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The Silverdale Run - c1931

"Dring-g-g-g!!" Curse you, alarm clock. Shurrup ' “Dring-g g-g!” Oh, all right, I'm getting up. What, 6 am.? Heavens, what an unearthly hour to rise. Well, well, it’s for a good cause. These, and other ejaculations, occurred prior to my departure for Higherford last Sunday to join the Silverdale run. But even rising at such an hour failed to get me to the meeting place at the appointed time. As it happened, however, there were only a few assembled, about four, I think. Magnificently. I gave any of them permission to pump up my tyres, but to my intense disgust, they declined with jeers; result, I did it myself. Slowly our little band grew, until at eight o'clock it was a party of nine that tackled Blacko hill. I don’t know whether it was the result of being up so early, or merely youthful high spirits, but “Wilmay,” much to our alarm, careered joyously all over the road in an endeavour to work off some of his exuberance. But of “Wilmay" more will be heard later. Strongly we swung on, slipping into Settle at 9-30, Here, to our amazement, was a wondrous scene, and after many conjectures in which campers figured largely, we arrived at the conclusion that it was a fair. Yes, that was it, a “fair!” And, lest I should incur the wrath of one of my fellow members, I dare not reveal the name of the youth who was finally located sitting on the "‘obby ‘orses.” waiting for them to start.

When we left Settle we were fifteen strong, six late-comers having joined us. Steadily the miles were put behind, Clapham came and went, Ingleton was dropped; Kirkby Lonsdale, and then — disaster. “Womanater,” the chump, amid a loud hissing sound, nonchalantly informed us that he thought he had a puncture. looking at his already flat tyre we did not doubt the truth of his statement, but glumly dismounted. Telling the rest to continue, four of us remained with the unfortunate "Womanater.” And now, I will tell the correct procedure for repairing punctures, or shall we say "Womanater's" method. First of all, take off coat, the shirt sleeves up brisk]y, remove lamp from bike, placing the latter upside down. Produce tools and necessary equipment and finally sit down while some fathead does the job. It all worked according to rule, the fathead in this case being “Bookoss.” On inspection of the inner tube, it was found to be badly gashed, a spare one was put in. When at last all was in order the hour was late, and we found that we should have to put in some good riding to arrive at Arnside in reasonable time. As we had only a vague idea how to get there, we left it to "Wilmay" to guide us, and by gum, he did! He said it was a short cut; it was. The road (bah !}, path we took, rose about 1,000 feet (or so it seemed), and when we arrived at Arnside, we told “Wilmay” in no uncertain terms, where to go, and what to do with his map.

The others were already consuming the enormous quantities of food and nothing loth, we followed their example Having completed this most important interlude, we wandered down to the promenade, where our camera friends proceeded to waste perfectly good film upon us. Arnside is very nice place, but it is robbed of much of its charm by the unsightly viaduct which spans the bay. It was so pleasant, and the water looked so tempting that a few voted for swimming. The more restless spirits elected to carry on to Silverdale via Arnside Knott, which we proceeded to do. Amid open moorland the road took us, the rising gradient causing us to walk. At the summit a halt was made to admire the view while the presence of large quantities of blackberry bushes bearing ripe fruit, spurred our more thrifty members into blackberrying. It was only when someone pointed out that too many raw blackberries had been known to poison people, that they seemed less eager to pick them. Satisfied, both with the view and the blackberries, we carried on through cool, refreshing woods, the trees interlacing overhead and shutting out the hot sun. Shortly, we struck the road again, and were soon at Silverdale. We were not inclined to halt there, but passed on, the run becoming now a matter purely and simply of reeling the miles off as quickly as possible. On traffic-laden roads, reeking with petrol, amid the booming of exhausts and the shrieking of electric horns; it was hideous. Bolton le-Sands was just behind us, then came ugly Carnforth, My impression of Carnforth is one of railway sidings, and what looked like huge condensers and gas works. Lancaster at last!

Here we slaked our thirst with cooling drinks, preparatory to grinding down to Brock. The pace settled down to a steady twelves, with "Wilmay" one of the leaders. It soon became evident that “Wilmay" was not as fresh as he was earlier in the day, and before long he began to regret his morning capers. He cried "Enough" just before Garstang, and retired into a sheltered position in the rear. Someone moved up, and we ground on to Brock, where, with heartfel thanks we had a wash and tea.

From Brock we came through Inglewhite and all thought “now we can take it easy." But could we? We could not. I don’t know how it happened, but the pace freshened up to about fifteens. It became a case of having to hang on to the other fellow’s back wheel, or push the wind oneself. So we chose the lesser of the two evils and all clung together. The climax came when "Squire and Co" were sighted in front. To eighteens the pace rose, and we overtook them between Longridge and Ribchester. Angry murmurings were now heard from the rear. Stop it! Slow up! But they were heeded not. It was only at Ribchester, when "Squire and Co" turned right for Oake’s Bar, and we, left for Billington, that the pace became more leisured. Slowly we wended our way, dropping into Whalley at 8 o’clock. After a brief halt we resumed our homeward journey, each member vowing that never again, would he take part in a club "blind,” but knowing deep down in his heart that he will enter with zest into the next one.

- RAYMIT.