It is pronounced ‘My-them-roy-d’, from the Old Norse meaning ‘clearing in the woods by the meeting of two streams’, apparently. My medical student pals could never remember the name and it soon was known as ‘mylohyoid’, which is a small muscle under the jaw. A medical in-joke.
I spent my teens in this small town, having grown up a few miles down the valley in Hebden Bridge. My parents lived in and around this town for the best part of 40 years; my dad was one of the local GPs for most of that time.
Hence in a small valley town, I couldn’t get away with anything. Everyone knew my old fella. As the youngest of 4, my sibs had set a precedent in the local schools. Which was good and bad.
The valley is the Calder Valley, the most southern of the Yorkshire Dales (Swale, Ure, Nidder, Wharfe, Aire, Calder – SUNWAC). It is still one of my favourite parts of the British Isles; on a sunny summers day, there is nowhere prettier.
It is varied; bleak heather moors on the tops (think Wuthering Heights), steep sided wooded valley sides and urban valley bottoms. The older buildings are built from the local stone – Millstone Grit, a characteristic tough gritstone.
It is a mecca for walkers and cyclists – the Tour de France has twice been through here, ironically. Ted Hughes, one-time poet laureate, grew up in this village.
I roamed around the whole valley in my 18 years here, a free-range childhood that probably doesn’t exist anymore. Everywhere is in walking or cycling distance if you have enough time. And as a kid, it is one thing you do have.
For many years, this place was my spiritual home. Everytime I came back, it was a very real homecoming. However, visiting a few years ago, it suddenly wasn’t. I’ve been gone nearly 28 years. My home is now 180 miles to the South. Although it is still lovely to visit.