Last week-end all roads led to Bolton-by-Bowland: that pretty Yorkshire village was the centre of the universe for cyclists, cycle campers and hikers of the northern counties. The North Lancashire District Association of the C.T.C. was staging its popular annual “meet" and camping rally, for several years one of the chief attractions for northern cyclists.

Three of us, cycle campers usually, decided to cast convention and cycles aside, and become hiker-campers for once, by way of a change. It wasn’t far to Bolton-by Bowland we argued, also it would enable us to renew acquaintance with scenes long forgotten or neglected whilst seeking pastures farther afield.

Leaving Fence Gate, we turned un by the old church and followed the field paths to Sabden Fold. We had not traversed many fields before it was necessary to remove our jackets for comfort; it was a May day without a doubt. Warm, gentle breezes, and glaring sunlight, with an occasional wisp of cloud in a background of deep blue. A cuckoo called, a peewit performed aerial acrobatics, and a lark from its lofty viewpoint poured music earthward in a long continued trill. Turning into Cock Clough, we attained Spence Moor, and followed the lip of the moor above Ogden Clough. "Nearly equal to the Lake District," said one. "Not quite as rugged or majestic," remarked another critically. Striking across the moor, we reached Brast Clough, and descended the slopes of old Pendle to its foot-hills, and so on to Downham.  Leaving this delightful village, we continued along the primrose-strewn banks of Swanside Beck to Sawley, and by wandering lanes reached Bolton-by-Bowland.

Already the village had an animated appearance.  Cycle campers from far and near were passing through to the camping ground. Shops (both of them) were experiencing an unprecedented boom. Lads and lasses in shorts monopolised everything. Proceeding to the camp, we erected our tents, and then settled down to a well-earned tea and rest.

In the evening a concert was to be held in the village school. To this we went with about 200 others. The hall was packed to its utmost limit, and many had to be turned away; they missed a treat. A splendid concert was given by Miss S. Taylor, soprano; Miss ¥. Greenwood, contralto; Mr, W. Taylor, baritone (of the Savoy Opera Singers), along with Mr. A. E. Benson, tenor; Miss-E. Illingworth, violinist, and Miss A. Dixon, accompanist. Who will forget 'The Rivals', 'Before and After Marriage', or ‘My Sarah—Oo-ooh!? My Henery—Qo-o0h' put across so inimitably by the various artistes.  Not that all were comedy numbers; such favourites as “Selections from Maid of the Mountains,” “Night in Venice,” and the violin solos were received with great applause. A concluding item, "Love’s Old Sweet Song,” beautifully rendered by the party, brought to a close a very pleasant evening.

Returning to the camp after the concert, we found most of the inhabitants at supper or preparing for a night’s rest. Many of the tents were illuminated,. and when seen from a distance were a very pleasing picture one dear to the heart of every camper.

Sunday  morning  dawned:  the day of events! The weather was dull and cloudy, with occasional drizzle. Trom a tent away down stream, a feminine voice squeaked "My Hener —Oo-ooh! My Sarah Oo-ooh!" replied an up-river rovsterer. Shades of last night’s concert! A merry life is a camper’s, full of humour. Between breakfast and lunch the time passed pleasantly in viewing the mushroom village.

Over 130 tents accommodating some 200 persons were there. A party had gathered across the river, and under the leadership of an amateur conductor, were rendering vocal numbers in woodland surroundings, more charming than the artificial atmosphere of the stage. Meanwhile, visitors began pouring in, viewing with wonder and admiration what constituted perhaps the largest gathering of campers ever held in the North of England.  Things hecame lively when the Press photographers and the Universal Talking News’ representatives began operations.

It was in the afternoon that things reached a climax. People began to find interest not in the camp, but in the village, and Bolton-by-Bewland began to assume the apearance of a human bee-hive. 

Cyclists continually rolled into the village from every approach and gathered on the green to await events. At 2 o’clock Mr. Atkinson. the Chairman, rose and welcomed a crowd roughly estimated at 600. In introducing the speakers, he appealed to cyclists to preserve the beauties of the countryside.

Mr. C. A. Cheetham, C.C. for West Yorkshire, that old veteran full of boyish laughter and youthful vitality, chided the North Lancs. D.A. on holding its "meet" im Yorkshire, but gave them all a heartywelcome to his home county.

Mr. C. H. Crompton, C.T.C., Councillor for Lancashire, stressed the importance of organization, and urged all unattached cyclists to join some organised body such as the C.T.C., to protect their interests.

Mr. Elias, President of the Liverpool District Association, thanked the organisers for giving him his first opportunity of addressing local cyclists did not seem to fully appreciate the beauties of the surrounding district, and that if they lived in a district such as Liverpool, where they had no rural countrvside, would appreciate such beauties a great deal more.

"Kuklus", that witty and versatile lecturer, kept the crowd amused with his sallies at the motorist. "Far from the cyclist being crowded off the road,” he said, *their numbers were increasing every week." He read a letter from a Southampton man who said that he had been compelled by his wife, her mother and their nicce to drive motor cars, so he hated them. (He meant motor cars).

Mr. P. Brazendale, Secretary of the Liverpool D.A. gave a wonderfully uplifting speech. He also stressed the importance of preserving the beauties of the countryside, but added that there was one kind of flower that all cyclists should pluck, by the roots if necessary; he referred to the healthy lasses of the C.T.C. Marry a cyclist, was his advice, and the interests which both have in common will add materially to the joys of life.

Mr. G. A. Hudson, of Nelson, Secretary of the North Lancs. D.A., moved, and Miss M. Aughton, ¢f Nelson, seconded a vote of thanks to the speakers. And so it ended. 

We returned to the camp feeling proud of our organisation.  These speakers made us feel to be superior; mwore enlightened than those poor creatures ignorant of our pastime. We were rich in experience, happiness and were indded fotunate.

Shouldering our rucksacks, now bulging with the dismantled camping eguipment, we left the camping ground. By way of Foodin, we made our way homewards and dropped into the Haven at Rimington, for tea. Old Pendle had donned his night-cap when we emerged, and a steady drizzle cooled our heated brows. A dozen or so cyclists flashed by. Greetings and humorous sallies clashed in the humid atmosphere, for we recognised them as fellow clubmates returning from the “meet.” I wish I had my bike,” remarked one of my companions as the ecyclists drifted effortlessly down the long hill to Barley.

Thus another Bolton-by-Bowland "meet" had passed into history. This the latest was a success beyond our wildest dreams. It was eloquent of the vivacity of cycling and camping in the mnorth.  Will next year’s great event surpass it? Without a doubt, it will. Do not our own leaders of the pastime say so - nay, assert it, that cycling must grow! We who have attended thislatest "meet" look forward with added zest to the next. See that you, attached or unattached cyclists, campers or hikers, are there too.

(Photo kindly provided by Robert Reeder, Campers at the Bolton-By-Bowland meet, although it is uncertain if this is from the same year).