Tykes and trikes


WE pull up outside a bungalow in the pretty North Yorkshire hamlet of Rylstone. “This is the home of Miss July,” we’re told. “She sometimes comes out to say hello.” We wait, but Lynda Logan doesn’t appear. It’s the same when we pass Miss October’s house — Tricia Stewart’s also a bit camera-shy, it seems.

You might not recognise the names but they’re two of the UK’s most famous pin-ups since Kathy Lloyd and Sam Fox were gracing Page 3.

They’re part of the original Calendar Girls — the Rylstone and District Women’s Institute members whose story went on to become a hit film starring Helen Mirren, above, and Julie Walters, and raising almost £4million for Cancer Research.

The interest in their exploits is still so high a Gary Barlow musical about them is to open down the road in Leeds this November.

Barlow, right, was up here at the end of March to premiere the show at a village hall in nearby Burnsall, so we poke our head through the door. There’s a sign for weekly yoga classes but not a whiff of the Take That frontman.

The major stars of our trip are the Dales countryside — all babbling brooks, raging rivers, rolling hills and deep valleys — and the low-slung boom trike we take a tour on.

It has an engine to match many cars and has been customised to take two passen-gers at the back. Our driver is Jason Richards, a burly middle-aged biker who jettisoned a career in IT to set up Yorkshire Trike Tours with his wife Judith, a former teacher.

They started ferrying people around the 680 square miles of the Yorkshire Dales National Park before expanding into tours, including last year’s Tour de France route and a three-day James Herriot Safari.

The Calendar Girls Revival Tour is their latest offering, taking in the women’s houses and the iconic Dales locations used in the film.

We set off on it from our weekend home of the gorgeous Devonshire Arms hotel in Bolton Abbey. Part of the Duke of Devonshire’s estate, there are wellies and waders hanging in the entrance, antique-stuffed rooms and roaring fires.

It’s the kind of place you can take the dog, put on a tweed jacket and pretend you’re a bona fide country squire for the weekend.

When Jason twists the throttle for us to set off, the trike purrs into action and the attraction of using one on a tour becomes clear. It feels as safe as a car but with unrestricted views.

Stops include Kettlewell Garage, where Helen Mirren (Chris) gets the calendar idea in the film; Ilkley Moor, where the movie starts and ends; and the bridge where Chris’s son Jem is caught smoking oregano instead of marijuana — prompting the line, “The only thing that would be dangerous in is a quiche!”

Jason provides commentary via speakers in the helmets and the trike draws so many admiring glances we start to think we might be the biggest celebs in the town.

The tour ends back at the Devonshire Arms, where staff member Wendy was lucky enough to be one of the 100 people at the musical’s premiere. She says it’s going to be as good as the film — but won’t say if Gary Barlow stayed in our room.

So we take solace in the hotel’s magnificent afternoon tea of sandwiches, scones and mini rhubarb crumble and custard. Unlike Chris’s award-winning Victoria sponge in the film, these definitely weren’t picked up at M&S.

This article first appeared in The Sun