When: March 11th, 6:30pm – 5am
Where: 6 Birchall St, Sandhills
We’ve visited indoor wall The Climbing Hangar for several years, and the entire time it’s been great with amazing staff and decent snacks and a bathroom with a SHOWER just in case you climb so hard you sweat i.e. never in our case.
Then, a couple of years ago, owner Ged had the bright idea of giving the place a glow in the dark makeover. Luminous handholds and art mysteriously appeared, whilst outdoors was developed into a BBQ area.
The winter bouldering league runs annually between October and March, so you’ve basically missed most of it, but not to worry! March 11th marks the end of Winter with the legendary UV night. You can climb on the night, or we suggest making a day of it so you’re less likely to fall on top of someone.
This is Ged being a rascal:
We wanted to hear what he had to say for himself, and it was all so eloquent we couldn’t trim it down.
Climbing changed my life in a way I never imagined before I started it. I was always rubbish at team sports and left school thinking I was crap at sport, so when I tried climbing and was good at it, despite being terrified of heights, I really enjoyed it. Still though, I thought it was just another sport, albeit a funky one.
One day I found myself waking up in a cave overlooking the sea into a glorious sunrise and we cooked bacon on the camp stove before climbing on the sea cliffs for the day. I never knew something like this might happen in my life, a flame of ‘Oh my god this is amazing’ exploded in my chest. I quit my job as a chef in Bournemouth and moved to Scotland to work in the mountains.
Before climbing my friends were my age and like me in background and perspective. Now immersed in climbing some friends were older than my parents, some younger than my little brother. Some were minted, others poor, our politics were diverse and the conversation rich.
The broad church of climbing changed my horizons and what I was to expect from life which was in essence ‘Time not money.’ It feels we live in a world where often income, education, gender, politics etc. divide us, even most sports divide us on abilities like speed or endurance, but indoor climbing allows us to participate together, at our own level of challenge.
This glorious aspect of indoor climbing means I get to do my favorite thing with my favorite people, it means mums get to climb with sons, daughters with grandads and so on. I was inspired to bring this shared space to as many people as possible and to break down social barriers so we all start talking to each other again – naively perhaps – I hope this will contribute towards a fairer, kinder society.
‘I go to Awesome Walls’ you say? Well y’know what’s good about the Hangar? Bouldering walls aren’t very close to the sky so you’re much less likely to need the UV coffin Ged has attached to the wall (we don’t know why either – you’ll have to ask him).
So, where did inspiration come for the UV parties?
Bringing art and new experiences into people’s lives is something that really excites me. I was taken clubbing a few times in my early twenties and was stunned to discover that I liked dance music after being convinced that it was only the horrendous too loud to talk/trying to pull/trying not to get in a fight I grew up with. People were nice, the music was good, the sound system didn’t give me tinnitus, there were chill out rooms for chatting, there was artwork and strobes and lasers! I always remember a man wearing a fish with a wavy tail as a hat…it was so colourful and loads of fun. Best of all it was a surprise!
UV night is a homage to those surprise nights out – I wanted to reinvent a familiar space, to take a crowd of climbers who were in the building to climb and get them climbing into a UV coffin on an overhang, swinging from fluorescent steel cubes swaying in space and basically being daft. I was able to pool the creative talents of our customers for food, dance and fire performances, aerial silks, DJ’s and live bands, even the visuals! Everyone was keen to get involved and make the event special – there’s nothing like collaborative work for inspiring creativity! The night has grown every year and this year will see new creative action too – cannot wait!
There will be prizes, fire and circus performers, a slackline, digital visuals by Meat Cassette, live music and DJs, food and a bar as well as some surprises. If that all gets a bit too much or you need a power nap there’s the pirate ship.
It’s a really boss night and one of the highlights of our calendar. Everybody goes all-out, so stock up on your glow sticks and UV paint. Each year has sold out so grab a ticket from Eventbrite from February 8th, ranging from £5 to £20.
PS: No you aren’t allowed to climb drunk (they clocked onto that after the first event).