Burnley and Pendle

Cyclists Touring Club

The Club in the Bowland Hills - c1930

I rolled up to Fence on Sunday last as the bells of the Parish Church were chiming the hour of nine. Hercules, who has a passion for punctuality, informed me that I was ten seconds late, but I had not time to argue the matter for some unkind flint had penetrated the armour-plating of my rear tyre and the air contained therein was apparently anxious to return to its native element. The task of repairing the puncture took some twenty minutes to complete, and as my fellow-members had departed for Whalley some five minutes previously, I hurriedly packed away my tools and chased after them, but I did not catch them before reaching Whalley.

After a short halt we resumed our journey towards the Trough of Bowland, through Mitton and Bashall Eaves, and soon we arrived at Whitewell, where we paused awhile to stretch our legs and give our long-suffering bicycles a much needed rest. Our runs’ secretary apparently began to need his lunch for soon he dragged us to our bicycles again, and we moved on into the Bowland Hills. Soon we were walking up the steep hill to the county boundary and then, mounting once more, we sped down the other side of the Trough to the picturesque cottage that adjoins the road and the stream and there we had our lunch.

We lunched under the trees by the side of the stream, surrounded by flies, wild birds and hens. Our friend Raymon, who was contentedly browsing upon his "oats," very foolishly left his lunch lying on his cape which was spread out on the ground whilst he went in quest of more tea. Now one of those hens was evidently an opportunist, for no sooner was Raymon’s back turned than it calmly stalked up and began to dispose of his lunch with every evidence of enjoyment. The hen, however, did not enjoy it half so much as we did, for it could not appreciate the expression on Raymond’s face when he found out what was going on.

A few of us went for a stroll after lunch, but the majority of the members, intent upon a game of cricket, set out for Tarnbrook in the hope of finding there a suitable pitch. This party proceeded to Tarnbrook by way of the road, but there was also a shorter way in the shape of a footpath that climbed over Greenside Hill, and this was the way that Womanaiter, Esperanto and myself decided to take. The map informed us that the footpath branched off from the road at Marshaw, so to Marshaw we went and enquired the way of a local farmer. After expressing his astonishment at anyone wanting to take a bicycle over the hills when he could have gone the easier way, he gave us the necessary directions and we left the road behind and began our upward journey. The footpath soon dwindled away to nothing and we found ourselves roaming upon rough pasture land with never a path in sight. We reached the "top" at last, and found that there was still another top farther on; but we are quite used to this trick of Nature, so it did not worry or annoy us. Womanaiter decided that the grass was rideable, but after he had twice fallen off his bicycle with more. violence than elegance he gave up the attempt in disgust. As we mounted higher, the sea came into view; Esperanto and I stopped and. gazed at it longingly (for our shirts were moist with sweat), and thought of the bathing costumes in our saddle-bags. But though the sea looked temptingly near, a glance at the map showed the distance to be fully ten miles. The view was very clear, Blackpool Tower and Fleetwood being easily visible, and even the Lakeland hills were discernible in the distance.

Soon afterwards we reached the top of the hill — the real top this time — and Tarnbrook village nestled in the valley spread out at our feet. We dumped our bicycles and collapsed on the grass, and for some time all was peaceful. Then we discovered that Tarnbrook Fell, which was situated across the valley, was possessed of an echo. Naturally, this delighted our childish minds. and many and weird were the noises that floated across that peaceful valley. The echo was the queerest I have ever heard. A penetrating call would repeat six or seven times, and the last echo was the loudest! The explanation of this freak of Nature is, however, beyond my senile intelligence. We eventually got tired of straining our lungs and, gathering our bicycles, we slid down the steep hillside to Tarnbrook. We passed through the village without a stop, the only signs of life being several small children who stared at us as if we were apparitions, and two cats and about a dozen hens that were feeding peacefully together out of one bowl. We discovered our cricket enthusiasts parked by the roadside indulging in the usual two parts argument, one part cricket. Were they ready for moving on? They were not, so we ambled on and left them to their game. We proceeded through Abbeystead with its picturesque reservoir, and then by way of a wretched road (but which gave us some excellent views) to Brock Mill for our tea.

We sauntered home via Chipping, Higher Hodder and Whalley, and as we climbed towards Sabden we paused awhile to enjoy the beauty of the cloud effects and the glory of the setting sun. A short sharp climb up Black Hill, a swift run down Greenhead Lane and we were home in Burnley once more. A very enjoyable run my brothers, and one which you could enjoy too, if you did but own a bicycle.

- SARKIKUS

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