a long way up, mind, so you wouldn't see me up there."

The Rock-IT climbing wall is the only one of its kind in the North-East and was built in the US.

It has featured at many attractions in the region, including the Durham County Show and the Sunderland Air Show.

The wall is a popular attraction and has bookings stretching until 2007.

Paul Beadle, owner of Rock-IT, said: "Safety is paramount on the wall.

"It's an amazing sight when you first see it, but it can be quite nerve-wracking.

"We emphasise it is perfectly safe with the latest climbing equipment and fully qualified instructors."