Businesses and entrepreneurs shared in a Tour de France windfall – but insisted it wasn’t a licence to print money.

“We were not out to rip people off,” said Alistaire MacGregor, 31, who set up a makeshift campsite near the Holme Moss summit.

Alistaire, whose day job is as tennis coach at Thongsbridge Tennis Club, approached farmers in January and snapped up a field which proved popular with campers.

More than 1,000 people pitched up and his site sold out.

He created the memorable video below before the tour.

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“I said right from the beginning that I wouldn’t be greedy,” he said. “Yes, the intention was to make money but it was also to give people a good time.

“We have made some money but we have also made people happy and our feedback has been fantastic.”

Alistaire, of Holmbridge, had campers from the USA, Spain, Holland and France. “All said how well organised it was and how they love Holme Moss, Holmfirth and the countryside,” he said.

Alistaire and his staff worked for a week and had a four-hour through-the-night rota and were left exhausted but elated.

Alistaire was amazed at the scenes on Holme Moss as 60,000 people converged.

Tour de France. Vehicles in the caravan, which precedes the riders makes its way up Holme Moss.
 

“There were people walking everywhere on the Moss,” he said. “They were tramping through the most horrendous, boggy ground knee-deep in mud, some carrying bikes and deckchairs,” he said.

“Then there were about 50 people who ended up at Ramsden Clough, stood looking down a 500ft foot ravine wondering: ‘Where do we go now?’ They could see the mast but had no idea how to get there.

“I sent them back to the road and told them to follow the bridleways. It was nuts on Sunday.”

Another pop-up camp came near the village of Holme. Andy Bennell and Dan Thomson rented a field from Margaret Parr and Chris Earnshaw and Holme Moss Camping was born.

They brought in generators, floodlights and portable toilets and issued every camper with a wristband for added security.

“We had 325 people camping with us,” said Andy, who sells printers and photocopiers for a living.

“We had massive aspirations at the start but the costs were quite significant. Only six weeks ago we were starting to worry that we might not recover our costs.

“But there was a last-minute rush and people were turning up the night before. We have probably made a fair reward but we won’t be retiring.”

The perils of the pop-up camp came to the fore on Sunday as a man suffered burns when there was a ‘flash over’ from a gas bottle.

He was treated by paramedics for minor burns but stayed to enjoy the fun.

“Even the man who set himself on fire was happy when he left,” said Dan.

“From our point of view it was a roaring success – and I’m feeling a bit emotional about it now, to be honest.”

Also, still overcome was Shirley Amesbury, licensee at the Fleece Inn at Holme village.

Tour de France clear up. Vava Broom... Licencee of the Fleece at Holme village, Shirley Amesbury (front) with (left to right) Tony Mahon, , Darrell Hobson, Jenny Clifford, Andrew Morrison and Geoff Hill clear up at the Fleece after a hectic weekend housing visitors to the Tour de France.
 

Shirley and her staff put on a three-day festival of their own with the Austonley Brass Band performing on Saturday.

Shirley had planned the weekend, which included a VIP ticket-only event on Sunday, 12 months ago.

“I have been here 14 years but this is the biggest event we have organised,” she said. “There was a certain amount of trepidation but it went fantastically well.

“Everyone is still feeling emotional about it. There’s a real feel-good factor.”

The Fleece has 23 staff and several stayed overnight on Saturday and some had just two hours’ sleep.

“The staff really pulled it out of the bag and we’re all totally exhausted,” said Shirley.

Locals in Holme pulled together first thing on Monday morning to clean up the village – not that it needed much cleaning up.

“We were assured by the organisers that the Tour crowd weren’t like that and didn’t leave a mess behind and they were right,” said Shirley.

“Most people took their bits and bobs with them, which is great.”

The same was also said for the camp sites which will soon be returned to the sheep.

Shirley, who was honoured to accept an invitation to a pre-Tour reception with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in London, said: “The whole weekend was spectacular and you just had to be here.”

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