A balmy late summer afternoon enticed hundreds of people to celebrate a “Reet Royd do” at venues across Mytholmroyd.
Sunday’s event, which marked the autumn equinox and showcased four projects funded by rural regeneration company Pennine Prospects, allowed visitors to bask in sunshine while enjoying free canal boat rides, music and displays of fire-eating.
The afternoon’s entertainment was put together by resident Jade Smith, Ruth Hair from Pennine Prospects, Jon Stopp of the Canal and River Trust, Anne Holdsworth, Calderdale Council’s environmental projects officer and Calderdale countryside ranger Dave Wilson, supported by Mytholmroyd Gala committee chairman Barry Greenwood, Hebden Royd town councillor Tony Hodgins and resident Xander Rudkin.
Together they planned a packed programme of events which saw live hawks and owls on the canalside, tying in with the new cast iron hawk sculpture at Hawksclough; poetry readings to mark the new “stanza stone” at the memorial garden; boat rides to show off the upgrade of the towpath between Midgley road bridge and Red Acre bridge and music and food to highlight the progress of the Red Acre Growing Project which has seen the construction of a roundhouse, a polytunnel, the creation of a pond and the arrival of some chickens.
Xander organised an art market behind the Dusty Miller pub, with music by Hebden Bridge Junior Band; the Shoulder of Mutton organised a duck race; Three Men and a Box and fiddle player Gina le Faux entertained the crowds at Red Acre and the food stalls did a roaring trade. Wood turning, hair braiding and face painting also proved popular and Fireman Dave amazed the visitors with his pyrotechnic prowess.
Organiser Jade said: “The feedback was that it was as good as The Valley of Lights. There was a fantastic buzz all along the canal. Mytholmroyd Walkers’ Action Group organised a children’s walk and we put a trial boggart trail from Red Acre Wood, with a view to setting up a more established trail early next year.
“The weather added to the success and we had three applications for plots. We had free canal boat rides and the boats were full every time.”
Funding for the day came from Pennine Prospects, Calderdale Council’s Small Rural Grants Fund and from Royd Regeneration.