The habit of punctuality is a noble attainment, one has only to acquire this exalted manner to appreciate its simplicity in relation to its opposite; it brings forth all that is sublime in man (and lady too); it raises the status of your friends’ estimation of you, and enables you to vaunt before our friends’ misdeeds of unpunctuality.
With these ennobling conceptions passing through my mind, I endeavoured, in an ever losing battle with the wind, to place in the rear the distance between home and Colne the rendezvous. But alas! woe is me! I arrived there full quarter of an hour late; and just in time to see the last of the "early birds" disappearing in the direction of Foulridge. On overtaking them, their first question was for an explanation of my infringement. Naturally, I had an excuse ready, and their believing minds gratefully accepted it, knowing that truthfulness is my greatest virtue. It was at Earby that the first event of the day happened. I scarcely dare tell it, for it brings disgrace upon a few of our members whose pluck, perseverance and capabilities we admired. - However, it happened in this manner:— Earlier in the morning. these vain-glorious persons journeyed to Colne to attend the "long run,” to wit, Knaresborough; full of ambition and lively of spirits, but, at Earby we found them dejected. broken in spirit and with no lust for adventure whatever; the strong east wind had proved victor. It needs little deduction to surmise what they received from the tongues of our satirical friends. — Does not the wise proverb say, "An idle thought and an unsound heart, do not your objects attain."
After a short pause in Skipton we commenced the most interesting part of the outward journey. Passing through Embsay and Eastby, we began that arduous climb up Eastby Bank; it is a steep hill and a long hill, one that necessitates much labour; but its reward amply compensates the energy expended thereon. From the summit, on Halton Moor, unfolded a vista of Wharfedale’s verdant beauty, with the craggy crown of Simon’s Seat rising in piled majesty before us, the rich browns of its bracken clothed heights deeply contrasting with the varied greens of the strata below. Winding out of the valley was the white, ribbon-like road to Pateley Bridge, always (as one far-sighted youth said) uphill, but never down. Eventually we sped down into hospitable Wharfedale, past the one time abode of the Cliffords (Barden Tower), and over the exquisite Barden Bridge to Appletreewick, where lunch was partaken of.
Appletreewick is an unostentatious village, it possesses no palatial hotel, no edifice, no outstanding historical event; its only possession of any extensiveness is its name. However, it does possess a rusticity to a high degree and therein lies its charm. Its only approaches are by narrow and tortuous roads and, being overshadowed in popularity by its nearby companions — Burnsall, Barden Tower and Bolton Abbey — it rarely receives more than a fleeting glance from those passing by; thus it has retained a remarkable degree of unspoiled antiquity. On the green by the roadside are those relics of yesterday’s form of imprisonment — the stocks, a presumption that even this peaceful village had its transgressors. Such are the characteristics of this gem of Wharfedale and to where the C.T.C. adjourned, last Sunday, preparatory to traversing the rough, moorland track over Pockstones Moor.
Our gastronomic cravings being appeased. we wended our way into the heart of the moors; the road gradually assuming a different character, until it was but a merest apology consisting of grassy turf bounded on each side by ruts, and necessitating much walking, to the highermost point some 1,502 feet above sea level. Here we obtained broad vistas of fell and moor rolling away into the dim distance, to where the jagged line of the horizon encircled the cloud be-decked, azure vault above, and here was solitude in abundance, where only the bleat of the sheep and the plaintive "Go back! go back !” of the grouse were heard. At least, it was so before we arrived. Given a Paradise, I can guarantee it will be a veritable Dante’s "inferno” before any appreciable time has passed, after we arrived. Continuing forward, sometimes riding, often walking, we reached, at last, the smooth highway - between Blubberhouses and Bolton Bridge, and taking advantage of the east wind we soon arrived at Draughton for tea.
With tea over our vocal aspirant "Sarkikus" rendered a few selections from his comprehensive repertoire, ably accompanied at the piano by "Joerjud” (a voice from the gallery — “I don’t think"). After which "Bookass" came forward and began thus- "Have you heard this one?” (Another disturbance in the gallery, with cries of "Throw him out" persistently rising above the uproar). After the battle was over — metaphorically speaking — he began narrating a number of stale jokes taken from long past issues of °Tit Bits.” However, the night was passing on, so, having made the necessary preparations, we mounted our bicycles and swiftly sped through Skipton, Thornton and Colne and so home again, under a star-spangled sky, where the pale crescent of the moon occasionally peered from behind the cloudbanks that adorned the western horizon.
- J. H. G.