Awesomely Stockport – From Church to Mill

by Mick Ryan click to enlarge In June we reported on Dave Douglas´s plans for a new Awesome Walls in Stockport. Although the location-location-location was secret at the time it didn´t take long for people to suss that it was here…(click for map). Dave Douglas is the owner of Awesome Walls in Liverpool, a church turned popular climbing centre (website) and he has sought to expand his successful wall with another venue in the North-West and after some searching this is the place. The Pear New Mill, (or Pear Mill), is situated on the banks of the River Goyt at Lower Bredbury, Stockport and was constructed in 1913 at the cost of of around £150,000. The architects were A.H. Stott and Sons of Manchester. The building is seven-storeys high and constructed from red Accrington brick with big arched windows lined by yellow bricks, and has a unique pear-shaped dome atop the water tower and a rather distinctive tall chimney. See photo – click here -. In its heyday it housed 52 pairs of spinning mules with a total of 137,312 spindles powered by a double Manhattan engine constucted by George Saxon Ltd, and employed 300 local people spinning Egyptian, American and Brazilian cotton ready to be woven in the weaving sheds of East Lancashire. The mill closed in 1978 and now, like many mills and churches, is being used to house small industrial units and retail space…….and now a new climbing wall. The main wall is massive with multiple routes averaging 14m (46ft) in height and in its centre a featured free-standing central fin will be built with an abseil station on top for tuition. Rockworks from Newcastle are busy on this main area as you can see in this photo (click).. Dave promises 76 bolt lines (3 routes on each) spread out over 1,500m² of climbing surface. Beyond the main area is what Douglas calls the tall room with routes upto 24m (78ft) in height, this is a picture looking down the abyss – click here -. Also planned is a three level ´mezzanine´ at the entrance comprising of spacious admission and changing area, snack bar and viewing gallery. Andy Long and Jason Pickles (who built the Sheffield ?Climbing Works?) have built a state of the art dedicated bouldering arena: 500m² of bouldering of all angles up to a height of 4.5m (14ft+) , you can see photos here and here and includes a campus board (photo) if you enjoy injurying yourself. We tracked down Jason Pickles, one of the Awesome walls bouldering builders, in a cave in the Chew Valley and asked him what he thought of Awesome Stockport.”Jason what do you think of Awesome Stockport?” He was climbing above Rory Browne and Rob, who was doing his first rock climb, you can see Jason´s answerhere – click We did wonder why Pickles was actually at these esoteric quarries. Closer inspection revealed a stunning off-width roof crack that explained why he was crouching in a cave on the Saddleworth moors like a Gollum in some Mordor cave, you can see the fist-stack here. Awesome Walls – Stockport. will be operating a strict ?No Membership Fee? policy, so you just pay your entrance fee and climb. In addition they are starting an ?Awesome Loyalty Card Scheme? at Liverpool, which rewards regular users with free hot drinks, cookies, muffins and climbs. The loyalty cards will be able to be used in both Awesome Walls.