Yorkshire has dominated the news this week. The county will be a key battleground in the General Election next week and politicians now know that Question Time in front of a Yorkshire audience is a true test of their mettle! The pundits will debate as to which politician fared better in the debate on Thursday but no one doubts that the real winners were the audience who asked searching, thoughtful and intelligent questions.
Ten months after Yorkshire staged its triumphant Tour de France Grand Départ, God’s Own County is once again in the cycling spotlight. On Friday May 1st the first ever Tour de Yorkshire started in Bridlington, taking a 174km route through the Dalby Forest and North York Moors to Scarborough.
A few years ago, the idea of a Tour de Yorkshire would have been a joke, lampooned with pictures of the boy from the Hovis ads pushing his bone shaking bread-laden bike up the cobbled streets of Skipton. Of course, the beautiful countryside that surrounds us was a factor in the decision to launch the idea. However, in reality it was the sheer volume of people who flocked to Yorkshire for last summer’s Grand Départ of the Tour de France that inspired this year’s event – it was numbered in millions. "It was incredible, like being in a tunnel, the crowd were so loud." remarked the German rider, Marcel Kittel.
As a southerner even I know that there is an exhausting list of reasons why there is no place on Earth like God’s Own County – more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere in Britain apart from London, cracking pubs, castles to rival the fanciest French chateaux, a coast as spectacular as that on the other side of the Channel to name but a few. An impressive fact is that around 40 million visitors come to Yorkshire every year for heritage-related tourism, which is more than the typical number of visitors to Times Square, the most visited tourist attraction in the world! In 2014 Yorkshire was voted European destination at the World travel awards, beating competition from cities including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, Venice, Istanbul and Edinburgh.
I may come from Portsmouth but my heart belongs to Yorkshire. The events of this week merely confirm what we already know – by ‘eck Yorkshire is chuffing great!