Sun shines on festival

Heptonstall Festival.
Heptonstall Festival.

FORTUNATE festival-goers enjoyed sunshine after rain the previous day threatened to make parts of the event a wash-out.

A fell race kicked off a day of family fun at the Heptonstall Festival, with the six-mile course featuring 113 runners who trekked through stunning scenery from the White Lion pub via the Blue Pig, High Brown Knoll and back to Heptonstall. Crowds gathered to watch the race, which went ahead despite last-minute fears of cancellation due to the poor weather.

Organiser Steve Grimley enlisted an antique agricultural grass cutter from resident Mark Wigg to create a one-kilometre track through waist-high grass on Friday evening.

He said: “The runners put out an appeal to the village when we realised the race was under threat. Mark, a local cabinet maker, has a workshop full of antique tools and machinery and volunteered his services, together with a vintage 1948 Allen motor scythe. Mark and a team of runners then spent the evening and early morning working in the fields in a last-minute bid to save the race. We are really grateful to Mark and the landowners for their fantastic support in allowing the event to go ahead.”

The gala itself kicked off at noon with food stalls, music and beer. There was also a steam engine, a performance of Oliver! starring local children, music and a ‘Pop Up Market Street’ to help traders flooded out in Hebden Bridge. Musicians included John Bramwell of I Am Kloot.

Mr Grimley paid tribute to all those involved. He said: “Without the support of so many friends, family, neighbours and businesses there is no way an event like this could be staged.”