Saturday, 28 April 2012

The UK's biggest outdoors adventure sports event gets BIGGER

Last July was hot. Very hot, if I do recall. And my biggest memory of this heat was being at Cliffhanger, sat in the sunshine, in Millhouses Park, Sheffield, watching the dyno competition. I did not envy those climbers. It was almost too hot to simply sit, so launching yourself from jug to jug did not appeal - unless you enjoy sweating... a lot.

The shade generously provided by the huge marquee that engulfed the competition wall for the Sheffield leg of the IFSC Bouldering World Cup was most welcome. It was cool in there. Like sweet relief, those that didn't want to bake their skin in UV rays dived under the canopy.

Nevertheless, the heat wasn't debilitating, and I did make the obligatory rounds of the entire event. My main intention in attending was to catch the World Cup competition. Watching some of the world's strongest battle it out for the crown drew me in - but there was so much more on offer. Indeed, I wrote a blog about it at the time.

This year, however, Cliffhanger has teamed up with Rat Race and is moving! No longer will it be based in the long and slender Millhouses Park, running between a stream and a dual carriage way. Instead, "the UK's biggest outdoors event for outdoor people", as the strapline goes, is moving to Graves Park this summer. The larger venue brings with it a number of added bonuses. Alongside all the shops, food stalls, games, activities, demonstrations, and the British Bouldering Competition, there will also be a music stage, onsite camping and parking! 

Don't underestimate the value of parking onsite. One of the biggest problems with holding the event in Millhouses Park was a lack of places to leave the car. The residents of the area definitely knew when Cliffhanger hit, because a massive influx of vehicles descend on their roads. Finding a space within a mile of the park was hard work. So the fact that this will be catered for at Graves is definitely welcome.

Festival co-organiser Matt Heason said: "This is a big step up for Cliffhanger. Graves Park is a brilliant venue. Right in the heart of the city but on the doorstep of the Peak District, it spreads over more than 200 acres and is surrounded by ancient woods."

So, with that in mind, I can't wait! Get it down in your calendars... July 7 and 8. If you're into your outdoors/adventure sports, you've got to attend. There's no ifs or buts about it. Get down there!