Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall – avec Le Tour de Yorkshire!

Blogging once again hasn’t been the top of my priority list for a few days as we’ve had some fabulous friends from New Zealand staying with us.

My intention is to get up to date over the coming week – Barry’s photos are too good not to publish albeit some time after events!


We’d been recommended by Diana (our IWA event organiser) to visit the nearby village of Heptonstall, towering high on the hill above Hebden Bridge. “Catch a bus there and walk back“, she suggested – and a good one it was too.

Heptonstall had originally been the main settlement in the area, with Hebden Bridge being literally the main bridge across the river in the valley below. Today Hebden Bridge is the larger of the two, but Heptonstall retains it’s charm as I’m sure you’ll agree when you see the images below.



Incredibly, the foundation stone of Heptonstall’s octagonal Methodist chapel, the oldest still in continued use, was laid following a visit by John Wesley in 1764 – five years before Captain Cook was making his first landing in Gisborne, Barry’s home town!


This old churchyard claims “King” David Hartley amongst its notable graves. Hartley was founder of the ‘Cragg Coiners’, a notorious counterfeiting gang, and lived as a rogue in the Calderdale area until he was hanged at Tyburn near York in 1770.


Heptonstall was historically a centre for hand-loom weaving, and many of the cottages and terraced houses are characterised by large first floor windows to maximise the light for weaving.



Heptonstall’s original church was dedicated to St Thomas a Becket. Founded c.1260, it was altered and added to over several centuries. The church was damaged by a gale in 1847, and is now only a shell. A new church, St Thomas the Apostle, was built in the same churchyard and  suffered a lightning strike in 1875.




You can appreciate the steep climb to the village from this picture – not for the feint hearted!


But boy what a tremendous view awaits those who live or visit here


We walked back down to Hebden in order to appreciate the incredible view. Unfortunately the steep incline took its toll on my fairly new walking sandals, and half-way down the front strap split! So it became a rather precarious stumble instead of a joyful trek! Luckily I kept the receipt …


THE Hebden Bridge


Happening Hebden – it’s got such a friendly and welcoming feel to the town


They even trade by bike here


Yellow cycles, flags and bunting abounds in celebration of Le Tour


No space left for any more boaters – what a delightful mooring spot


Le Tour de France/Yorkshire

On Thursday 3rd July, I’d booked onto a mosaic day with Mel from Crafts Afloat, along with the crew of NB Bisous. I’ve done a mosaic course previously in New Zealand and loved it, so grasped the opportunity to make a piece for our boat. More about that in a separate blog, as it’s worth it’s own story.

On the actual day when the cyclists of Le Tour de France/Yorkshire whizzed through (Sunday 6th July), I was in Brighton with my daughters and grandsons for the weekend. It was sad to miss such a thrilling event, but it was just how the timing worked out.

Barry stayed on board and enjoyed chatting with lots of people, some of whom even bought a few products from him – not as many as we’d hoped for, but you never know what will come from the event in the future. we’d wanted to come this way anyway, so Le Tour was fortuitous for us.


The Home Brew Boat promoting its wares and gorgeous greetings cards



Tons of people passing on their way to the park and big screen, but most were in too much of a rush to stop


Some did though – and found the concept of a ‘Home Brew Boat’  fascinating


Intriguing enough to take photos


Is there a statistic anywhere about how many Brits own dogs? It feels like every other person that passes by!

It was reported following the event that there’d been a crowd of around 8,000 people. Sadly, due to the way they directed the foot traffic, many of these walked past the trading boats on their hurried way to watch ‘Le Tour‘ on the big screen in Calder Homes Park, but were subsequently moved in a different direction to exit, so hardly anyone showed an interest in Home Brew, Fudge or Antiques.

The photo below gives a great view of this anomaly:


Can you spot Areandare?

Heather and Tony on ‘The Fudge Boat’, had arrived a week or so early in order to make their fudge for the event that held so much promise – around 1,000 bags with limited shelf life, so the lack of passing trade was painfully felt by them and did put a dampener on the weekend. They decided to stay on the following weekend for a choir gathering, in the hope they’d attract some sweet toothed choristers.

We’ll catch up with them again in September and discover how they fared …


An occasional visitor to The Fudge Boat



Sporting a yellow cycle


Don’t look left – keep going straight ahead! Cyclists swept through the walkers without dismounting, despite the high volume of people


Looks like a fun atmosphere for old and young alike


All is quiet, just the variety of flags flying silently


Heather and Tony


Tony pontificates on life


People climbing everywhere to get the best view



The big screen in the park shows the roads where the race runs


And here’s some cyclists


Friends and firsts

Our next posts will include a few friendly faces who’ve visited in the past couple of weeks. They’ll also see us descending the deepest lock on the system, and attempting to negotiate the shortest lock on the system in our 60 foot long narrowboat – will we make it? Many people we spoke to beforehand said it wouldn’t be possible and we’d be crazy to attempt it.

But you and I know Barry and his ‘can do kiwi’ attitude can achieve miraculous things.

So you’ll need to come back and read it to find out if we ‘could’ do …

3 thoughts on “Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall – avec Le Tour de Yorkshire!

  1. Pingback: Narrowboating Over Winter 2021 to 2022 ~ Barry & Sandra's Adventures

  2. Pingback: 10 of our best bits from Blisworth Canal Festival 2015 | Adventures Aboard AreandAre

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