A Perfect Summer Weekend

By Gracie Martin

Queue blue skies, highs of 30C, the British Bouldering Championships, Zorbing, Slack lining, biking, and ice cream. These are certainly the ingredients for a great weekend, and that is definitely what it was. Over the 6th and 7th July the annual Cliffhanger festival has taken place in Graves Park, Sheffield. I always look forward to this event, its one of my favourite weekends of the year, no matter what. Its always great to compete in the big circus tent and then relax with friends later on. This year was definitely no exception.

If you missed the action why not buy your own Clifhanger T-Shirt, we have a few womens, mens and kidssizes left over.

Ph. Dan Bradley

On Saturday I arrived in good time; the bright colours of the festival flags billowing in the breeze, the upbeat tunes coming from the big tent and many smiling, happy faces instantly put me at ease. As the women’s qualifiers weren’t till the afternoon I spent the remainder of the morning chilling out and cheering on the men. It was great to see so many people I knew all in one place. It was like the whole climbing community had turned up to support. The time then came to get into isolation, the tone became more serious but everyone was still having a great time. Qualifiers went well and I easily made the semis - which were to take place on the Sunday.

After an early start semis began, I was really pleased with my performance and as it turned out I came 7th, only once place away from making finals! Not bad for the first time in a senior event! Having been confined to the sweaty, humid tent for hours I decided it was time to get some fresh air and have a look around the rest of the festival, before the final began at 4.

There were loads of great things to have a go at; from orienteering, scuba diving, slacklining, biking, tennis, to climbing - you could try it all. There were also a number of stands selling outdoor products. You could really feel our presence at the festival, as no matter where you were you could see the big flags or the Teepee, loaned to the Friends of the Peak District for the event. The aim of the association is to protect an promote the Peak District so it can be preserved for many generations to come and throughout the weekend the Teepee was used as a storytelling area. It was really busy and Im sure many youngsters enjoyed hearing an enthralling tale or two.

Ph. Dan Bradley

The Thornbridge Outdoors climbing wall was also supported by ourselves. The wall had bouldering pads to get people used to the idea of climbing inside. I hope it got some people hooked and motivated to get on the real rock!

Our stand was situated very near to the big tent, where the climbing competition was being held, and also next the the BMC stand. The products looked great, and the beanbags set up outside the stall were perfect to chill out on. The product of the weekend had to be the new bikepacking kit, which is made in the UK. It is great for multi day off cycle touring trips. The idea behind this product is to free bikers from the shackles of old fashioned heavy equipment. It allows you to carry everything you need for an overnight stay without impacting on the exhilarating riding experience.

Having had time to wander around it was time for the final of the competition to begin. Competitors came out for viewing and there was an auction of Climber Against Cancer (CAC) T-shirts, signed by the athletes. The event supported CAC, a cancer charity set up by Jon Ellison - a wonderful man sadly diagnosed with terminal cancer. It aims to raise money to research cures for cancer across 5 continents.

Ph. Dan Bradley

The final problems looked insane and everyone was hyped up, ready to see some amazing climbing from the best in the country. We were not dissapointed, the athletes put on a great show and gave it everything. Both Dave Barrans and Shauna Coxsey retained their titles and made all the blocs look effortless.

The weekend was, yet again, brilliant. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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