Millhouses Park hosts ninth annual event this weekend

Fun in the sun at the 2014 version of Cliffhanger held in Millhouses Park
Fun in the sun at the 2014 version of Cliffhanger held in Millhouses Park
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Cliffhanger - Celebrating city’s love of running, climbing, biking and more - featuring british bouldering championships

It may have high rise tower blocks and sprawling estates but Sheffield - the country’s greenest city - is showcasing its love of the great outdoors this weekend.

The UK’s biggest outdoor festival, Cliffhanger, returns to Sheffield on Saturday and Sunday, with organisers once again expecting thousands of visitors to flock to Millhouses Park.

Climbers, stunt bikers, kayakers and freerunners are among those who traditionally attend the event - one of the biggest on Sheffield City Council’s calendar - alongside city families keen to try their hand at a range of outdoor pursuits available on their doorstep.

This year zorbing in giant water balls is expected to prove a hit along with a high ropes bridge and climbing wall.

A purpose built cycleway has also been constructed for cyclists to ride around the park.

Fun in the sun at the 2014 version of Cliffhanger held in Millhouses Park

Fun in the sun at the 2014 version of Cliffhanger held in Millhouses Park

But one of the highlights of the weekend is set to be the British Bouldering Championships, where festival-goers can see the very best climbers in the UK compete.

Visitors can also try angling, bike polo, bowling, caving, golf, kiting, kayaking and tennis.

An obstacle will be set up along with a zip line. There will also be craft sessions and drama workshops on offer.

Outdoor enthusiast Robert Beard is hoping to enthral visitors with details of his escapades in a series of talks he will deliver in a story tent to be erected in the park.

Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “Cliffhanger is an action-packed weekend, which perfectly showcases Sheffield’s excellence as the UK’s premier outdoor city.

“The festival is about inspiring people to test their limits and to try new activities, all set within the stunning landscape of Millhouses Park.

“We know that the outdoor industry is huge here in Sheffield. So, in addition to a huge range of activities and demonstrations, there will also be a selection of retailers in the ‘bargain area,’ enabling people to stock up on the kit they need for their favourite pursuit.”

Cliffhanger, which is in its ninth year, is organised by Sheffield City Council in conjunction with Heason Events.

Sponsors this year are Reward Health, XScape, Skydive Hibaldstowe, Haybrook, Heart and Decathlon.

More money is spent on outdoor equipment in the city than anywhere else in the UK.

There are more than 200 outdoor equipment businesses trading in the city.

Last year an independent study, carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, found that outdoor recreation in Sheffield generates more than £53 million in economic output a year.

Exhibitions will be staged and activities organised by a number of organisations including Edale Mountain Rescue, the Friends of Millhouses Park, the National Trust, the Peak District National Park Authority, the RSPB, the Salmon and Trout Association, Sheffield Sea Cadets, Sheffield Wildlife Trust and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Meanwhile, hungry festivalgoers will be able to choose from an eclectic range of caterers providing refreshments including pizza, Thai food, burgers, pulled pork, BBQ food, Mexican street food, churros, pies, samosas, ices and locally-sourced meat. There will also be a licensed bar.

People travelling from across the UK for Cliffhanger are about to camp at a temporary site at Abbeydale Sports Club.

Coun Bramall added: “This year is a bumper year for Sheffield’s status as an outdoor city with nationally and internationally-renowned events such as the Climbing Works, International Masters, the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, the Steel City Downhill, the International Adventure Conference and the European Outdoor Summit.

“We are building on our reputation, re-branding Sheffield as the outdoor city, and using this unique offer to bring in more business and tourism.

“With two thirds of the city boundaries within the Peak District National Park, a greater spend per head on outdoor equipment than the rest of the UK, an above average participation rate in outdoor pursuits and more than 200 outdoor businesses, the outdoor economy has huge significance to our city – and Cliffhanger is just one great example of just how exciting this can be.”

For more information visit Cliffhanger Accompanied children under the age of 16 go free.