Good Friday! 'The gala day of the Nelson section; the day which is the chief topic of our conversation for months ahead the day on which we tear ourselves to bits. It is really Georjud’s fault — in this way — every Good Friday, Mrs. Georjud allows Georjud to have a day on his own; a day which he looks upon as his annual holiday. Now the prospects of a whole day unhampered by matrimonial burdens, imbues Georjud with that jubilant spirit that is common to all prisoners who have been released from durance (I hope my wife does not see this). So, many months beforehand, Georjud gets out his maps and pores over them for hours at a time, until he has found a run worthy of this auspicious occasion. Unfortunately for his fellow-members, however, Georjud’s idea of a suitable run is one which necessitates the carrying of our bicycles over a mountain, or some similar gymnastic effort. The fact that Nemesis generally showers retribution upon him, on these occasions, in the form of aching joints or a broken bicycle frame, does not deter Georjud in the least. He rises every Easter undismayed, and asks for more — and gets it. When he has discovered a particularly hard specimen he begins to pester our runs secretary until that unfortunate official consents to include the run in the runs list. His object attained, Georjud then begins to paint his forthcoming run in colours so glowing that many of our members are persuaded to go on it. Personally, having been 'had’ on previous occasions, I always refuse to go on these annual efforts, and impress it upon Georjud that I wouldn’t go on his run for a pension, and that the short run will suit my ancient limbs admirably.
Then dawns Good Friday. I arise and sniff the holiday air, and pronounce it good. I am invigorated — I decide that it is my duty to go on the long run and see that my fellow-members come to no harm. And so it was upon this occasion. I got up early, made my preparations, and set out for our meeting place at Colne. A strong, east wind was blowing which, hindered my progress over the setts, and I was not sorry when I reached Langroyd. Several of my fellow-members were already there, and when they expressed their surprise at my appearance, I explained that my presence was due to my anxiety on their behalf, which statement they greeted with disparaging, coughs.
Georjud, who was full of the joys of spring, and one of our speed wallahs, led the way, whilst the rest of us tucked in behind to obtain all possible shelter from the wind. We toiled against the wind towards Skipton. and all was going well until a tandem came bowling past. This was not at all to Georjud’s liking, so he put all his beef into it, and gave chase. After nearly bursting ourselves we caught that tandem in Skipton, where we fell off our bicycles, and collapsed on a form. We recovered our energy in due course and proceeded once more, via Rylstone and Cracoe, to Kilnsey, where a shower of rain and hail sent us into shelter behind a friendly wall. The shower only lasted a few minutes, so we continued our journey without donning our capes. Georjud now began to feel the effects of chasing the tandem, for he began to lag behind. We waited about ten minutes in Kettlewell whilst we disposed of a few biscuits, but still he did not appear; so we started on the ascent of Park Rash without him. It is no easy matter to push a bicycle up Park Rash, especially when hampered by a strong wind and occasional showers of hailstones; but we were rewarded for our efforts by an excellent view of Wharfedale. The valley was a picture of contrast — some parts of it being in shadow and the rest in brilliant sunshine. The overhanging mass of Kilnsey Crag stood out clear and magnificent, whilst the layers of hills, rising to the horizon, were distinguishable one against the other, only by their varied shades of blue. We paused a while to enjoy the view, and then pushed on to the top. The grassy track slowly developed into a road again as we scampered down Coverdale, and our lunch place, Horsehouses, was soon reached. Here we found our friend Bookoss, clad in shorts and alpaca coat, blue with cold and shivering in the blast of the east wind. He explained that he had got up late and had chased after us. He had however, taken the short cut through Gargrave, and got ahead of us in the process; but, seeing tyre marks on the road, he had galloped strenuously onwards until he reached the top of Park Rash, where he overtook a number of cyclists — and discovered that they belonged to another club. After this touching lesson upon the evils of unpunctuality, Bookoss is now saving up his spare cash to buy an alarm clock. Large quantities of tea soon restored him to a normal state, and we had almost finished lunch when Georjud and two others arrived. It appears that Georjud had got the "knock" in Kettlewell — the hand of Nemesis — and, being unable to go any further, must needs stop there for lunch.
We left Horsehouses at two o’clock and proceeded down Coverdale to Carlton. The clouds had thinned considerably, and all the valley was bathed in sunshine, and was very pleasant to the eye. The grassy track out of Carlton that led over Carlton Moor was soon gained, and we began to mount higher, until we were amongst the heath once again. At the edge of the moor proper the track petered out, and we were compelled to push our bicycles through the heather, much to the detriment of our celluloid front mudguards. Although the going was very rough, we were not compelled to carry our bicycles — much to our surprise. When we demanded an explanation of this violation of the accepted rule of Good Friday, Georjud very cowardly laid the blame on our runs secretary, by saying that the moor we were traversing was not really the one he had intended, and that the one he had in mind would easily have come up to our expectations. Out of consideration for his wife we allowed him to live.
We reached the top of Carlton Moor at last, and called a halt to contemplate the panorama of Waldendale and Wensleydale that was unfolded to our view. But time was passing all too quickly, so we galloped down the hillside, sometimes riding, sometimes sliding, until we reached the road in the valley below. West Burton was passed without a halt and we began the long climb to Bishopdale to the top of Kidstones Bank. Georjud began to complain of a strained muscle — Nemesis again — and could hardly walk, so we lifted him on his battered relic, put his bottom gear in, and gave him instructions upon how to reach Buckden. The descent of Cray Gill was very fast indeed, and there was a distinct smell of burning rubber as our brakes screeched upon the corners. And so we descended upon Buckden — our stomachs empty of food, our eyes full of dust. We trooped into the hospitable farm that we always visit, and removed the dust from our persons in preparation for tea. Whilst tea was in progress, we — being fully aware of the wind that would help us home — began to make all sorts of suggestions for prolonging the run. We pointed out to one another that to arrive home before midnight on Good Friday was unprecedented; and we vowed that never again would we go with Georjud — he had lost his reputation.
At seven o’clock we departed from Buckden and started upon our homeward journey. In an endeavour to retrieve his lost reputation, Georjud, with tears in his eyes, implored us to go home via Mastiles Lane; hut we gently pointed out to him that whilst we were probably a trifle mad, we were not quite mad enough to do that. When we arrived at Kettlewell we took the Coniston road by way of a change, and proceeded down the east side of Wharfedale. The sun was beginning to set in golden splendour, and as it dipped behind the hills a glory of crimson clouds were left in its wake, against which the hills were picturesquely silhouetted. Skipton was reached at 8-15, and, after a few minutes halt, we continued to Thornton where we lighted our lamps. Some of those who had been on the short run were overtaken at Hague, and they were so surprised at seeing us returning home at so respectable an hour that they had to be brought round with Vimto.
I rattled over the setts into my native town of Burnley at ten o’clock, and so to bed to enjoy the healthy sleep promoted by the moorland air, in readiness for another run on the morrow.