Surprising Sporting Options Near Harrogate

15 October 2019

The UCI Road World Championships and the Tour de France stage that take place in Harrogate have led to the town gaining a growing reputation among the cycling community.

Yet, you might not realise how many other exciting sporting possibilities there are around here. The following are some of the best sporting options near Harrogate that deserve to be taken into account.

Horse Racing in Ripon

At just around 10 miles away, Ripon Racecourse is an easy option when you want to enjoy a flutter on the hoses. Known as Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse, this has been the scene of horse racing events for more than three centuries.

The track’s lovely, natural setting in one of the country’s most historic cities is certainly an advantage here. There is a lot more to do here than just bet on the horses, with the local market, the cathedral and the horn blower ceremony all worth checking out.

The 2020 racing season begins in April. If you can’t wait until then for some action, you could watch some of the world’s most exciting races on TV before then. The Pegasus World Cup takes place at the start of the year, while the Breeders Cup 2019 event is set for the start of November.

The Fellsman Walk and Race

This annual event takes place a bit further away from Harrogate. However, it is well worth travelling an hour and a half or so to take part in one of the UK’s most exciting races. The event is across the Yorkshire Dales from Ingleton to Threshfield, so the journey home is a bit shorter than the trip out there.

Competitors run or walk around 60 miles in total, with some rough terrain and steep climbs along the way. Its history can be traced back to 1962, and April 2019 saw the 57th Fellsman gathering take place.

The 2020 gathering is planned for the 25th and 26th of April. Organisers are hoping to attract a field of some 500 hikers this time around. If you want to take part, you need to be prepared for a tough day, and you will need good map-reading skills as well as general fitness.

The Knaresborough Bed Race

You don’t need to travel far to see one of the UK’s craziest sporting events. The Knaresborough Bed Race was first carried out in 1966 and has become a local institution in the years since then. A difficult course involves somehow getting the bed across the River Nidd.

It is easy to get here on race day, with a bus and a park and ride service making life simple. Organisers tend to put up a big screen in Conyngham Hall field, for those who want to watch the whole wacky thing unfold in comfort.

In case you’re wondering, the 2019 results can be found here. The overall event was won by GH Brooks mens team with a sensational time of 13:40:9. Poor old Knaresborough Silver Band trundled in last, taking over 35 minutes to complete the course.

The World Coal Carrying Championship, Gawthorpe

If you fancy a trip to Gawthorpe then it is well worth doing so on Easter Monday. This is when the famous World Coal Carrying Championships take place. At just over an hour from Harrogate, it is a great option for a fun day out.

This event started in 1963 and has become increasingly popular over recent years. As the name suggests, competitors race each other while carrying big bags of coal. It is made more difficult by the fact that they need to go up a steep hill.

The kids start it all off at 10.30am, followed by a series of different races for adults during the rest of the day. If you are looking for something special to do on Easter Monday, then you can’t go wrong with a trip here.

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