Tag Archives: Yorkshire

Yorkshire gives a warm welcome to the Tour de France

Yorkshire promised a Grand Départ to remember and we certainly delivered.

From the first time I saw the Welcome to Yorkshire bid video, I knew that the good folk of Yorkshire (and the French) could look forward to a weekend they would never forget:

As the Tour grew closer, locals thought of innovative ways they could get into the spirit of the event without contravening strict brand guidelines. Colour featured heavily – from Yorkshire Building Society’s 150 yellow sheep grazing the hillsides of Kettlewell to the 100’s of yellow bikes and coloured jerseys that sprung up around the county. Knaresborough alone had over 2km of tour themed bunting strung around the town centre and our Local Mayor Tony Handley had even painted his house with red polka dots in honour of the occasion!

Yorkshire Building Society yellow sheep kettlewell

Yorkshire Building Society Tour de France Yellow Sheep

Yorkshire Building Society Tour de France Yellow Sheep

 
Mayor Tony Handley's red spotty house Knaresborough

Sheer Bliss yellow bike


yellow umbrella sculpture, Knaresborough

Yellow bike Knaresborough

Suddenly, after months of preparation, the weekend of the 5/6 July 2014 was upon us all.  On Saturday morning I shoehorned my way onto the train at Knaresborough station, camera in hand, and set off with many other 1000’s of people to celebrate the World’s largest annual sporting event not just visiting Harrogate, but ending its first stage there. I was in good company – the Royals and Prime Minister David Cameron had turned out in force and there were even rumours that David Beckham was in town!

The day did not disappoint. The forecasted rain never emerged and instead the sun shone against a brilliant blue sky. Many chose to line the streets, whilst others watched the race on a big screen in the purpose built fan park on The Stray.

Tour de France Harrogate

Koen de Kort Tour de France 2014

Tour de France Harrogate

Tour de France Harrogate

Tour de France Harrogate

Later, as the riders and team entourage had left to prepare for day 2, 1000’s of friends and families enjoyed the evening sun on the Stray – eating, drinking and listening to the live music.

Tour de France Harrogate

Tour de France Harrogate

Sunday dawned and with it the opportunity to witness the Tour passing through my home town of Knaresborough. Voted the Tour’s ‘Best Dressed Town’, the townsfolk of Knaresborough had certainly got into the spirit of things and that included two famous former residents – Blind Jack and Mother Shipton.

Blind Jack Knaresborough Tour de France

Petrified yellow bike tour de france mother shiptons cave

We located our preferred viewpoint early, choosing to watch the riders as they came up the small incline past King James school and into Knaresborough.

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

After the race had passed, spectators thronged into the Market Place to enjoy food from around the world before making their way to the official spectator hub in Knaresborough Castle grounds to watch the rest of the race on the big screen (or enjoy a coffee courtesy of Harvey Nichols!)

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

Of course Le Tour Yorkshire would not have been the success it was without the 100’s of volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Inspired by the success of the London 2012 ‘Game Makers’, these ‘Tour Makers’ provided help and guidance to the many 1000’s of people who had chosen to visit our region to watch the Tour. I therefore thought it fitting to end with a photo of four ‘Tour Makers’ taking a minute to enjoy the beautiful view from Knaresborough Castle towards the Viaduct and River Nidd below.

The Tour de France comes to Knaresborough

Related Links

In the days following Le Grand Départ, social media has been awash with blog posts and video clips extolling the greatness of the Tour in Yorkshire. Here is a selection of my personal favourites:

27 People who made Le Tour Yorkshire the Greatest Show on Earth (Buzz Feed)

The North – South Divide (Cambridge vs Yorkshire) (Buzz Feed)

31 Images of the Tour de France in Yorkshire (Buzz Feed)

ITV Stage 1 TV Highlights (ITV)

ITV Stage 2 TV Highlights (ITV)

The Grandest of Grand Departs (BBC News)

Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme is lost for superlatives (ITV)

Knaresborough Crowned ‘Best Dressed Town’ of the Tour (ITV)

Speaking of Social Media and highlights, I couldn’t finish this post without including a screenshot of the retweet of my Yorkshire Building Society yellow sheep photos by none other than defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome of Team Sky!

Chris-Froome-Twitter

 

Greetings cards featuring views of Knaresborough Viaduct throughout the seasons are available to buy via my online shop: www.pictur-esque.com.

 

Knaresborough Viaduct by Charlotte Gale Frozen River Nidd at Knaresborough Yorkshire Christmas Card by Charlotte Gale

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Getting Your Business Ready for Le Tour in Yorkshire

Yorkshire is not only the largest county in the UK, but it is also one of the most picturesque, being home to three National Parks and England’s second most visited city after London.

‘Yorkshire folk’ are notoriously proud of their county, but more recently it has also started to gain prominence on the national and international stage. Not only have Lonely Planet voted it one of the top 10 regions to visit in the world, but it is also host to two stages of the Tour de France Grand Départ in July this year, an event which is expected to attract millions of visitors to the county and billions of TV viewers worldwide. If you haven’t already seen the official Le Tour Yorkshire bid video, it is definitely worth a watch.

But is our region really prepared for the World’s greatest cycle race? Like many other businesses in the Harrogate District, I have taken attended a number of the ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ roadshows which have been organised in the lead up to the race weekend. These have been designed to help businesses find out more about how we can prepare ourselves logistically to welcome the largest sporting event the region has ever seen. For anyone who hasn’t been able to attend, or found themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available, here are some edited highlights.

Branding – Dos and Don’ts

Like the Olympics, the Tour de France has very particular brand guidelines. Unless they are talking about the event in a factual or editorial sense, there are certain words which businesses are not permitted to use in their marketing and advertising. This applies to everything from novelty products and menu items to special offers at local hotels.

More details (including downloadable PDF)

Making sure you take advantage of advertising, marketing and pr opportunities

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of opportunities for businesses to benefit from the massive influx of national and international tourists who will be visiting the region. It is estimated that up to 1 million people will descend on Yorkshire on the weekend of the 5/6 July and 130,000 of these are expected to visit Harrogate and Knaresborough.

Tour de France Business Toolkit (downloadable PDF)

Road closures and traffic management

Road closures are an area of hot debate in the North Yorkshire region. Many people will have been affected by recent road resurfacing works taking place in and around Harrogate. The good news is that, although many of us have faced disruption, there has been a £2 million investment in the Harrogate area in preparation for the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014. Admittedly much of this money has been redistributed from elsewhere, but it is at least good news for the Harrogate District.

One thing which was very clear from the various meetings is that the race will have a significant impact on residents and businesses, but hopefully if we are well informed and work together to use the opportunities presented to us to our advantage, we can turn this into a positive situation for us all. After all this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for residents and businesses alike.

The traffic management team at NYCC have been working hard to come up with a plan for the event which:

a) Allows the race to take place safely

b) Provides access for spectators

This means that the race route needs to be fully prepared and clear for the race, which will involved restricting vehicle access and prohibiting parking, as well as 500+ junction closures. As 51% of the race route is in North Yorkshire, across a network of 120 miles of road, the event has obviously involved a huge amount of planning. There are 4,500 officials and 2000 journalists alone associated with the Tour de France Grand Départ and aside from all the planning, there will also be a huge amount of work involved on the race weekend removing ‘street furniture’ and installing the race infrastructure to ensure that the cyclists can ride along our roads safely and without becoming caught in traffic. Essentially it is not the traffic management which will be the problem, but the sheer volume of traffic. The Tour de France Grand Départ is also closely followed by the Great Yorkshire Show (England’s largest agricultural show) on the 8/9/10 July, which is obviously another huge event for the Harrogate District.

Harrogate road closures discussed at the meeting were as follows:

Wednesday 2 July – closure and parking restrictions on Beech Grove which borders The Stray. Beech Grove will remain closed until Sunday morning.

Thursday 3 July – Beech Grove and West Park closed (Victoria Avenue to Cambridge Crescent). Traffic will be diverted from the Prince of Wales roundabout via the A59. Access to town centre is down Skipton Road/Kings Road. Extensive parking restrictions in place.

Friday 4 July – access to Harrogate town centre available. West Park will be open, but access will be restricted to Raglan Street, Montpellier Hill and Beech Grove. Parking suspensions in town centre from 11pm on Friday evening.

Saturday 5 July – the centre of Harrogate will be totally closed to non emergency vehicular traffic from 4am – 10pm (from north of Majestic Hotel to York Place and from the Royal Pump Room to the railway). There will be a one-way system operating on the A661. This will allow outbound access on the Saturday and inbound on the Sunday. There will be no public access to Station Parade. Restrictions past Leeds Bradford Airport were also advised, as well as traffic management in place on the A1 (M). Spectators are advised to walk, cycle or park at one of the many park and ride sites on the periphery. Businesses are being advised to see all deliveries and collections are completed by 3am on the Saturday morning or after 10pm at night. Deliveries should be made prior to the weekend wherever possible. Large scale disruption is inevitable with an event of this size and businesses need to make sure that they are well prepared to handle this. Staff will not be able to reach work by car on the Saturday, so alternative arrangements need to be made (public transport/walk/cycle). Although parking is available at the Showground, traffic volumes are likely to be very high.

In Harrogate parking is available at the Jubilee, Odeon and Park View car parks and also on the Great Yorkshire Showground (weather permitting) and at a range of car parks on private land across the region. Town Centre car parks will probably fill up the night before. Any spectators travelling from the south will be directed to the Showground – any from the north to parking alongside the A59Note that there will be NO shuttle bus service running from the Showground to the centre of Harrogate, although there are plans to dress Oatlands Drive. Ripon Racecourse will also be offering parking.  In Knaresborough the roads will be closed from 5am and all car parks will be accessible prior to that. There will also be parking available at Knaresborough Rugby Club.

Sunday 6 July – the A59 will be closed from 5am – 3pm. Junction 47 of the A1M will be closed from 5am. Most traffic will be directed to the Great Yorkshire Showground to park, but additional parking will be available in Harrogate town centre. Roads in Knaresborough will be closed from the early hours of the morning and parking will be limited. There will be some parking away from the race route at Knaresborough Rugby Club, but spaces are likely to fill up early. Skipton and Wharfedale traffic will be routed via Pool and then to the A59 past Menwith Hill.

Public Transport – there will be limited bus services due to road closures, but increased rail services. However, the level crossing at Starbeck needs to be kept clear, so trains will be running York – Knaresborough and Harrogate – Leeds. Spectators are being encouraged to walk or cycle. There will be a significant secure bike park located within the Harrogate International Centre complex and space for 5,000 bikes at the Fan Park.

There will be no general access to Station Parade. There will be one-way systems on the A661, similar to those which operate for the Great Yorkshire Show, allowing outbound access only on the Saturday and inbound on the Sunday. All spectators coming from the south will be directed to the Showground, or to parking adjacent to the A59 if coming from the north, and will be encouraged to walk. Park and ride arrangements were considered but were not workable.

Interactive Road Closure Map

Public Transport schedules during the Tour de France

TRANSDEV BUS Timetable (5th and 6th July) – www.tourdefrancebus.co.uk

NORTHERN RAIL TRAIN Timetable (5th and 6th July) www.northernrail.org/travel/tour-de-france 
(Note:  the level crossing at Starbeck needs to be kept clear, so trains will be running York – Knaresborough and Harrogate – Leeds on Sunday 6th July)

EAST COAST TRAINS (special Tour de France services) www.eastcoast.co.uk/travel-information/the-grand-depart-comes-to-yorkshire
(Note: East Coast are also putting on some services between Leeds and Harrogate to complement the regular Northern Rail Harrogate Line service between Leeds-Harrogate-York)

Events and Spectator Hubs

All around the North Yorkshire region, local community groups have been working hard to make preparations for the weekend to ensure that local residents, businesses and tourists alike fully benefit and see our beautiful county at its very best.

There are 17 official Tour de France Grand Départ spectator hubs across the district, three of which are located in the Harrogate area – Harrogate West Park, Knaresborough and Ripon. Each hub can accommodate around 20,000 people and should offer good views of the race. In addition there are two other, non official, key spectator areas along the route as the race passes through our district. These are located at Masham and Starbeck. All of these locations will have big screens available in a prominent location for 48 hours around the event.

Movement between places will be very difficult once the race has started, so spectators are advised to find a spot and stay there for the duration of the race. The time between the first and last vehicle passing a given point is around four hours.

Harrogate – the main spectator hub will be located on West Park Stray. There will be additional viewing areas at Crescent Gardens and in the town centre. The race will finish outside Hotel du Vin on the Saturday (day 1), although a good proportion of the area will not be accessible to the general public. There will be a free ‘Velo-GoGo Fan Park’ operational from 3-6 July (10am – 10.30pm) on the south side of West Park Stray, with activities including a big screen, markets and live events. The Fan Park is the only one located outside of London and will be family orientated in its focus. To this end it will not be showing any football World Cup coverage over the weekend. For any catering related businesses in the area, there are potential food/retail opportunities. Market stalls are £600 for three days and £600 per metre frontage for hot food vendors. More information is available at www.foodiesfestival.com and www.tourdefrancefanpark.co.uk .

Harewood – Harewood House are hosting the ‘Festival of Cycling‘ with a capacity of 25,000, corporate entertaining, music and entertainment. It is hoped that people will cycle to Harrogate from Harewood after the grand launch.

Masham – big screen, family entertainment, beer tents/festival, live music, French and local markets, car parking and camping

North Stainley – camp site and events at Lightwater Valley

Ripon – spectator hub in city centre, open air cinema, markets, parking at Racecourse, activities at golf club and tennis centre, race meeting on Monday 7 July, Ripon Cathedral annual beer festival

Pateley Bridge – pop up Pateley camp site, camping, entertainment. Pateley Bridge is not on the official tour route, but it is an excellent base for campers as people can access the route from three points.

Ripley – 3,000 units planned, car parking, corporate hospitality, gala dinner, French market, big screen, evening entertainment

Killinghall/Hampsthwaite – Bunk barns, camping, village entertainment

Green Hammerton – parking, camping, village entertainment

Knaresborough – official spectator hub, big screen, market, day and evening entertainment, car parking, 22000 visitors expected. More details available at: www.letourknaresborough.org.uk

Starbeck – family entertainment and big screen (Belmont Field)

For the first time there is also a 100 day cultural festival in the lead up to the tour. Find out more here.

You can view further details of the route on the official Tour de France Grand Départ 2014 website: letour.yorkshire.com/stage-1 and letour.yorkshire.com/stage-2

Disclaimer: the above information was correct at the time of writing, but the author accepts no responsibility for any factual inaccuracies resulting from changes to the above information closer to the event.Knaresborough Viaduct by Charlotte GalePump Room Harrogate by Charlotte Gale

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Documenting the Redevelopment of Grade-II Listed Bowcliffe Hall

Lancashire based firm, Conlon Construction, have recently launched a Yorkshire division and are currently completing a £5.6m redevelopment of Grade II-listed Bowcliffe Hall on behalf of the Bayford Group.

The multi-phase project comprises the construction of an iconic aeroplane wing-shaped conference centre and various refurbishment works across the nineteenth century building and grounds, including converting a cricket pavilion and other redundant buildings into office space and a new Drivers Club Restaurant. Work is scheduled to be completed by August 2014.

Having designed a custom branded Christmas card for Conlon in November 2013, Charlotte Gale was commissioned by Neil Conlon (Conlon Construction, Yorkshire Division) and Jonathan Turner (Bayford Group) to document the progress of the project photographically.

Conlon Construction Bowcliffe Hall

Pictured: Jonathan Turner and Neil Conlon at Bowcliffe Hall. Photography by Charlotte Gale.

For further information visit www.conlon-construction.co.uk or www.bowcliffehall.co.uk

 

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