28 June 2017

It attracts the best of the best – and this year the BMC British Bouldering Championships will return to centre stage at this year’s Cliffhanger festival in Sheffield city centre.

Cliffhanger, sponsored by the Business Improvement District and billed as Sheffield’s inner city festival dedicated to celebrating the outdoors, is set to be held at locations including the Peace Gardens, Tudor Square, Millennium Square and the Winter Garden from Friday, 7 July until Sunday, 9 July.

Activities will kick off from 5pm on the Friday evening in Devonshire Green with an evening of live music, a bar and refreshments from a range of food and drink outlets.

Then, on Saturday and Sunday, Sheffield will be transformed into a giant outdoor playground, with professional demonstrations and activities in sports including climbing, mountain biking, running, skateboarding, orienteering and much more.

Once again, a star attraction will be the British Bouldering Championships, where the nation’s strongest boulderers will battle it out on a purpose-build bouldering wall in Devonshire Green.

GB team member Jim Pope will be taking part in the championships.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to competing in the senior British Bouldering Championships.

“Sheffield has always been a hub for climbing in Britain and the event is always good fun to go up against the best of the country.

“Devonshire Green is a great location for the competition and hopefully it will help to raise some awareness of climbing.”

The pivotal event of every boulderer’s calendar since 1998, the British Bouldering Championships forms the national championships in the UK. It’s free to watch and the competition wall will be surrounded by food and drink stalls and other attractions.

Qualifiers will be held on Saturday 8 July, while the semi-finals and finals will take place on Sunday 9 July.

Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID manager, said: “Sheffield BID is pleased to be support Cliffhanger for the second consecutive year. Events are essential in creating energy in a city and Cliffhanger is one of the city’s most exciting outdoor events.

“We know from our experience last year that Cliffhanger helped increase footfall, encouraged dwell time and drove additional trade into our local businesses during a typically quieter trading period.

“Once again, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate to visitors what Sheffield City Centre can offer – a great leisure destination, independent and high street retailers, a wide choice of eateries and bars and entertainment venues.

“One of the BID’s objectives is to make the city centre feel busier, increasing visitor numbers, promoting a vibrant destination whilst supporting economic development. Cliffhanger is an excellent example of events that help deliver this objective.

“It was investment from Sheffield BID that secured the city centre as a location for Cliffhanger last year and we’re delighted that it’s returning for a second year for what is becoming a popular date in the city’s event calendar.

“With so many amazing things happening over the Cliffhanger weekend it truly is a must see for residents and visitors nationwide.”

As well as a range of attractions for adrenaline junkies, such as a Tough Guy circuit, scuba diving and a pop-up running track from England Athletics, there will also be more relaxing family-friendly fun, including crafts with rangers from Ecclesall Woods, yoga, and the chance to meet representatives from the RSPB, the Wildlife Trust and the Friends of the Peak District.

The Cavendish Cancer Care Urban Challenge, meanwhile, on Sunday 9 July, involves a 2km run, a 1km bike sprint and a 12-floor stair climb, before an adrenaline-fuelled abseil down Sheffield Hallam University’s Owen Building.

Craft beer fans may want to try the limited edition Cliffhanger Pale ale, being served up at True North Brew Co in Eldon Street, adjacent to Devonshire Green. The bar will be open from 5pm to 11pm on Friday 7 July and from 12noon to 11pm on Saturday 8 July and Sunday 9 July.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “I’m looking forward to another fun-filled active Cliffhanger weekend, after the undoubted success of last year’s move to the city centre.

“It was great to see so many more people coming to the festival last year. The city centre location and the removal of an admission fee brought thousands more people to the event, including more young people, students, and those who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have thought to try out activities such as bouldering, slacklining or skateboarding.

“The location also fits perfectly with Sheffield’s status as The Outdoor City and our reputation as the UK’s leading destination for people seeking that unique combination of outdoor adventure and city centre culture.”

Cliffhanger 2017 follows a series of outdoors events in Sheffield, including the final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire and the second annual Outdoor City Weekender, which incorporated the Magnificent Seven, the Howard Street Dual, the Climbing Works International Festival and the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival.

As well as the City Centre BID, current sponsors include the University of Derby.

Admission to Cliffhanger is free.