Burnley and Pendle

Cyclists Touring Club

A Camping Holiday in Lakeland - c1931

September holidays, the problem of the moment. How does one obtain an enjoyable holiday when the exchequer is low? Does one stay at home and re-hash the memories of one’s mid-summer holiday? Certainly not. Let me tell you how thirty-three members of the Nelson Section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club managed it. They loaded their bicycles with tents, pots, pans and other camping requisites, and after a rather tedious journey through the pouring rain eventually arrived at Ambleside, the chosen headquarters. Fortunately, the rain cleared in time to allow us to pitch our tents without any discomfort on the edge of Lake Windermere.

Sunday found' us indulging in various recreations. During the morning some boated on the lake, one or two swam in it, and the rest idled about enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

In the afternoon one party had a leisurely run to Tarn Hows and Tilberthwaite Ghyll, a delightful bit of Lakeland between Ambleside and Coniston. From the how, or hill, overlooking High Low Tarn there are fine views over the mountain lakelet, with its winding, wooded shores to the fells beyond Ambleside. This tarn and part of the surrounding country was within recent years presented to the National Trust. Another party. climbed Lougrigg, and rock-embossed fell at the head of Windermere, and then went forward to Grasmere, returning along the shores of Rydal Water and through the beautiful wooded Rydal Vale.

Monday morning found the camp in a general state of unrest, for it was murmured that Scafell Pike was to be conquered that day. A start was made by riding via Skelwith Bridge and Elterwater, into Great Langdale, one of the finest valleys in Lakeland. One cannot fail to be impressed by the grandeur of the mountain outline visible daring the latter part of this ride, and especially when Langdale itself is entered. The well-known Peaks of Langdale stand at the head of the valley, whilst more to the west, is the graceful peak of Bowfell and the rugged contour of Crinkle Crags.

At Middlefell Farm, near Dungeon Ghyll, we abandoned our cycles and commenced our tramp. The first two miles of Mickledon Strath were soon covered, and then we tackled Rossett Ghyll, the notoriously rough valley below. This accomplished, we felt that we had earned something, so an al fresco lunch was partaken of. Then we strode on past the deep-set Angle Tarn to Esk House, where we obtained a fine view of Great Gable and the crags of Great End. Here we turned left on to Scafell Pike. We were soon. enveloped in clouds, but after a rough walk across the huge boulders which constitute the higher reaches of the mountain, we scrambled up the narrow ridge - the last ascent to the summit of England. From the summit an occasional break in the clouds gave us glimpses of the valleys below, and then, as quickly as it had come, the mist disappeared, and the whole district, from the Scottish hills beyond the Solway Firth to the hills on the farther side of Morecambe Bay and the intermediate peaks of the Cumbrian mountain, came into view. The majority returned by the same route as they had come, but a few of the more adventurous spirits continued over Bowfell and down by Hell Ghyll — a wild ravine, with ‘waterfalls and cascades roaring and splashing over the rocks — to join the rest of the party at Middlefell Farm for tea. There is always a fair amount of table-talk after an ordinary event, but this one beat them all, for everyone had some amusing or exciting incident to recall.

After tea there came a peaceful ride down Langdale in a typical Lakeland evening, the gold outlines of the Langdale Pikes showing majestically against the yellow hue of the western sky. Then the camp fire was lit, and there followed the usual recounting of experiences before everyone turned in for the night.

Tuesday proved to be practically uneventful. A steady drizzle upset any ambitious plans that were made.

When the last day of the holiday came, nearly all packed their outfits and returned home, knowing that they had spent their holiday both wisely and cheaply. Those more fortunate members who had secured a longer period stayed to enjoy the incomparable beauties of this jewel of England.

J.H.G


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