Sheffield sells an image of grit and adventure

Boulder hopping in The Peak on Stanage Edge
Boulder hopping in The Peak on Stanage Edge

One of the reasons given by students for choosing Sheffield is the wealth of outdoor activities within easy reach - the climbing, mountain biking, running, walking ...

Many of them opt to stay in the city, some starting their own businesses.

As universities face up to a more competitive environment, the highlighting of what the city and neighbouring Peak has to offer can only help encourage future students to opt for Sheffield or Hallam.

Environmental attractiveness is also a factor when companies decide where to relocate or establish a new business.

Although local people may appreciate what is on the doorstep, the message has often failed to reach the rest of the country and further afield.

Moves to promote Sheffield as the UK’s outdoor ‘capital’ reflect a civic desire to establish a much closer relationship with the Peak District tourism organisation, Visit Peak District, as well as Yorkshire counterpart, Welcome to Yorkshire.

Yet the challenge is to make progress against a background of shrinking council budgets and financial stringencies among potential partners.

The idea is for word to be spread not only through usual tourism channels, but with all interested parties, including the council, educational institutions and businesses, agreeing to adopt the mantra in their communications.

Brendan Moffatt, director of marketing agency Creative Sheffield, believes the approach is in line with Sheffield’s attempts to establish a reputation based on quality, whether it be the knowledge encapsulated in the city’s two universities or in advanced manufacturing or the creative and digital industries.

The signalling of the Great Outdoors is also in tune with the city’s aspirations to appeal to younger people through music and fashion, he says, with social media offering an opportunity to drive home the message.

Already Sheffield has plenty to shout about, but the package has never been put together and marketed.

In addition to climbers being lured for many years to the Peak gritstone, the city can point to The Foundry in Mowbray Street as the first indoor climbing wall in country. The world’s largest bouldering wall is at Climbing Works off Little London Road.

Awesome Walls is opening one of the largest indoor centres in the country in Grimesthorpe.

There is no shortage of local heroes. Steve Peat is a multi world mountain bike champion, Helen Elmore, of Dark Peak Fell Runners, is English fell running champion, BMX rider Abbie Taylor has graduated from the Bole Hills in Crookes to number three in the world.

Go Outdoors, originally CCC, has developed into a national brand with its headquarters in Hill Street, off Bramall Lane. Buffalo is an international clothing brand which has kept its manufacturing base in Sheffield.

The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival is an annual three day festival at the Showroom Cinema.

Slackjaw Films, which started in a bedroom in Wath Road, Nether Edge, won ten international awards for Hard Grit, which has been described as arguably the best ever climbing video.

There’s a lot to tell, now the challenge is to let the rest of the world know.