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C.T.C. Notes - A Camping Cameo - August 1930

Not caring for the usual route to Settle, and also, I must add, for tearing our hearts out behind the energetic ones, five of us decided to go by the quieter ways that lead through Paythorne, straggling Wigglesworth and Rathmell to Settle. The road is hillier and occasionally one encounters stretches of rough surface, but this is amply compensated for by the pleasant views over the Bowland Fells and the loftier heights of the backbone of England. Along these byways we sauntered, taking as we went our full share of the fruits of the hedgerows. Here and there we paused to pluck a few wild strawberries, bilberries or raspberries, and as we were fortunate enough to discover — a quantity of gooseberries, which later provided a very welcome dessert for our Sunday dinner. After passing Rathmell we halted where the River Ribble flows near to the road. Here, three. of us, just to test our spartan powers, went swimming. As all true outdoor swimmers say, "It wasn’t so bad," and we felt better for it At least, compared with our plunge at Horton the following day, it was comparatively warm.

It is remarkable how time flies when one is engaged in some interesting pursuit, but there is always something which gives you an inkling of the passing of time, to wu, you stomach. Ours were no exceptions to this rule, but nevertheless, pushing forward it did not take us long to reach Settle.

Time had so far progressed that the clock in the dominant town hall building adjoining the square was chiming six as we arrived. At tea we were joined by others of our cult who were bound for the same happy hunting ground as we. Our hunger appeased we proceeded northwards to Upper Ribblesdale, passing through Langcliffe, Stainforth, and Horton, which lies under the morning shadow of Pen-y-Ghent.

Now one of the advantages of lingering behind is that those before you have gone through all the fatiguing preliminaries of finding a camp site, and you have only to pitch your tent to be comfortable. In this case our site was situated in a little valley hidden from the eyes of the world by the swelling moorlands rising amphitheatre like on all but one side. A stream, which, like the way of all streams in the district, flow by way of subterranean passages, came bounding out of the hillside amid thorn bushes and shelving rocks, and flowed past the camp, going to swell the flood of the Ribble. It was no great distance from here to Pen-y-ghent. By mounting the hillside one could glimpse its dark forbidding bulk, now hidden, now clear-cut clouds played hide and seek amongst the buttresses that flank 1ts lofty sides.

Across the valley Ingleboro’ loomed out with its familiar night-cap adding to us mystery and height. The sun sank behind the outlying shoulders of that mountain leaving the clouds tinged with a delicate pink, gradually fading to leave only a faint yellow after-glow in the West. As the sun went down, the full moon rose in radiant splendour, casting its spell over the countryside. Its charms were so penetrating as to cause several occupants of the camp to raise their voices in unison, filling the amphitheatre with love lyrics and doleful ditties. First they would be "painting the clouds with sunshine,” then they would “shout till the rafters ring,” or perhaps carry one away to some peaceful spot “way down upon the Swanee river.” And so the moonlight melodies came and went but still one remained an incessant melody that only the sharpest of ears can note variations; the melody of the brook which helped to swell the Ribble’s flood.

- J.H.G.