Well, well well. Would you believe it? Yorkshire has been designated by the editors of the Lonely Planet Guide as the third* best region in the world to visit. Yes, in the world!
My late father would have been delighted. Although he was no wimp: had it existed he would have won the Norman Tebbit award for job-seeking enterprise by not merely getting on his bike but by boarding a ship all the way to to Canada in order to find work in the depression of the 1930s. But in his retirement he regularly claimed that there were enough nice places in Yorkshire for him to visit in his beloved blue Morris Minor, without having to bother going anywhere else.
A somewhat condescending article in the (originally Lancashire based) Guardian gives a reasonable account of the delights we can offer. It doesn't, however, mention Birstall, birthplace of Joseph Priestley, as well as me, or Saltaire, the World Heritage site on the edge of Bradford, which celebrates the mill and model village built by the philanthropic industrialist Sir Titus Salt. Another of Bradford's claims to historical fame is that it is the birthplace of the Independent Labour Party, formed as a result of a lockout by a less philanthropic industrialist, Sir Samuel Cunclife Lister.
Equally close to my home is Huddersfield, England's largest town (the other big ones being cities, but we're a modest lot.) Here was founded the Rugby League, officially the toughest game in the world. This claim is supported by empirical evidence as follow:
Hours lost to injury by internationals per 1 000 hours played:
- Rugby League: 220
- Ice Hockey : 80
- Soccer: 40
- American football: 11
- Cricket: 10
Our designation as such a wonderful place to visit may well be time limited as it is influenced by the fact that the Grand Départ of the Tour de France is from Leeds in 2014. Nevertheless those of us who live in Yorkshire can now say with the same smugness as a couple of dowagers in an Oscar Wilde play:
"We have no need for travel: we are already here."
* The first two were Sikkim in India and The Kimberley in Australia.
** Many of them had enlarged spleens thorough having had malaria. These could rupture in a tackle and there had been fatalities.