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Mike Schafer - My Yorkshire weekend

PUBLISHED: 00:57 04 May 2013

Mike Schafer

Mike Schafer

© jonnyharris 2011

Mike Schafer, chief executive of Harewood House Trust, talks about what gets his heart racing

I’m lucky that I live and work within reach of the great city of Leeds and the delights of Harrogate and can still enjoy an unspoilt view of beautiful Yorkshire hills from my office.

I live on the Harewood Estate so it’s always a pleasure to walk my lovely bearded-cross Tilly, especially at this time of year when everything is bursting into life and colour.

After nature, cars are my second love and I plan my weekends around the Formula One racing schedule.

When I retire I’m going to travel to every Grand Prix, but for the time being I will make do with the excellent TV coverage and arranging a holiday round one or two races.

When there’s no racing, I like to get out and about at weekends, visiting some of the great houses and landscapes Yorkshire has to offer. But I’m not the sort to trek up a mountain as I like my comforts too much. A nice drive, some fresh air and a good pub supper with friends or family is heaven for me.

I love Yorkshire’s winding lanes, rising up over the brow of a hill to reveal the most incredible views. It’s unique to the county and is a constant surprise.

In addition to cars, I love history, but I need something visual to really get hooked. I’m a huge fan of the Goodwood Revival meeting and have promised to get dressed up in a National Service de-mob outfit this year to fully enjoy the whole vintage experience.

I’m also hoping to borrow my dream car – a 1963 Aston Martin DB5 – to really make it authentic.

Here at Harewood, I always look forward to the Father’s Day car show, but I must also admit to a new passion. The grounds are part of a medieval site, complete with a 15th century church and a ruined castle. In 2011, an archaeological team from the University of York discovered some fascinating insights into medieval life here which inspired our team to put on a Medieval Faire. Since then, I’ve become completely fascinated by everything medieval.

The hundreds of re-enactors who descend on Harewood are an extraordinary and committed group of people who are totally authentic, from the clothes they wear to their weapons, cooking and even their beds (there’s not a duvet in sight). Everything is just as it would have been.

Mixing with noblemen and women, knights, jousters, jesters, wenches and musicians is quite incredible and I can’t wait to be part of it again this year. The event is a cornucopia of activities, events, encampments, horses and battles, full of sounds and smells that really awaken the senses and bring the period alive.

Someone pass me my poleaxe!

For more information about events at Harewood, visit or call the box office on 0113 2181000. The Medieval Faire is on May 26th and 27th.


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