It was not a very inviting kind of a morning; a thick fog obliterated everything except near objects, and a slippery road added to the risk of a skid. A fireside and a book were the appropriate means for ending the morning at least; but not for me. A leader is always supposed to present himself on a run, however adverse conditions may be. Nevertheless, I felt sorely tempted to answer other calls more alluring than riding through a wet blanket of fog on a frost-bound road. However, like many other depressing mornings, it proved to be only prelude to a glorious afternoon.
Leaving Langroyd, with its sombre aspect, we left the fog behind and rode into a veritable fairyland. Here hedgerows and trees were thickly coated with hoar frost, glittering white in the sunshine. Craven surely never looked more beautiful than on that morning. A blue sky above and a white road beneath us made my fireside thoughts turn to pity for those who had not faced the ordeal of riding through the fog bound town.
After a short stay in Skipton, we were on our way once more, past Rylstone, Cracoe and Threshfield, into Wharfedale. Here, dazzling white, Great Whernside and Buckden Pike lent an Alpine touch to the scene. With hunger gnawing at our insides, and a strong breeze hindering us, we passed through the pleasant dale villages of Kettlewell and Starbottom to Buckden. Here in a cosy farmhouse we had lunch.
Lunch over, we rambled up to the neighbouring Cray Gill, the object of our run. in the vicinity of Buckden, almost every stream flowing dewn to the valley from the hill tops, cascades over a series of limestone out-crops, making ravines of no mean grandeur. Cray Gill is the most popular of these. For two or three miles 1t descends, now through narrow gorges, now over rocky ledges, with ferns, creepers and bushes forming natural hanging gardens.
Returning to the village for our bicycles, we mounted and rode down the dale. Just as dusk was falling, we arrived at Hetton, where, in a cosy cottage, we ate, laughed and chatted as the tea hour passed.
A cold white world greeted us as we left the warm atmosphere of the cottage. The moon’s cold light dimmed all but the most brilliant stars. So light was it, that details in the Rylstone and Cracoe fells were easily seen. Often walking to warm ourselves, we eventually arrived at Thornton, where, during a pause, we were joined by members of the short run who had been to Druid’s Altar. We rode back to town together, where, after the clear dry atmosphere of the country, it presented a damp, drab aspect very littie better than the morning.