Gorge choice for Olympic climbing?

PUBLISHED: 04:28 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:55 24 May 2010

Two daring climbers pictured attempting the Tyrolean traverse.

Two daring climbers pictured attempting the Tyrolean traverse.

MORE than £1million has been spent on turning Cheddar Gorge into the country's top climbing venue. The Longleat Estate, which owns the caves and the south side of the gorge, says it has spent the cash on creating more than 300 sport and adventure climbs,

MORE than £1million has been spent on turning Cheddar Gorge into the country's top climbing venue.The Longleat Estate, which owns the caves and the south side of the gorge, says it has spent the cash on creating more than 300 sport and adventure climbs, more than anywhere else in the country.The company has spent 17 years carefully restoring routes through the gorge and carrying out vital rock safety work.Work has also been carried out on protecting the limestone, improving the gorge for visitors and wildlife.If climbing becomes an official Olympic sport by the time of the 2012 Olympics in London, Cheddar would now have to be considered as a serious contender to be the venue for the competition.A new climbing guide written by Martin Crocker on the 300 new climbs was launched by mountaineering legend Chris Bonington this week, and the gorge bosses hope to attract expert climbers from across the world.Some of the best climbers in Britain gathered at the gorge this week to mark the occasion and attempted one of the most daring stunts in the sport - a Tyrolean traverse.The perilous stunt, pictured right, involved crossing two pinnacles in the gorge 450ft above the ground suspended on two ropes attached to the top of the cliffs. Top climber Nigel Elliot performed the nerve-racking manoeuvre across Creeps Gully, the first time a Tyrolean traverse has ever taken place across the gorge.Bob Smart, of Cheddar Caves and Gorge, said: "Most of the climbs are over car parks in the Gorge, and we've been spending a great deal of money making sure that everything is safe."With climbs like Coronation Street - one of the most popular in the UK in Cheddar Gorge, we have more climbs in a comparable space than anywhere else in the country.

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