Not every county has its own special day, but in Yorkshire the first day of August has been celebrated every year since 1975. You've maybe seen the county flag flying. That's it on the left, and a handsome thing it is.
You won't find many street parties or marching bands on Yorkshire Day. Those of us who live in God's Own County tend to celebrate quietly, 365 days a year. Maybe we'll just lift a pint and reflect in our famously subdued way on our good fortune.
Speaking of pints - if you're in the lovely town of Masham this Sunday or Monday, do visit the Black Sheep Brewery Visitor Centre. Black Sheep is celebrating both Yorkshire Day and the brewery's own 30th birthday by selling its thirst-quenching Best Bitter at the price of 30 years ago. That's an astonishing £1.29 a pint.
£1.29 a pint... No, not a misprint. And you don't even have to live in Yorkshire to qualify. Bottoms up!
[In other Yorkshireish news, North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York have applied to the Government to become a devolved authority, in the expectation that this will free up more local decision-making and more funding. It seems that a decision may be announced on Yorkshire Day.]
This week's Lucky Dip into What's On Richmond has pulled out a delicious-sounding, warm-hearted comedy called Stepping Out at the Georgian Theatre Royal.
Relax into the intimate ambiance of this tiny old theatre, and enjoy the laughs and the pathos as a group of hopeless tap-dancers battle with their inhibitions and stage-fright.
Nightly at 7:30 pm for seven nights; tickets and details are here. A production of Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society.
It's going to be hot, hot, hot - and the best advice is to stay indoors if you can, drink lots of water, and move as little as possible. But if you're really fretting, and really need to get out, then what could be better than a lovely cool, shady woodland? Some of our favourites are:
Billy Banks Wood. On the edge of Richmond town, this beautiful wood is partly owned by the National Trust. Many of the paths run close to the River Swale (perfect for a quick splash or a cooling swim), while others lead gently upward to the village of Hudswell, where you can recover in the coolth of the George and Dragon inn. We've got a useful leaflet in our Information Centre, or you can find details on this National Trust page.
Deepdale Wood Nature Reserve, just outside Barnard Castle. An ancient semi-natural woodland in a deep valley, with several small becks tinkling away in the valley bottom. A wonderful, peaceful atmosphere - you'll feel a long way from anywhere. Access details are here.
Foxglove Covert - another beautiful nature reserve, this one incongruously sited in the middle of Catterick Garrison! Covering more than 100 acres, the reserve contains woodland, heathland, flower-rich grassland, streams, ponds, a lake and wet meadows. There's an excellent Visitor Centre, with information boards, activities for children, and refreshments. You'll need a driving licence or similar photo ID to get in, but that's a minor inconvenience. More info here.
Freeholders' Wood, at Aysgarth in Wensleydale. There aren't many large woods in the Yorkshire Dales, and this one's a beauty. From the convenient public car park and cafe you can find dozens of paths through the coppiced woodlands. All the while you'll hear the roar of Aysgarth Falls, where the River Ure cascades over shelves in the limestone, and if you're really lucky you may see a dormouse! Details are on this National Park web page.
If you're in Richmond, call by the Information Centre in the old Market Hall, where you can pick up a leaflet called Discover Yorkshire's Incredible Woods, which also features the Nidd Gorge Woods, romantic Hackfall Woods, and Preston Spring Woods near Leyburn, among others.
Wherever you go, please remember a few precautions: swimming in cold water can be dangerous; and fires - including cigarettes - can be hugely destructive. Have fun! Stay cool!
Do you enjoy walking through forests, over wild moorlands and up breezy hills? If so, the Yorkshire Dales are your kind of place.
But can you read a map? Really? Or do you rely on someone else for the detailed route-finding when you're plodging through the mist near a cliff-edge?
Perhaps you say you don't need a map, because you've got a perfectly good GPS app on your phone. In that case you may be due an embarrassing meeting with the local Mountain Rescue team...
Or perhaps you're simply a bit rusty, and could do with a refresher.
Nothing, but nothing, beats knowing how to use an old-school map and compass to navigate across unfamiliar territory. You can plan your own walks, rather than relying on others, and feel confident to go where you like. That's why we loved reading about the one-day map-reading courses offered by local expert and prolific author Mark Reid. Each course covers a beautiful and un-rushed route of about 6 miles through the Yorkshire Dales. There's plenty of time for the small group to learn and practise skills and to take rest stops. It sounds fun!
The bad news is that places on the courses get snapped up fast. The good news: while the Wharfedale courses are nearly sold out between now and the end of the year, there are still some places available in Ribblesdale, Malhamdale and Wensleydale.
Details are at teamwalking.co.uk/events/map-compass-skills. Move fast!
The lovely Little Bird Artisan Market returns to Richmond on Sunday, when you can dawdle through 50-odd colourful stalls offering small-scale, locally crafted food, drink, knick-knacks and gifts of all kinds.
Plan to spend a happy hour browsing and sluicing round the market before enjoying the rest of our ancient town's attractions: castle, waterfalls, walks, museums, winding alleyways and more...
And do visit Richmond Information Centre in the Victorian Market Hall. We have a wide range of maps and guidebooks, and are happy to give expert local advice (particularly if encouraged with one of those nice fruit scones from the market!)
It’s hot, and there’s a sting in the sun, so please take precautions, particularly with children and pets.
Recommendations from the NHS:
And from the RSPCA:
Stay safe and enjoy the glorious weather!
The Browson Beats music festival, on a working farm a few miles to the north of Richmond, is what we foundwhen we dipped into What's On Richmond this week and what a find! If the festival's website is anything to go by, it'll be an ambitious and thoroughly well organised event.
Entry is from 12:00 on Saturday; the music starts at 13:00 and goes on into the small hours. Folk, rock and jazz are promised; pizzas, ice creams, street food and beer will keep all ages fuelled; glamping and camping are available if you're after that Glastonbury vibe, but without the mud (probably!). Younger visitors will love the attractions, including outdoor games, craft-making, face painting and bouncy castles.
You can get your tickets online (website link below), or at the gate, or from King Street Kitchen and Gifts in Richmond. Adult entry is £25, £5 for under 16s and under 2s are free. Your cash wil go to two terrific charities - Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Pancreatic Cancer UK - so you'll be doing good as well as having fun!
For all the exciting details, and for easy online ordering, head to browsonbeats.co.uk/
Richmondshire has some of the finest cycling in Britain - fine enough for a recent Tour de France. Hundreds of cyclists pass through Richmond daily: packs of whippet-like club riders; muddy mountain-bikers; sweaty families on brand new e-bikes - we get all sorts. That is why, slowly and accidentally, Richmond Information Centre has become one of the best sources of info on cycling in the area.
We've got cycle maps and guides to most of the North of England; details of Sustrans routes, Hadrian's Cycleway, the Reivers' Route and the C2C; mountain-bike guides to the Lakes, Howgill Fells and Yorkshire Dales. For the real tigers we've got Cycling Climbs of Yorkshire - including the Côte de Buttertubs, of course - and there's a lovely new Swaledale by Bike map. Our volunteers may even suggest cafes and pubs where you can refuel and re-hydrate; try the wonderful Dales Bike Centre Café in Fremington, which is home to some really serious cake.
Don't whizz through Richmond! Park up in the Market Place (where you can pretend you're riding the Paris–Roubaix cobbles) and visit our booth in the Market Hall, to find some new two-wheeled adventure.
PS: we don't fix punctures.
While digging around in What's On Richmond, we unearthed A Celebration of Summer Gardens, at The Station. A weekend of events celebrating the summer gardening season, including demonstrations, workshops, and a fantastic selection of stalls, it sounds like great fun.
Stallholders include Middlemoor Farm Nursery, Summerfield Nursery, Berry House Flowers, Gillian Smellie Eco Print and Plant Dyed Textiles, and Hambleton Hill Nursery. There will be lively workshops on eco-printing and on wildflower seedball-making for children. The workshop on hanging baskets is likely to be particularly popular, and participants will take their own basket home afterwards.
Head to The Station's website to see the details and and book your place now. Yes, we know you were planning to spend the weekend weeding, but doesn't this sound more interesting?
Discover Richmond's past, led by local storyteller Rhoda Fraser. Hear tales about those who lived in the town - some believe that their spirits are still with us!
Walks are run throughout July and August on Thursdays and Fridays at 6.30. Please book on 07775 618472.