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My Yorkshire: Roger Tempest

Roger Tempest, 45, is the 31st generation of an unbroken 900-year male line of Tempests to live at Broughton Hall, near Skipton. The present hall is 400 years old, the earlier one was set on fire in a feud with Skipton Castle.

When he inherited the hall and its 3,000 acres, Roger decided a new approach was needed, and set up the award-winning Rural Solutions, an innovative business park. More than 500 people work there now. He is married to the artist, Kitty North.

What's your first memory of being outdoors in Yorkshire?

It was when we went on a school trip to Sleightholmedale in North Yorkshire. I was educated at Ampleforth and we used to have an outing every summer. I remember this one as really magical with glistening streams and beautiful Yorkshire wooded countryside. We toasted bread round a fire with tongs and spread it with butter and Marmite. Delicious!

What's your favourite part of the county?

It's the area around my home at Broughton, near Skipton. I go running, often at seven o'clock in the morning, and that's a good time to see the countryside. I try to take a different route every time and never ever tire of being there. I have to manage 3,000 acres, so when I'm running I'm also seeing the state of the land, the animals and so on, picking up a huge amount of information and often meeting people as well. In the days of Heathcliff and Cathy they'd have ridden around estates on horseback, but I'm a runner and that's how I keep fit as well as keep in touch.

What is your idea of a perfect weekend or day out in Yorkshire?

Having cleared my desk, I love to wander up to Arncliffe in Littondale for a walk. It brings out the free spirit in me. Also, my wife Kitty is an artist and she sits on the hillside there, painting away. I love that area at all seasons.

Do you have a favourite walk or view?

Well it's back up to Arncliffe again. We usually leave the car in the field just past Kilnsey Crag that charges for parking, and climb up the hill to head along the brow. The view over Arncliffe is really uplifting. We drop down to the village and cross what people call the Charles Kingsley Bridge. In summer, we go back along the valley bottom, and if it's hot we

jump into the River Skirfare for a swim. Once we had a skinny dip and I forgot there was a footpath. All these walkers appeared!

Which Yorkshire sportswoman/man would you take for lunch?

Geoff Boycott. He's quite a hero from childhood but I've never met him. I like the Yorkshire spirit in him.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star would you like to take for lunch?

It would have to be Alan Bennett. Apparently he's around here all the time, but I've never bumped into him. He's incredibly talented and I think his film A Private Function was beautifully crafted. If we had lunch, I'd like to give him an insight into land custodianship, because he came out of the 1960s era when people frowned on the idea of large estates. I'd tell him how they can actually be an incredible force for good.

If you had to name a Yorkshire hidden gem what would it be?

Salts Mill at Saltaire. It's not really hidden as far as Yorkshire is concerned, but people far and wide should know about it. I was a friend of the late Jonathan Silver's and I watched him buy the mill when it was empty and turn it into what you see today. He was a visionary, and it was sort of the same thing that I've done at Broughton Hall. He did urban regeneration and I did it in a rural area. We both recreated communities, brought them back to life with positive benefits.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

I call it the Northern Spirit. There's a sense inside you if you are "of the North". It's an attitude, or something in the soul. There's a sense of independence, and also being aware of the realities of life but still managing to have a sense of humour.

What about Yorkshire's cultural life?

It's very strong, whether modern music like bringing up bands such as the Kaiser Chiefs and the Arctic Monkeys, or things like opera and dance. Also, I would never forget the cultural heritage of our stately homes. They are a celebration of brilliant craftsmanship. Yorkshire has more than its fair share of people excelling at every level in the arts.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?

I'm going back up to Arncliffe again. Robin Miller at The Falcon runs the best pub anywhere as far as I'm concerned. It's a great place for a pint, as well as some pie and peas if I want something simple. If I want fine dining, then I'd have to say the Box Tree at Ilkley.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed in the time you have known it?

This may sound strange but it gets more Yorkshire by the day. By that I mean the Yorkshire identity is being protected and enhanced despite this being a very global world. New elements are coming in all the time, but this is still essentially Yorkshire, whereas some counties have become blurs.

Who is the Yorkshireman/woman you most admire?

Captain Cook. I mean, what a guy! In the 18th century to get into a wooden boat with no technology, not knowing weather patterns completely, and do what he did was a phenomenal achievement.

How has Yorkshire influenced your work?

It brings me down to earth, makes me work at what I call the coalface of economic reality. You don't want to get your head in the sky, and I think that's bred into Yorkshire people.

Enterprise and hard work achieve a lot of success.

Name your favourite Yorkshire author, artist or performer.

Author: Gervase Phinn makes me laugh. He has an amazing mind. Artist: My wife Kitty is a really good artist. I know Turner's not from Yorkshire but he came up here to paint and stayed with people like the Horton-Fawkes family near Otley, and Turner's pretty epic. Music: I play the guitar badly. I'm a Pink Floyd kind of guy and I don't think of music regionally, but I know Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs and saw his music evolve. Also, I like Corinne Bailey Rae from Leeds.

 
 
 

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