I feel that as a Yorkshire based blogger I couldn’t go without blogging about The Tour de France. It was such a fantastic event for Yorkshire and I think that it ended up being bigger than anyone could have imagined.
About a month ago my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go to Harrogate for the first leg of the Tour de France. One of the many perks of working for Sky is that he was able to get us VIP passes for the fan park. I’m not a cycling fan, but I thought it would be a good day out and a good first visit to Harrogate.
The plan was to set off early for harrogate by train and catch a glimpse of the riders at the finish line. Sounds simple, right? Yeah, that didn’t really happen as planned. We were late arriving at the train station as all routes into the city centre were closed or grid locked. On arrival at the train station we realised we had walked into chaos. People in yellow shirts were yelling at us to make our way out to the car park to join the queue. Oh, so you can’t just hop on a train then? Nope, you cannot.
At this point you will have labled me a naive idiot for not realising what a big deal this event was, but at least I was in the company of thousands of other idiots that thought they could just swan off to harrogate on the busiest day of the year. I was ready to call it quits when we joined the back of the queue at the end of the long stay carpark of Leeds train station. It had just turned 12pm when we joined the queue and I just couldn’t see how we would make it to harrogate by tea time, if at all. After some reassurances from some helpful Northern Rail staff (they do exist) we decided to stick it out. I am so glad that we did, becuase 1 hour and 15 minutes later we were sat on a train (amazed we got seats) and making our way to harrogate. We all cheered as we ran down the platform, the northern rail staff were like drill sergeants shouting Move, Move, Move!. 30 minutes later we arrived at harrogate along with the rest of the world and we set off trying to find the fan park and finish line.
Finding the finish line was easy really, we just followed the masses of people down to the park and realised we would be lucky to make it near the road. It wasnt long before we realised that our best bet of seeing the action would be by watching the big screens. Disappointing after travelling all that way, but the atmosphere was amazing and more than made up for it. The crowd were in great spirits and it was good to see how people from all over europe and further afield came together for the event. With crowds like that and big queues, you would expect someone to kick off, but if they did we saw none of it.
We could see the fan park, but getting to it was a difficult experience as it was across the track at the finish line. After what felt like ages we finally found a way to cross the track and make it over to the fan park.
After a little drama trying to get in the park (it was over capacity) we went to the sky VIP tent for refreshments, seats and yummy burgers (screw the diet). We got these awesome yellow boxes that turned into seats with back rests (see above) and after walking around for ages, sitting on cardboard felt pretty good. It was at that moment when I was watching the crowds reactions and seeing the race on the big screen, that I realised the effort was worth it and I was feeling proud of being a Yorkshire lass.
It was a fabulous day out and I really enjoyed myself. It’s really made me want to go to more events and get out more on a weekend and do something with my time.
Did you watch the depart?