John, now owner of the Manchester and Harrogate Climbing Centres (and soon Reading), used to fuel his days climbing at Malham with trips to the Beck Hall Cafe famous for their plate o'cakes. There were eight cakes to a plate and John was one of the few climbers who could finish the full monty in one sitting. A feat some said was more impressive than his climbing.
At the official opening of the Harrogate Climbing Centre last Tuesday, John, aided by 8,000 metre peak bagger, Alan Hinkes, put his old skills to good use. As well as cake eating, top climbers Dave Barrans, Ben Bransby and Matt Birch were there for demos and technique classes.
"We wanted to make sure that HCC was absolutely perfect before throwing the launch party, and the addition of the new Indulge Deli Bar completes the centre perfectly" explained centre manager Mike Lloyd, "Everyone that visited the centre on the night raved about the centre and were impressed by the extensive facilities; I think a lot of people expected us to build a little 'have a go wall' in Harrogate but the reality is much different, it's a world-class venue".
The grand opening was conducted by Alan Hinkes OBE and centre-owner John Dunne, both of whom are well known amongst the Yorkshire climbing community. The event drew over 500 people despite the perfect cragging weather, and saw £1000 pounds worth of prizes won during speed climbing and dyno competitions, as well as a very accessible combined bouldering, top-roping and leading ladder.
A free masterclass from Dave Barrans had filled up days before-hand, but luckily Ben Bransby and Mat Birch were on hand for demos and technique coaching, as well as demonstrating equipment and shoes from DMM, Evolv and Metolius.
Overall it was a very social event, with the trendily designed Indulge Deli Bar providing the perfect mingling space to enjoy the complimentary food and Black Sheep ale on offer for those not in the climbing mood!