So now we know. The Harrogate District will be hosting much of stage two of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire on Saturday, April 29. The race will enter the district at Kirk Deighton before passing through North Deighton en route to Knaresborough.
The riders will then move on to Pateley Bridge via Ripley. After the day’s sole categorised climb at Cote de Lofthouse comes the descent into Masham and then on to Ripon for the second intermediate sprint with the race skirting past Fountains Abbey and then continuing through Bishop Thornton (passing Burnt Yates for a second time), Birstwith and Hampsthwaite, before the action reaches its climax on West Park in Harrogate.
In fact this route will see two races on Saturday with the women’s race starting in the morning followed by the men in the early afternoon.
This is certainly a coup for the area with estimates that the event will bring around 100,000 to 150,000 visitors to the district as a whole and benefit the local economy by around £5 to £7 million.
The Tour is also important in providing national and international media coverage. Last year’s Tour de Yorkshire was broadcast live across 177 countries attracting more than 11.4 million global television viewers. This will be incredibly valuable in promoting the district to potential visitors to the area once the Tour is over.
Local businesses and communities can now look forward to the opportunities that will arise from our participation in the Tour.
To help everyone make the most of these opportunities Welcome to Yorkshire and Harrogate Borough Council are holding a roadshow on Thursday, January 19 at the Cedar Court Hotel.
The session will include a short presentation, detailed information of the new route, advice on how to make the most of this world class event and a Q&A opportunity.
They will also give advice around brand guidelines and how your business, school or community can make the most of the opportunity.
Details of how to register for this event are on the Welcome to Yorkshire website.
As I write this column I have also learnt that there will be another roadshow in Masham Town Hall on February 23 from 5pm until 7pm.
There will be others throughout the district so look out for one near you.
Stray Act consultation
The hosting of the Tour means that there will be a requirement to use sections of the Stray. As a result the council has to approach the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to apply for the temporary relaxation of some sections of the Stray Act 1985 for the limited areas needed for the Tour de Yorkshire.
The council is currently holding a 12-week public consultation asking whether the authority should seek to amend the act, to increase the opportunity to hold more events of more variety throughout the year.
The consultation finishes on Monday, February 6, 2017. An online version is available at https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/strayact; paper copies of the consultation are also available from the council’s Crescent Gardens office.
Christmas is fast approaching and there is a lot going on. Father Christmas is still stopping off at a lot of destinations including Fountains Abbey, Stockeld Park, the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, RHS Harlow Carr, Beningbrough Hall, Brimham Rocks and Swinton Park. Santa will also be dropping in on Pateley Bridge tomorrow night (December 9). This is late night shopping night along with entertainment, food and drink and the lantern parade.
If you are looking for ideas for your own Christmas tree you will find inspiration at the Christmas Tree Festivals at St John’s Church in Knaresborough and St James’ Church in Boroughbridge this weekend.
There is also plenty of seasonal music happening with Handel’s Messiah in the Royal Hall on December 10, Carols by Candlelight at Fountains Abbey on December 11. December 17 sees Carols in Ripon Market Place, the Harrogate Christmas Concert in the Harrogate International Centre and a Christmas Spectacular in Ripon Cathedral.
The Mayor’s Christmas Eve Carol Concert will once again take place in the Royal Hall on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget the traditional Boxing Day pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey following in the footsteps of the 12th century monks.
Finally Knaresborough hosts two more traditional events: the Boxing Day Tug o’ War across the River Nidd by Low Bridge and the New Year’s Day Duck Race down the Nidd from High Bridge.
Details of all festive events are on the Visit Harrogate website and in our Christmas Guide that is available at local tourist information centres .
On behalf of the Visit Harrogate team, may I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.