It was nearing the middle of July and I was restless. Too much admin and screen time had drained my motivation and I was sat thinking when was the last time I just took my camera somewhere for the day with no real agenda? When was the last time I did something in my city purely for the sake of doing something in my city? So I took to Google. Within two minutes I was on the website for an event I’d never heard of and would never normally seek out that was on in two days time. It was also in a park I’d never been to (I really need to explore more!) an easy bus journey away.
The event I’d found was Cliffhanger, proudly proclaiming itself “the UK’s biggest outdoor event for outdoor people”. Now, ordinarily this would have been enough to send me back to Google. Yes, I’ve been on family camping holidays and I’ve done the odd ‘outdoor activity’ on school trips to Wales and other such character building destinations. But ‘outdoor people’ wear lycra based clothes and own sturdy trainer type shoes that they’ve worn more than once and a backpack with three water bottle pockets and a detachable compass. At least, that’s what I pictured on reading that phrase. Outdoor person I was not, but armed with a camera I could attend this event under the persona of ‘Photographer’ and avoid the inevitable pointing and laughing as I wandered the park in my flimsy shoes and compass-less handbag. So, it was decided. As it happened, a friend then texted me to see if he could visit that weekend. He regularly goes bouldering (like rock climbing but not) and owns cycling gear. Need I say more.
So it was that the two of us found ourselves entering Millhouses Park on a warm Saturday in July along with hundreds of people of all ages (not all wearing lycra, I might add) to enjoy a day of ‘outdoor events’. There was plenty going on, so much so that we felt the need to walk the full length of the park to take it all in before I even took my camera out. Once I did take my camera out though, I couldn’t stop snapping!
Whilst there, we witnessed daredevil bike, skateboard and scooter tricks; bike polo (a pretty intense sport I never knew existed before); frisbee golf (less intense, but yet again a new sport to me); zorbing fights; and the women’s British Bouldering Championships. There were food stalls, climbing and abseiling walls that fearless children half my height were enjoying, a giant zip wire, kayaks and other boats to have a go in, live demonstrations and more. A part of me thought why on earth haven’t I come to this before?! The rest of me knows why and hangs its head in shame at my unwillingness to step outside my comfort zone and discover its not actually that uncomfortable. And sometimes its pretty damn photogenic.
This year’s Cliffhanger is taking place 9th-10th July in city centre, for more information go to www.cliff-hanger.co.uk
See my blogpost about meeting and photographing Everest climber Bonita Norris by clicking here for more on being adventurous!