It’s strange but you don’t go somewhere for ages, then all at once you seem to be there all the time.
Such has been the case this last week or so, as I seem to have spent time travelling back-and-forth along the A59 near Clitheroe.
A week ago I travelled along that particular section of Tarmac in advance of the 198 cyclists from all over the world who would be competing in the Yorkshire stages of the Tour de France. We actually turned off and headed north to explore that bit of the route that drives up Wensleydale, over Buttertubs Pass and dropped into Swaledale near Muker.
Thankfully the weather remained dry, the cloud cleared and above all, the sun shone. The result, the vast television audience was treated to the sight of this cycling elite snaking their way over old Dales bridges, down dry stone walled winding lanes, and grinding their way up some tough climbs, all against the backdrop of the Dales panorama.
Frankly, I thought it looked superb, and tourism in Yorkshire must have received a terrific boost.
Last Monday, I once more found myself on the A59 heading east, this time a post Tour visit covering all the routes up to Ripon.
All the painted yellow bikes and bunting were still in place, mute testament to the vast crowds that had lined the route for the cyclists, now gone and little more than a memory. Such a success were the Yorkshire stages, that huge numbers of people turned out to cheer the cyclists despite competition from other sporting events such as Wimbledon Finals, the British Grand Prix, Henley regatta, not forgetting of course, the small matter of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
As we drove I pondered many other routes for a possible future return of the Tour, perhaps with more of a Red Rose slant.
The villages of the Ribble Valley, the Trough of Bowland, Kemple End, Arnside and Silverdale ,Coniston and Windermere and of course, the circuit of dear old Pendle.
Given that we were going to Ripon races, this proved to be a good tactic. Instead of studying form I was forced to rely on instinct rather than the tipsters. The result, £19 profit on the night.
Next day, after a brief call to water plants at Reedley, once more we were on the A59. This time travelling even further afield.
I have long admired, nay loved the fine city of Newcastle, with its rusty angel, wonderful Tyne Bridge and incomprehensible dialect. We lived not too far away on Teesside and would often drop in. But in reality it was the arrival there as a student of our elder daughter that instilled in us a deep affection for the place.
Mind you it is a fair drive and the weather up there which is fairly unpredictable (unlike the welcome which is always warm). It is not a journey to be made lightly. So over the A59 and then up on the A1 by Scotch Corner, past Durham, and eventually to Newcastle itself.
our hotel was a fairly basic affair near the airport, but next morning the sun shone as we drove into the city across Town Moor, even today still grazed by cattle. It looked like being a nice day. It was a bonus, but we weren’t here for the weather, the welcome or the city, but for pride.
Our baby was there collecting her Masters degree. Happy times and a day I will never forget!