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A Weekend in Dentdale - c1930

With the intention of spending a week-end under canvas, I made my way — not without sundry rattlings of pots and pans — to Higherford. Here I was joined by my fellow campers, and after a few moments respite we commenced the ascent of Coldweather Hill. Threatening black clouds had gathered over our heads ere we reached the summit, and we sped down the hill in a vain attempt to avoid the shower which was imminent.

Arriving in Gisburn, we were greeted with a shower of rain, but, nothing daunted, we carried on until the rain ceased and the sun greeted us once more.

Soon after leaving Gisburn, one of our members found that his front tyre would not retain the necessary air pressure for very long, but this matter was soon put right, and we made good progress to Settle, where tea was partaken of.

After a hearty meal, "buying in" commenced, and when all were provisioned, we resumed our journey with a clear sky overhead and a strong wind to help us on our way. At this stage, one Nelson member decided that he must needs test the strength of his lamp, and immediately dropped it under his rear wheel. Needless to say, he found the lamp wanting.

As we approached Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the towering mass of Penyghent loomed up on our right, with its rival Ingleboro’, on our left in the distance. At Horton we were joined by another camper who had preceded us, and with the help of the strong tail wind we made short work of the undulating miles over the moors to Ribblehead, where we joined that romantic highway the Lancaster-Richmond road.

At Newby Head we forsook the main road and followed the rough cart road which leads eventually to Dent. Rapidly descending the path under the mighty railway viaduct, we followed the course of a peat-coloured stream which runs swiftly through the dale, and were soon at the site of our camp, only to find that there were already two members settled there.

Tents were erected, and soon "Primus" stoves were roaring cheerfully. Over our heads dark clouds were again gathering, and hardly had we finished our supper before the rain was pattering on the canvas. Fortunately, this proved to be only a passing shower, and we soon sallied forth from our tents. Then two enterprising sportsmen began to play at catching an egg, ostensibly to demonstrate their theory that a new-laid egg will not break when thrown into the air and allowed to drop. Unfortunately, either their theorising was at fault or the egg was not new-laid. At any rate, one of the party was soon seen making for the river to remove the egg stains from his person. This mishap brought the exciting game. to a premature close.

Darkness was now descending upon the camp, and 10-30 p.m. brought a chorus of "good-nights,” as we all turned in to snatch some rest.

At daybreak the weather had not cleared, but long before the sizzling of cooking breakfasts had died away the clouds had disappeared and the sun shone brilliantly. The ringing of church bells warned us that it was time for service, so we made our way to the quaint little village of Dent, with its steep and narrow cobbled streets and old-fashioned houses.

The approach of dinner time brought us all back to camp, for to the camper eating is one of the chief pleasures of life. and this meal proved to be no exception to the rule.

But time moves quickly, and being nearly fifty miles from home, we had regretfully to pack our tents and bid farewell to the dale. The more energetic members. elected to return by Barbondale, leaving the old men (sic) to return by the shortest route.

Climbing out of the dale through the. village of Gawthrop, we obtained some fine panoramic views over the hills beyond Sedbergh. Barbondale itself presented a splendid picture in the bright sunlight, with the pine woods of Barbon Manor giving a sombre touch to the lower reaches of the dale.

The inner man again calling irresistibly, we made a halt at "Pretty Clapham" for tea, then on through the narrow bye-lanes to Lawkland and Gisburn, where we overtook the slower members who had travelled by Ribblehead. Making light of Coldweather Hill, we were soon speeding down towards Barrowford and home, each one with pleasant memories of an enjoyable week-end spent amidst the peaceful surroundings of Dentdale.

- "Young Un"