Leaden skies, dripping roofs, and rain swept roads; such were the conditions as we, the Nelson section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, mustered under a friendly shelter at Higherford last Sunday morning. At 9-45 we grabbed our respective bicycles and started upon our journey to Catterick Force. A spirit of leisureliness seemed prevalent amongst us and we walked rather more than usual of Coldweather Hill. I for one, was quite satisfied with this state of affairs. since I was feeling none too fresh after the buffeting we received from the wind upon our journey to Burnsall the afternoon previous.
The top at last, with the glorious panorama of Ribbiesdale before us bathed in that bright mystic light that always seems to rest in the valleys that one views from the contrast of a cloud enshrouded hill-top. This part of Ribblesdale is surely one of Yorkshire's gems a dale of smiling fields. prolific trees and gurgling streams. bounded by those admiration compelling hills, Whelpstone Crag, Ingleboro, Penyghent and Rye Loaf; and in the centre of all these, the sleepy.
winding Ribble. As we descended out of the mist our capes became unnecessary, and we stopped at the top of the last rise before Gisburn and packed them into our saddle-bags. The ride to Settle was uneventful except for an occasional pointed remark concerning the negative usefulness of some mudguards, when o rider happened to encounter the spray cast by another’s rear-tvre.
We paused in Settle for a few minutes and then went up the suitably named Constitution Hill towards Horton. An occasional break in the clouds that almost hid Penyghent from our view, showed us that the monarch of Ribblesdale was covered with snow. In Horton we propped our bikes against the barn, which we usually use for that purpose, and were greeted by a faint bleat from within. Being of inquisitive dispositions we naturally investigated and discovered a sheep with a recently born lamb. The sheep was so proud of its achievement that I forbore from giving it a lecture upon the folly of bringing offspring into the world at this cold, early period of the year. Since Mrs. Joerjud (who hag a passion for petting all animals except "man cows") was not present, the lamb was left in peace, and we trooped into the Golden Lion for lunch,
Rain began to fall whilst we were having lunch, and when I, as leader. asked how many were going up to Catterick Force I was answered by a non-committal silence. I would have liked to indulge in a few sarcastic remarks upon the fragility of the modern youth, but since they may have involved me into walking the two steep miles of muddy fields and footpaths leading to Catterick Force and back again, I deemed 1t wiser to keep silent. We therefore donned our capes and proceeded back to Gisburn for the big event of the day. namely the annual dinner of the North Lancashire District Association. When we got to Ellis’ we found a number of our weather shy friends. who had turned out after dinner, already in possession. Since we had braved the rigours of the day we naturally didn’t omit to point out that they were getting timid.
We removed the stains of travel from our persons and then went in to dinner. There were 77 members present at the dinner from the various sections of the North Lancs. D.A.. 47 of whom were from our own section. I will not dwell upon what we consumed, let it suffice to say that it was an exceptionally good dinner. Our friend °Derailleur" who is a member of a society which forbids its members to take alcohol, was giving “Jeorjud" a homily upon the evils of having rum sauce upon his plum pudding. I was quite touched by Derailleur’s devotion to the temperance cause until I remembered a certain farm in the Lake District where he conveniently forgot his principles and partook of some of that delectable Cumberland commodity—rum butter. Upon me reminding him of this incident he immediately subsided into silence, for which we were truly grateful. The dinner over at last, T glanced around at the faces of my fellow members. Some looked much the same as usual, but one or two looked unusually red, and shiny, and a certain lady who sat opposite me particularly so. Ah! what a blessing to have a healthy appetite, thought I. The tables were cleared away, and the chairman, Mr. Atkinson, opened the evening's programme with a speech, which dealt principally with the health-giving properties of the bicycle, and the progress of the Cyclists’ Touring Club. The speech over, a varied concert was begun. Miss A. Dixon gave a pianoforte solo and Mr. J. Burrows a selection of operatic airs upon the flute. Miss Ellis and Messrs W. A. Taylor, T.Hargreaves, J. Butterworth, and J. Nuttall contributed a number of songs and our friend "Lezly" a humorous recitation culled from the works of W. W. Jacobs. The concert, which was uproariously appreciated, lasted until 7.30, and the Preston, Fylde, and Blackburn sections then departed for their various cities. In view of the splitting up of the District Association, this is the last of the annual dinners at which the Preston and Fylde will attend as an official part of the DA, As we had a less distance to travel home than the other sections we stayed a while longer. One party gathered round the piano and proceeded to make the rafters ring with more or less tuneful singing. Another party amused their little selves by doing tricks, such as picking matchboxes up with their teeth in the most awkward manner; these games were punctuated by a series of bumps and thuds as the various participants came to grief. The remainder gathered round the stove and smoked and talked to their hearts content.
At nine o’clock we lighted our lamps and left Gisburn en-route for home. The weather clerk had evidently repented his misdeeds for the night was mild and pleasant as we drifted back over Coldweather Hill. Some of our lady members had not recovered from eating too much so we considerately walked most of the hill. Three other Burnleyites and myself could not face the setts of Barrowford. Nelson and Brierfield, so amidst a chorus of "Good nights" we left the main body at Blacko Bar and went home via Rough Lea and Fence. We finally reached our native city at 10-30, and so to bed. The last thought that entered my head as 1t rested on the pillow was—Roll on the next D.A. dinner.