When you visit in Yorkshire

Yorkshire, it has been said, is “a country in a county”. The very name brings countless images to mind – wild moors, headlands and cliffs; rugged dales and enormous beaches; medieval cities, churches and monasteries; formal estates and vast steelworks; coal mines and woollen mills.

This diversity is part of the county’s appeal. Its countryside and coast can compete with anywhere in Britain for beauty, its cities with any in the UK for shopping and dining and nightlife. And the pubs and breweries aren’t half bad, either.

But never let it be said that Yorkshire doesn’t also have an eccentric side. Aside from mainstream and outdoor sports, there are a number of offbeat things to do in the county. To celebrate Yorkshire Day, we share five of our favourites.


1. Try your hand at cable waterskiing

An electric cable instead of a boat tows you around the water at Rother Valley Country Park near Rotherham – this park is one of the few places in the country to offer cable waterskiing.

The “ski-lift” pulls up to eight waterskiers or wakeboarders at intervals around the shallow waters. Speeds vary from 16 miles/hr (beginners) to 36 miles/hr (experts). It’s environmentally friendly, and costs a fraction of what you’d pay for speedboat-towed skiing.


2. Push your boundaries with a Via Ferrata route

Originally invented by the Italians to move troops around the Alps, Via Ferrata – meaning “iron road” – centres have spread across the world. In Yorkshire, the Via Ferrata at How Stean Gorge is the place for adrenalin junkies.

One of just a handful in England, it offers a lengthy scramble along the chasm using fixed beams, cables and ladders. “Iron Way” courses that are put on in the gorge involve expert-accompanied wading through waterfalls, rock traversing, abseiling, scrambling up ladders and along beams, with your very own DVD of the experience recorded on the guide’s head-cam. It’s invigorating (or insane) depending on your point of view.