Burnley and Pendle

Cyclists Touring Club

A Sunday of Sunshine and Snow - c1930

There was a good deal of frost in the air, as I made my somewhat bumpy passage over the setts of Brierfield and Nelson, to our meeting place at Colne, at which I arrived at 10-5. In spite of the frostiness, there were several stalwarts reclining upon a form, basking in the rather negative warmth of the morning sun. Did I follow their example? No, I did not, I attended to the necessary inflation of my tyres, and then stamped about to restore the circulation in my extremities. Some ladies may be capable of 'treadling’ their bicycles hard enough to keep their feet warm upon the frostiest of mornings, but I am not one of them. At 10-15 our runs secretary, who was leader for the occasion, decided that we had infested the neighbourhood of Langroyd long enough, so we mounted our machines and "wuthered" through the slight covering of snow that lay upon the road, towards the village of Kilnsey, where we were booked for lunch. I will not dwell upon the humorous commonplaces of our outward journey, let it suffice to say that we walked rather more hills than usual in an endeavour to keep our feet warm. At Kilnsey, we had our lunch at the Tennant Arms, which establishment we kept distinctly busy, since our party, strengthened by late-comers, numbered nearly 50 strong.

The immediate needs of the inner man being satisfied, we ambled out into the warm sunshine that was making this already picturesque portion of Wharfedale into a local Eden. Picture, if you can, a rather narrow valley, carpeted by green fields and divided by the clear waters of the Wharfe; bounded on one side by the magnificent Kilnsey Crag, a solid, overhanging mass of limestone, towering above the road, and on the other side by the gradually rising slopes, intersected by innumerable limestone walls, that culminate in the serene, snow-covered bulk of Great Whernside, which paternally overlooks it all. The sun, shining from a brilliant blue sky with an occasional fleecy cloud drifting across it, made the snow a dazzling white, and threw the walls and trees into strong relief. Such was the picture that greeted our eyes as we stepped out of the hotel on to the road : a picture placed within our easy reach by that inexpensive and health-giving friend — the bicycle, There are still a number of cyclists who, at the approach of winter, carefully cover their machines with vaseline and pack them away in either cotton wool or the coal cellar (whichever they deserve) there to rest till the following Easter. If they only knew what they were missing, they would wipe off such vaseline as was unnecessary, fling away the cotton wool and, suitably attired, hie themselves from the smoky streets of their native towns into the fresh open country.

To return to our run. It was almost 9 o’ clock when we left Kilnsey for our objective, which was Mastiles Lane. The intervening time being spent in various ways: some of our members climbed to the top of Kilnsey Crag (by a circuitous route, of course) and were rewarded by a bird’s-eye view of Wharfedale, surrounded by the snow-covered hills; whilst others watched their more athletic friends jumping across a six-foot stream, in the hope that they might fall in: they were, however, doomed to disappointment, alas. Mastiles Lane can hardly be described as an ideal road for wheeled traffic: it is mostly a grass track. abounding with ruts and liberally sprinkled with infant boulders; add to this occasional gates, snow drifts and steep hills, brakes rendered partially inoperative by snow, and you have all the ingredients necessary for an exciting afternoon. Some riders made it so by riding all they possibly could; whilst others, who have now reached the age of discretion (said he, stroking his long, white heard) preferred to take it more easily and enjoy the panorama of the hills clad in their unusual attire. One member, "Womanaiter" by name, got into a rut and came off at speed. He very cordially did it whilst no one was looking, and upon our requesting him to repeat the performance, he looked so fierce that we fled. So passed the afternoon, now walking, now riding, with an occasional break in the form of a snowball fight, until, with the setting sun colouring the hills with a roseate glow, we dropped down into Malham for our much-needed tea.

It was still quite light when we emerged from the Airedale Cafe, after tea, but the source of radiance had changed from King Sol to his lesser bright co-worker, the moon. who was doing her best to fill the breach. Since it was only 6-30, we went for a walk, which, once we were clear of Malham, developed into a hilarious scramble, punctuated by an occasional snowball. All was going well until someone with vocal aspirations began to sing; this was too much, so we fled back to Malham in haste. Lamps were lighted with the usual comments from the dynamo contingent about "those blighters who spend all night, frigging about with their flapping, smelling lamps,” and so upon the road once more. We passed peacefully along under that star-spangled, inverted bowl we call the sky, through Airton, Gargrave, Thornton, Earby and Colne to our respective homes. So passed another enjoyable day awheel.

— Sarkikus.


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