One car had to be delivered to Holmbridge and then a car there had to be delivered back to Cork (it’s a long story!) so I hitched a ride with my sister Maeve and her son Billy to Holmbridge in West Yorkshire. This involved
- a drive up to Dublin Port (3 hours)
- a not too bad crossing of the Irish Sea to Holyhead in Wales (3 hours)
- a drive to Holmebridge (3 hours).
I know, I could have flown home to Vancouver from London in the same length of time, but then I would have missed seeing the rolling Irish countryside, Poolbeg Generating Station and Howth from the water, up close as we departed Dublin Port and of course Holme Moss, the ‘climb’ portion of stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France. It was worth the trip. I also played co-pilot and am now a dab hand with sat-nav and decoding the many detours on the British motorway system – not bad for one who does not drive.
While in the Holmfirth area where my sister Mary and my brother Jerry and their respective families live, there was a lot of chatting, catching up, relaxing, hiking, shopping (I sat on the nearest step while all that was going on) and of course eating, going on. Weather was mixed but when we were out and about, the rain seemed to hold off. You can definitely feel the cooler temperatures given West Yorkshire is that much further north than we are here in Cork.
There are still remnants of the huge turnout of Yorkshire to watch this years Tour riders whizz by. You can still see posters and markers on houses, notes of encouragement on the roads, union jack flags are still flying etc …. Yorkshire came out in their droves to celebrate the arrival of Le Tour …… and love to berate their southern cousins who did not show up at all as the Tour rode from Cambridge to London. My sister tells me she took her own kids and a load of cousins up to Holme Moss at 9am in the morning, to ensure they got a good spot on the road to see the riders come up the valley and then whizz by on one of the many screw turns just before the Holme Moss summit. The riders were due to hit Holme Moss at about 2pm, so that was a long day to keep a bunch of kids amused! But it was a memorable day for sure.
This part of the country is just stunning, we went for a fabulous hike with Tom (bro-in-law) but I forgot to bring my camera – such a pity. Really stunning views and although the head gets blown off you as there is literally not a tree in sight to take some shelter, and we did have to scramble down a cliff-side to get back on track, it was a great hike. Good training for Tom who hopes to celebrate his 50th birthday with a trek to Everest Base Camp with a longtime friend who is also turning 50. You can do it Tom!
It was great to spend time with the kids. Jerry’s three are smallies so it was easy to bring a few candies, some Halloween decorations including a few balloons which then ended up being used as footballs for a game of goal scoring in the kitchen (it was raining outside, of course). Who said kids needs many many plastic toys when all they really want is to run around playing hide and seek, and have a ton of fun.
Mary’s gang are older and were off playing netball and tennis etc. Hannah and her friend Lily and I had a lovely afternoon carving pumpkins (it was their first time …. and mine but I did not let on) and making a chocolate cake. Surprisingly the cake turned out great despite the fact the Aga had gone out and we did not know it, so 4 hours later the cake was cooked through with the ambient heat from the Aga. And the taste was not too bad either thankfully.
The older boys were out partying every night and went to the Ed Sheeran concert on Monday night in Manchester which sounded brilliant. Its mid-term in this part of the world so late nights were allowed!
All in all, a great trip, it was lovely to see everyone. I am in Cork for the next 10 days or so, and then head to the west coast to visit friends in Galway and Mayo. Can’t wait!!