Sheffield - Tha Adventure Capital Of The UK?
Adventure Capital Of The UK.
It's a phrase that bugs me a little really. How do you qualify as an adventure capital? It's basically a marketing ploy. Lot's of places lay claim to it. Fort William and Keswick to name two. But Sheffield has never really registered as far as I am aware. Well let's have a look at whether it might.
Welcome To Yorkshire have just produced a massive run of little booklets highlighting all the adventurous things there are to do in the county, from climbing and mountain biking to caving and surfing. Add to that the fact that the Peak District is primarily within Derbyshire, and there may just be an argument for a local claim.
I've read that the Peak is generally considered the best place in the country to go mountain biking. Sheffield City Council and a dedicated group of volunteers (This Is Sheffield / Ride Sheffield) have massively raised the profile of biking within the city, with a whole bunch of purpose built tracks to be built at Parkwood Springs (not far from the Ski Village).
Sheffield's S7 postal code is reputed to have the highest density of rock climbers anywhere on the planet (I certainly moved to the city for the climbing and I know a whole load more people who did the same). The city has 4 nationally significant climbing walls.
If you're a runner it's got that covered too. Runbritain.com last week posted an article posing the question 'Is Sheffield The UK Capital Of Running?'. South Yorkshire Orienteers have to be among the most active running clubs in the country. Jenny Johnson, one of their committee members also pointed out to me that in addition to the events listed in the article Sheffield is hosting the Long and Relay British Orienteering Champs which is a world ranking event.
The weekend of March 4-6 is probably the busiest on the outdoor calendar anywhere in the country at any time of year. The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival will be on in the Showroom Cinema, the British Mountaineering Council Youth Climbing Series Regional Final will be on at The Foundry Climbing Centre, the Climbing Works, the world's biggest bouldering facility will be hosting the CWIF, an internationally renowned bouldering masters with a large purse and a great atmosphere, and local mountain biking legend Steve Peat is organising the Steel City Downhill, the city's first ever downhill mountain bike race in Grenoside Woods. Once this weekend is out of the way preparations will begin immediately for the UK's largest outdoor event for outdoor people, Cliffhanger. Held in Millhouses Park just on the border of the Peak District it ties in with the Alpkit Shakeout, a music and camping based event aimed at outdoors folk. The Steel City Downhill is only the first in a series of events planned for the city. Speakers From The Edge and Heason Events are the two biggest speakers bureaus in the country specialising in adventurous speakers and both are based locally.
And I am sure I've missed off plenty - feel free to email me if you know of, or organise an event that should be included in the above.
So, could Sheffield be the Adventure Capital Of The UK? In my opinion it doesn’t need to brand itself with this accolade, the city's developed a reputation as the number one destination for outdoor enthusiasts and already attracts visitors from around the world. Job done as far as I'm concerned.