Summit going on at Cliffhanger! - PICTURES

IF you thought Cliffhanger was just about climbing, think again.

In three short years it has mushroomed into a massive celebration of all things outdoors and this weekend it occupied all of Millhouses Park.

From the bouldering competition wall in the huge big top-style tent, to the angling displays at the far end, was a 10-minute walk packed with activities to get the heart beating.

Some were a real surprise, like the temporary scuba diving pool which had been set up on a tennis court.

Youngsters donned wetsuits and oxygen tanks and experienced the thrill of breathing underwater.

Gabi Smith, aged eight, of Ecclesall, couldn't decide if it was like being a shark or a dolphin, but she knew she'd had fun.

She said: "It was hard at first and a bit scary. But I was really grateful for the chance to try it."

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Steve Hird, of Hillsborough-based Diveworld, said he started filling the 30ft by 12ft pool, which was 4ft deep, with a hose at 9.30am on Friday. It was finally ready at 2.30am on Saturday.

Just a few strides away passers-by were intrigued by the hot new activity for climbers when they're not climbing - slacklining.

Like tight-rope walking on a loose and therefore very wobbly line, the man in charge Rich Mayfield, 41, said it was difficult but addictive.

Meanwhile the boating pond had been taken over by Sheffield City Kayak Club and a long line of parents and children formed as they waited their turn.

Chair Tony Canning said: "The kids absolutely love it, get them on the water and it's amazing how they just take off."

Tony even brought his home-made coracle along, based on a 400-year-old design, although he warned it was dangerously unstable.

He added: "You've got to have good balance, it's very easy to capsize."

The newest 'extreme' sport Parkour, or free running, had its own area, with a battered Fiat Punto forming the launch pad for a succession of young bucks who pulled outrageous vaults and leaps.

Meanwhile soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment had set up an enormous zip wire.

There were smaller activities everywhere including archery, inline skating, orienteering, a pull up competition, a giant 'alpine' slide and a firelighting demonstration by the council's countryside rangers.

But massive as Cliffhanger has now become, climbing is at the heart of it all.

The giant tent was the scene of the British Bouldering Championships.

On Saturday 50 boys and 40 girls under 17 vied for the title of the best in Britain. Yesterday it was the adults' turn.

Route setter Percy Bishton, of the Climbing Works bouldering gym in Woodseats, said Cliffhanger could host a World Cup event next year, putting it firmly on the world climbing map.

He added: "Cliffhanger is the only event of its kind in the country and it's fitting it should be held in Sheffield, the climbing capital of the country."

Zoe Crompton, 44, and Paul Pryce, 43, came down from Leeds on Saturday.

Zoe said: "It's a chance to watch people compete and meet up with people that we know.

There's not that many events for climbers and this is not something we want to miss."

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