On New Year’s Eve, the local section the Cyclists’ Touring Club carried out annual custom of riding out to a catering establishment, situated about eight miles away, there to partake of a Potato Pie Supper and to enjoy an impromptu social evening, then at midnight to ride the old year out and the New Year in.
Our old friend "Derailleur,” having promised to take a lady friend (who is a piano expert), I awaited their first attempt on a tandem with interest. Having adjusted the rear saddle of the tandem, and got the music strapped on behind, the small party, accompanied by -the section secretary, Mrs. Hudson, set out for the aforementioned caterer’s
Taking a glance at the clock at the Nelson and Colne Boundary, and finding the time later than we had thought, I told friend "Derailleur” to "step on ’em," which he did, to his lady partner’s horror and to my sorrow. Thereafter, the "hon. sec.” and myself tried to keep up to him, still, it enabled us to get our legs under the table before the rest of the club had demolished the good things thereon.
After support had been disposed of, I took a glance round the empty tables, and counted thirty-three round, shiny faces, and adding my own made thirty-four cyclists who had determined to show the New Year that cycling is not declining. The smokers pulling pipes and cigarettes out, (and one misguided youth, a cigar), we cleared the tables away for the evening’s fun. The first call was for the pianist, who played a few community songs to get things into good working order. Tom Hargreaves, who volunteered to sing "The Village Blacksmith" vas followed. by Harry Nutter, who came forward with "When other lips," "Raymond," the Brierfield Adonis then sang "I don’t care what you used to be,” and the company showed their appreciation by telling him that they knew what he was that day. A pianoforte solo, "D’eau Arabesque" was then enjoyed by the members.
After several appeals for a game, the misguided youth, having recovered from the effects of his cigar, suggested that the ladies should be given a trip to Brighton. Judging by the amount of laughter this game produced, the ladies thoroughly enjoyed the trip though some of them did complain about the bumpiness of the track, and in the case of "Millie," one station refused to stay on the railway line. The clock then showing 11-30 we finished by singing Auld Lang Syne.
Lamps were lit, and, led by our treasurer "Bill” Lord, we started for home, and had just reached the county boundary when 12 o'clock struck, the New Year being heralded in by a carillon of more or less musical cycle bells. On reaching Nelson, the party gradually dwindled, till at last only the Burnley members and "Raymond," were left. Thus we symbolised once again that cycling is till an all year pastime for many of us yet.
"SON OF HUD"
Among the many important events fulfilled, during the past week-end, was one promoted by the Nelson section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, which took the form of a reliability ride of 200 miles in 24 hours. All cyclists between the ages of nine and ninety were eligible to compete for the large certificates offered by the club to the successful riders who should complete the distance within the limited time.
Since the entry fee amounted to five shillings per head, or mouth - average size— and included two hot meals; an aggregate number of fifteen entrants was considered quite hopeful by the organisers. Unfortunately, but twelve of that number, including our lady secretary, started from Nelson at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and thus began their long journey.
So let the reader hang on to our trail as we rattle out of the town towards Carr Hall Road, where Mr. D. C. Holmes succeeded in waylaying us with photographic interests.The ordeal over and with fervent hopes that the camera would not be found damaged, we continued towards Higham, where rain caused us to adorn ourselves with capes and "oil-skin lids." The downpour prevailed upon the earth as we passed over its surface through Whalley to Preston, where we steered about eight points to starboard and so on to Cabas near Garstang. This was our first halt, and our already damp sandwiches were soon harboured safely internally. Then at 110-20 p.m. we were ready again to sail out into the wet. By that time the darkness of the night also began to reign, so lamps were lighted to guide us through the storm.
In Lancaster we pitied the picture-goers as they endeavoured to board late ’buses, with fears that they would have to walk home in the rain; while we imagined that they in turn would. perhaps be sorry for us. Little did they think that a hot dinner was being prepared for our special consumption at Windermere.
Therefore our favourite “track-eaters” were permitted to feed rapidly upon the juicy road to Kendal, while the tyres wallowed with evident relish in the mud, and in due course of time we arrived on the scene of the feed. After a much needed toilet we all sat down to a very early morning dinner, while mountains of steak pie and vegetables were surveyed for the last time by twelve pairs of eyes squinting along knives and forks, which were used as theodolites. Some of our friends appeared quite "fed up" in more than one sense, ’ere they had eaten the cairns from off their hills of food; while others with keener appetites called for second "peaks" some of which were left unconquered.
By 3-20 a.m. we might all have been able to depart had not Arthur George calmly informed us that his conveyance had developed a serious wheel-wobble, due to several of the spokes being broken, thus preventing his continuation of the ride. But, while seven of the party remounted their steeds, a repair gang of five rebuilt rear wheel, and Arthur will never forget their good deeds, for to him the repair did truly appeal.
So the latter part set out from Windermere an hour behind the scheduled time, and a little later the day broke upon them, while the light scattered in all directions. It was then time to turn out our lights, quite a simple matter for all of us except Squire, whose light-giving dynamo was, held in gear by the tension provided by three yards of string passed between the handlebars and the dynamo itself. This festoon arrangement he contrived to untie without dismounting, and his efforts as the loose end increased to more than an arm’s length above his head, became rather amusing, especially when his mouth, too, was required to prevent an almost unmanageable length of cord from becoming entangled in the wheels. Then, unfortunate Arthur solemnly announced that-the rent was over due in his cape, and true enough that very moment had parted from the neck right down the spine seam, thus presenting a rather exaggerated swallow-tailed appearance. And as our little party proceeded along to Ambleside and Grasmere, then over Dunmail Raise, from the top of which Thirlmere can be seen in the distance, inviting road users to come down from the heights and take a closer view. A following wind helped us quickly down to the lake avenue of trees, whose fresh green leaves contrasted pleasantly with the dark clouded sky overhead.
Our route led us through the Vale of John's by Threlkeld to Keswick, where breakfast was to be served, but not before we had travelled all the way round Bassenthwaite lake and entered the town for the second time that day. By that time the advance. party had been overtaken by the repair section, so we were all able to beak-fast together.
About 8 p.m. we left Keswick and commenced the return journey to Kendal, while our shoes were still able to spout water from the lace holes. On arriving at the up-to-date Westmorland town, we were again provided with another meal to keep us awake and active, leaving later about 12 a.m. for Kirby
Lonsdale. There we began meeting the animals from a travelling circus, and by pretending not to see them, a few of the sleepy ones were easily led to believe that the elephants and zebras they saw were merely imaginary, such visions being the result of staying awake all night.
This event helped to bring some of the party to their normal senses, and was about the time when the rain had ceased sufficiently to enable us to take off our capes for the remainder of the day.
After traversing familiar roads Settle was reached, where those who still possessed appetites partook of a little more refreshment. Later, we were all riding along the last lap of our lengthy course form Settle to Skipton, then Colne, where all the twelve riders finished in time to qualify for the gold clocks which will never be presented, though we may each be the proud recipient of quarter yard's of wallpaper printed to show that on such a said day we rode a bicycle a distance of 200 miles in 23 hours - and survived.
One would think, in view of Saturday’s, (March 3lst) persistent downpours that cycling, let alone cycle-camping, would be out of the question, but it was not so. Oh no! The Nelson section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club had the date fixed for their opening camp, and nothing short of a great flood was sufficient to damp their ardour in this direction. Apart from it raining, the only unusual happening on the journey to Malham took place near Gargrave, when "T.W.” had the dual surprise of coming down in the world a distance of thirteen inches, and also being beaten to the bottom of the hill by his own back wheel. It was getting dark when the party arrived at Malham, so haste was made in the direction of Gordale. where we were pitching. Arriving there "Jay Bee" who had set out very early, greeted us with forced gaiety, for only two tents had yet arrived. “Nonstop,” who was dying to hear the music of the Primus, was already engaged in a dust up with a brand new set of tent poles, but on finding their joints too complicated for him in his present state of mind conveniently went into a trance whilst “Jay Bee" did all the dirty work.
Night had fallen ere more tents were erected in a straight line in the shelter of the wall. "Here, hold this lamp!” “Oh hang! Who wrapped my tent up that last camp,” were common expressions borne on the night winds, as usually patient chaps - endeavoured to straighten out a knot of guy-lines in the darkness. The prearranged social and lantern lecture had been delayed somewhat owing to the intermittent additions to our little community, but by ten o’clock “Jay Bee” opened the affair, which was held in the neighbouring farmhouse, thanks to the generosity of the residents. Camping songs were the first item on the lengthy programme. Having been adapted to well-known tunes, the verses were thrown on the screen by "Smiler’s” lantern, but owing to non-availability of instruments musical we were entirely at the mercy of a long-winded chappie with a mouth organ. Mrs. Hudson gave a solo with such a depth of feeling that we excused her missing a line or two. Our secretary, "Gee Whiz," excels in monologues (humorous of course), so he read one out, as did "Jay Bee", whose Yorkshire Blood entitled him to utilise his native dialect.
The star turns of the evening now appeared on the schedule, these being in the form of lecturettes by "Jay Bee" and "Smiler.” The former gentleman is already well known to the lecture going public, by his earnest endeavours (in the time at his disposal after the chairman has died through shortage of breath) to instil into his audience some of his love of the out-o-doors. Mr. King is one of this year’s - debutantes, shall we say - to the wand and reading lamp; our hats off to him for the outstanding success of his first attempt. Possessing no definite title, the lecturette by “Jay Bee" gave his listeners a brief survey of the possibilities of lightweight cycle-camping, and short though it was, I guarantee that the "away-from-home-three-times-a-year" town dweller would feel strangely stirred when he saw what could be done with the "push-bike" (curse the misnomer!) "Smiler" up, on his pet subject "Pots.” “The geological formation of Gordale,” was one of his subjects, and was illustrated by diagrammatic drawings and photos shown on the screen. Our "potty" comrade handled his matter in a very comprehensive style, as he did also when describing the caves and "pot-holes" shown later. Both of our friends had many beautiful slides of which they are justly proud. Our thanks to them for the unique evening’s entertainment they provided. At 11-45 the evening closed with a community song, the "Campers' Good-night."
Out in the moon-bathed valley there was an immediate scuffle for the tents and supper, after which, some in search of more fresh air went for a stroll up the ravine, but by 12-30 Nature had drawn her children to her bosom and they slept. "Jay Bee" was first man up, why, I can’t say, for his bones are inured to the ‘hardest granite. Anyway, he commenced to brew tea in wholesale quantities, much to the satisfaction of the lucky recipients thereof.
As the camp awakened in easy stages, we were able to take a census of those present. Seventeen tents of all shapes and shades, ranging from sea-green to a dirty yellow had sheltered over forty, including four of the weaker (?) sex. A large number of Lancashire and Yorkshire towns were represented, Leeds, Bradford, Nelson, Burnley, Accrington and Oldham, oh! and Hebden Bridge, of course, all had their representatives amongst the jovial throng of fresh air friends squatted about preparing the morning repast. After breakfast the party split up into small groups which broadcast themselves in all directions, some up in the Gordale chasm or over Mastiles in the direction of Kilnsey. In fact, when viewing the surrounding landscape from an elevated position on the fells we could see our friends everywhere, indulging in a mind refreshing saunter over the windswept uplands, or scrambling over white limestone crags, some even risking life and limb on a treacherous face climb.
Whatever pursuit they had followed however, the whole bunch automatically made their way back to camp about dinner time. The light was now very strong in active ray, so our photographers prepared to shoot the camp and its inhabitants, who bravely faced a barrage from a row of cameras. Voracious appetites will not permit longer delay than is necessary, and soon the Primus stoves were to be heard roaring in every tent. But hark! A roar not so musical comes from friend "Samson,” who discovers that a pound of juicy beefsteak, carefully conveyed from home, is no longer to be found. A similar complaint is received from Mrs. Hudson, whose Sunday dinner has taken unto itself legs and walked. After a very careful search of the surrounding country failed to reveal the presence of the missing foodstuffs, immediate suspicion was fastened on the farmer’s dog. Why, I can’t say, a more honest, truthful dog you would never see. Admitted, it looked well fed and at peace with the world as it sat there with a face wreathed in smiles. Of course Samson promised to strengthen his acquaintance with the bow-wow as soon as he had time.
After dinner a "siesta" and a pipe, and it was time for some of the lads to commence packing for the homeward journey. Experience and compactability of kit makes this job far from as fearsome as it appears, for one can cook breakfast, pack up and be away in one hour. The Nelsonians having time to spare spent an hour or two on the fells and in paying "social" calls on remaining campers. By tea only six of the seventeen tents remained, and as the Nelson section were last to leave the site, they saw to it that no paper, tins, or egg shells had been left lying about. To leave even a match stem or bit of string where it can be seen after a night’s camp is an unpardonable sin amongst true lovers of the country. In conclusion, it was passed unanimously that our "opener" had been an outstanding success, thanks to all who defied the elements to swell the numbers participating
The activities of the Nelson Section of the cyclists' Touring Club were many and varied during last week-end. On Saturday a social evening and supper was held in the Co-operative Rooms, Cumberland Street, where members and their friends, who had not been turned away at the door, were provided with first-class entertainment, most of the artistes having been commandeered from the ranks of the C.T.C. There were others, however, who, although non-members, were pleased to give their contributions to the evening programme. Miss Dixon, L.L.C.M., A.T.C.L., was at the piano, and tickled the ivories deftly, as she accompanied the vocal aspirants. Her rendering of the "Autumn
Prelude” was much appreciated by the audience.
Mr. Herbert King, C.T.C.-ite, gave a few songs, being in excellent voice for the occasion; while the Misses Sugden, who are also club members, did justice to the occasion by blending their voices in duet.
Madame Crossley also gave songs, which were well received; and yet again Jack Whittle, from "Barlick,” convulsed the audience with his recitals in Yorkshire dialect. We shall never tire of his description of "Jonathan Swale."
An unusual feature in the programme was the demonstration in "limb swinging" and other physical contortions, by three juvenile lads and their instructor, who is also instructor of a certain Health and Strength League in Burnley. Their efforts were well applauded although there would probably have been some complaints if the audience had been asked to try some of the exercises
at the conclusion of the act.
During the interval refreshments were given away—but only to those with refreshment tickets. Tea, broth, coloured cakes and meat pies were much in evidence, and there were many in the audience who began feeding “Squire” with buns in a manner which left his attendants open-mouthed in astonishment at his capacity.
The “bun-fight” over and the multitude fed, the work of gathering up the fragments of cakes, pies and plates was begun (I am not going to say how many baskets were filled) while the artistes, who were about to appear in a sketch, were undergoing painting decorations by Mr. W. Hampton, who also coached them in their previous rehearsals. This little play was shortly presented to the audience, and was entitled "The Stop-Gap Hero,” and is really a play within a play, in which the real hero is indisposed, and to save disappointment, a stop-gap hero, in the shape of a young Yorkshireman, is put on, who is supposed to have had no rehearsals. Mr. R. Greenwood as "Hemingway," played his part so well in pretending to forget his lines and substitute others, that many in the company actually thought he was spoiling the play. Mrs F. Baldwin took the part of "Rosy Rapture," "the maiden in distress,” who is about to be forced into marriage by her uncle, Sir Anthony Bickley (played by Mr. E. whitehead) to Septimus Whitclock, a rich old merchant (R. Harrison). Rosy, with the aid of her servant, Lydia (in reality Miss E. Plews) who calls the hero to the rescue, disposes of old Septimus. Then the villain, a motor highwayman comes on the scene (L. Hartley in disguise), and of whom, I overheard, played his part naturally—now what was meant? After making dove to Rosy, he dances with her, and, is finally kicked off the stage by Hemingway.
The old uncle brings another suitor, Fred Baldwin, as "Professor Le Pomme," an inventor, who, after describing his inventions, is thrown out by the hero, and exposed by him as an old rascal in debt. The uncle, in astonishment, then allows his niece to marry the hero, who has just received the news of his inheritance of a fortune.
All the actors played their parts admirably and were given much applause.
At the conclusion of the programme a vote of thanks to the artistes was made by Mr. H. Blezard, and seconded by Mr. H. Leaver, 11 p.m. bringing to a close a very enjoyable evening.
Leaden skies, dripping roofs, and rain swept roads; such were the conditions as we, the Nelson section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, mustered under a friendly shelter at Higherford last Sunday morning. At 9-45 we grabbed our respective bicycles and started upon our journey to Catterick Force. A spirit of leisureliness seemed prevalent amongst us and we walked rather more than usual of Coldweather Hill. I for one, was quite satisfied with this state of affairs. since I was feeling none too fresh after the buffeting we received from the wind upon our journey to Burnsall the afternoon previous.
The top at last, with the glorious panorama of Ribbiesdale before us bathed in that bright mystic light that always seems to rest in the valleys that one views from the contrast of a cloud enshrouded hill-top. This part of Ribblesdale is surely one of Yorkshire's gems a dale of smiling fields. prolific trees and gurgling streams. bounded by those admiration compelling hills, Whelpstone Crag, Ingleboro, Penyghent and Rye Loaf; and in the centre of all these, the sleepy.
winding Ribble. As we descended out of the mist our capes became unnecessary, and we stopped at the top of the last rise before Gisburn and packed them into our saddle-bags. The ride to Settle was uneventful except for an occasional pointed remark concerning the negative usefulness of some mudguards, when o rider happened to encounter the spray cast by another’s rear-tvre.
We paused in Settle for a few minutes and then went up the suitably named Constitution Hill towards Horton. An occasional break in the clouds that almost hid Penyghent from our view, showed us that the monarch of Ribblesdale was covered with snow. In Horton we propped our bikes against the barn, which we usually use for that purpose, and were greeted by a faint bleat from within. Being of inquisitive dispositions we naturally investigated and discovered a sheep with a recently born lamb. The sheep was so proud of its achievement that I forbore from giving it a lecture upon the folly of bringing offspring into the world at this cold, early period of the year. Since Mrs. Joerjud (who hag a passion for petting all animals except "man cows") was not present, the lamb was left in peace, and we trooped into the Golden Lion for lunch,
Rain began to fall whilst we were having lunch, and when I, as leader. asked how many were going up to Catterick Force I was answered by a non-committal silence. I would have liked to indulge in a few sarcastic remarks upon the fragility of the modern youth, but since they may have involved me into walking the two steep miles of muddy fields and footpaths leading to Catterick Force and back again, I deemed 1t wiser to keep silent. We therefore donned our capes and proceeded back to Gisburn for the big event of the day. namely the annual dinner of the North Lancashire District Association. When we got to Ellis’ we found a number of our weather shy friends. who had turned out after dinner, already in possession. Since we had braved the rigours of the day we naturally didn’t omit to point out that they were getting timid.
We removed the stains of travel from our persons and then went in to dinner. There were 77 members present at the dinner from the various sections of the North Lancs. D.A.. 47 of whom were from our own section. I will not dwell upon what we consumed, let it suffice to say that it was an exceptionally good dinner. Our friend °Derailleur" who is a member of a society which forbids its members to take alcohol, was giving “Jeorjud" a homily upon the evils of having rum sauce upon his plum pudding. I was quite touched by Derailleur’s devotion to the temperance cause until I remembered a certain farm in the Lake District where he conveniently forgot his principles and partook of some of that delectable Cumberland commodity—rum butter. Upon me reminding him of this incident he immediately subsided into silence, for which we were truly grateful. The dinner over at last, T glanced around at the faces of my fellow members. Some looked much the same as usual, but one or two looked unusually red, and shiny, and a certain lady who sat opposite me particularly so. Ah! what a blessing to have a healthy appetite, thought I. The tables were cleared away, and the chairman, Mr. Atkinson, opened the evening's programme with a speech, which dealt principally with the health-giving properties of the bicycle, and the progress of the Cyclists’ Touring Club. The speech over, a varied concert was begun. Miss A. Dixon gave a pianoforte solo and Mr. J. Burrows a selection of operatic airs upon the flute. Miss Ellis and Messrs W. A. Taylor, T.Hargreaves, J. Butterworth, and J. Nuttall contributed a number of songs and our friend "Lezly" a humorous recitation culled from the works of W. W. Jacobs. The concert, which was uproariously appreciated, lasted until 7.30, and the Preston, Fylde, and Blackburn sections then departed for their various cities. In view of the splitting up of the District Association, this is the last of the annual dinners at which the Preston and Fylde will attend as an official part of the DA, As we had a less distance to travel home than the other sections we stayed a while longer. One party gathered round the piano and proceeded to make the rafters ring with more or less tuneful singing. Another party amused their little selves by doing tricks, such as picking matchboxes up with their teeth in the most awkward manner; these games were punctuated by a series of bumps and thuds as the various participants came to grief. The remainder gathered round the stove and smoked and talked to their hearts content.
At nine o’clock we lighted our lamps and left Gisburn en-route for home. The weather clerk had evidently repented his misdeeds for the night was mild and pleasant as we drifted back over Coldweather Hill. Some of our lady members had not recovered from eating too much so we considerately walked most of the hill. Three other Burnleyites and myself could not face the setts of Barrowford. Nelson and Brierfield, so amidst a chorus of "Good nights" we left the main body at Blacko Bar and went home via Rough Lea and Fence. We finally reached our native city at 10-30, and so to bed. The last thought that entered my head as 1t rested on the pillow was—Roll on the next D.A. dinner.
There are some mornings when you awaken from a sleep disturbed by torrential rain and the audible gyrations of dust-bin lids ending their none-too brief flights, and half expect to find the streets thronged with mariners, busily engaged in hauling their respective crafts back to the sea, from which they might have been swept during the night.
Such a morning presented itself last Sunday, the day when members of the Nelson Section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club were intended to ride to Austwick for dinner, then afterwards either make the moorland crossing of Sulber Nick or go home again via Helwith Bridge and Settle, the latter route being specially arranged for our pottering members.
The appearance of a ship’s mast outside my bedroom window on the said morn caused me to part company with the blankets quicker than usual; but further investigation proved the "mast" to be merely a clothes prop blown from its moorings.
Once out of bed, I made a decision which later resulted in the weather-beaten appearance of my body and "bike” in Gisburn, where other members of the C.T.C were likely to be met. The description of how each one arrived there, after battling with atmospheric conditions usually associated with Christmas, may be better given in the form of a book. Therefore let the story begin as we take the main road to Settle, where the journey becomes more like a nightmare than a reality,
The tall trees by the roadside, aided by the wind, would wait until we were about to pass, then suddenly bend low over the roadway, flourishing their leafless branches before our faces, and it was very fortunate that we were not wearing bowler hats.
Very often our Sou’-westers were straining at their leash of double width hat elastic under our chins, threatening to strangle us. But always just at the moment when we were about to receive our mythical harps or coal shovels (mine was a shovel) there would he a lull in the storm and the hats would return with oo whack on our heads, to bring us back to reality.
Speaking of harps reminds me of an excellent rendering of “Souls in Anguish,” performed by the wind playing on the telegraph wives, between long Preston and Settle. The musical description of the souls as they are repeatedly purified by the action of boiling sulphur, is characterised by a triple crescendo on the "screams of terror,” followed by moans and howls that would have been sufficient alone to curdle the contents of our stomachs. But our breakfasts had long since departed; therefore we were spared the ordeal.
The only fault with the selection was that the air was a little too boisterous, and caused “Squire" to perform all sorts of high-brow wrinkling contortions to prevent his proverbial cap from giving an aeronautic display; while “Non-Stop,” a rather incessant talker at times, was unusually silent—
this may have been due to his “Aberdonian” respect for his slack-fitting false teeth.
On arriving in Settle, a short halt was made to hold an impromptu roll-call, and a few were to be seen removing hail-stones from their ears for that purpose. As none of the party were missing, we continued towards Buckhow Brow, the ascent of which was made on foot, but nearing the summit, the wind became so terrific as to almost necessitate further procedure to he made on “all fours.”
A few more miles and we reached the cross roads at Cross Streets, where we turned off on the winding road to Austwick,
Here "Non-Stop" suddenly found himself possessed with a dynamic spasm of energy, so we sent him on in advance to give timely warning of our tea-drinking abilities. After a hundred yards sprint, we witnessed his rapid. disappearance round a bend in the roadway. Had the road been a straight one we might have observed the rapidly-diminishing distance between ourselves and our courier as we pattered along slowly behind. Therefore our surprise on overtaking him round the first gable end in ethereal blue.
Lunch over and digested, it was decided not to make the crossing of Sulber Nick, but to visit Helwith Bridge (spelt with one “l” for purposes of distinction). After getting within sight of the bridge from a distance of about four hundred yards, our decision was altered by another, which led us over the old road to Stainforth Force.
It was only by chance of fate that we arrived at Stainforth Force. Had any one of the other random suggestions that were offered at the parting of the ways been fulfilled, there might have been small rewards offered by now for our whereabouts, dead or alive- but not in the Wild West sense.
The Force mentioned gave a watcher a play of its tendency to increase the velocity of the river Ribble, and we had to shout at each other to make known our observations concerning the beauty of the falls.
I took great care to keep at a considerable distance from the edge of the rockery, where one might easily be precipitated into the churning depths, Some of our members are not to be trusted —remember last week at "G. G."
Most cyclists soon “tyre" of one particular piece of scenery, and after about five minutes by the river side. T was dragged away along another old road, terminating at Settle.
It was almost four o'clock in Settle, and by half-past four we were all safe in clink, or is it clint? - that little bungalow where teas are provided, which we reached after a seven-miles ride with the wind towards Gisburn.
After tea we came out of Clint into a night made beautiful by the clear moonlight, and in preference to returning home by Cold Weather Hill, we chose Tubber Hill as an alternative.
A little later, after arriving at Barrowford, two of the party might have been seen consuming ice cream in a manner that left passers by shivering home to their beds.
The skies were weeping copiously as I glanced out of my bedroom window at the unearthlv hour of 7 o’clock on Sunday morning last. A gusty wind rattled the windows, and I thought what a good idea it would be to stay in bed a bit longer and go on the short run instead of the long one. Better still, why not stay in bed till dinner-time in the approved Sunday morning manner, instead of tearing about the countryside in the rain—more fools we . . . The unusual exertion of thinking must have sent me to sleep again, for my next awakening was at 8 o’clock, and—believe me or believe me not—a patch of blue sky showed in the heavens! Wonders never cease! Could I catch the long run ? I galloped downstairs, and by 9-15 I was jolting over the uneven setts that seem inevitable in industrial Lancashire to our meeting-place ai Colne.
I arrived at Langroyd 40 minutes late, but found that my club mates had not yet departed; apparently I was not the only one who had suddenly decided that the long run was feasible; though, of course, those who were punctual did not forget to boast about it. We set off immediately, and, after a minor adventure in the form of n flooded road, we arrived safely at Skipton, where the roll was called to make sure that no one had been drowned There was a panic when it was discovered that our diminutive friend "Lezley" was missing, until someone recollected seeing him paddling safely across the flooded area using his outsize sou’wester as a canoe. The missing one eventually turned up, and we rode on into Upper Wharfedale. The Wharfe was in flood and Kilnsey Crag spouted a number of sunlit cascades from its fissures—a sure sign that our afternoon’s passage over 'Darnbrook Fell would be a distinctly damp one. The crag passed, we forsook Wharfedale and entered Littondale, a charming dale that: does not receive a quarter of the attention that it deserves, for the simple reason that its roads are not first-class roads-—-thank heaven! Not that I object to first-class roads, but I do object to the high-speed traffic which they foster. A few miles up this dale and we were in Arncliffe, where we had lunch. Arncliffe is a picturesque village composed of a large green fringed by trees and a few houses. The church is tucked away down by the river, and still possesses the ancient reed with which the congregation of Arncliffe was wont to take its note before the advent of: the organ. "Derailleur" wanted to give us a demonstration of how it should be done, but fortunately the glass case was locked and we breathed sighs of relief.
A Queer Road.
There are two roads out of Arncliffe, one a fairly decent specimen that leads to Halton Gill; the other is one of those that the C.T.C, apparently loves—rideable sometimes, but not so often! A road of more or less hard mud studded with egg-like pebbles, with the points uppermost, of course. Up this so-called road we tramped, pushing our bicycles by hand instead of foot, pausing now and again to rest and glance back at Arncliffe, that grew smaller and smaller until it resembled a toy village set in a miniature valley in the bulky hills. A shoulder of a hill then hid it from our
view, and the top of the moor was soon in sight. Away upon our left the picturesquely rugged hills were split up by numerous milky-white ghylls swollen and spouting with the recent heavy rains as they tumbled down into the valley below. Contrary to our expectations, the road did not dwindle to a grass track. Since our last visit some person-—possibly with the best of motives—had made a road (?) by the simple expedient of removing the sods and leaving the subsoil bare. In years to come the rain will probably wash away the soil and leave bare the stones and boulders that usually answer for a road in the hill districts, (evolution, my dear Watson, evolution). Unfortunately for us the washing away process had scarcely begun, and we were left with the alternative of either tramping over the uneven moor or wallowing in the four inches of mud on the “road.” We did both, always trying to find the driest spots, but when we eventually arrived at Darnbrook and looked at our filthy shoes we instinctively looked for our runs secretary to wreak our vengeance upon him for bringing us over such stuff as this. Our runs secretary, however, blamed the deputy leader, and the deputy leader blamed the absent leader, so our vengeance went empty away. Such is life! Some motor cycle club or other very kindly amused us by having a trial through Darnbrook, and we watched their efforts to surmount the steep road (river-bed in wet weather) out of Darnbrook. Stones flew, motor cycles and riders bounced, skidded an< swerved, but, probably owing to some misunderstanding no one fell off. To the lady checker who was propping up the local bridge we voiced the opinion that we had been robbed of our rightful entertainment, but some-how she didn’t seem to see our point of view, so we gathered up our bicycles and proceeded sorrowfully to Malham.
We had tea at the Airedale Hotel, and after the tables had been cleared away we had "music.” It was, of course, distinctly "rowdimental"; anyone could be excused for thinking that the chief object in view was to drown the piano as completely as possible. We.stood it for a while and then went for a walk. The moon rode high in the heavens and silvered the slowly moving clouds. The air was perfectly still not a sound was heard, only a glimmer of light here and there showed that Malham was not a village of the dead. “Georjud" proposed a walk to Jennet's Foss; the suggestion was greeted with acclaim and put into immediate execution. As we tramped the deserted road to Gordale Scar, “Bookoss,” who has a deplorable” taste in music, dragged out his favourite songs and our feet kept time to “One man went to mow,” "Ten green bottles standing on a wall,” etc. Jennet’'s Foss was soon reached, and as we stood near the waterfall I discovered. why we do not stop in bed till dinner-time in the approved Sunday morning manner, for the stream was in flood and the water was a silvery white as it dashed over the limestone shelf into the pool below, the moonlight filtered through the trees which whispered, in the faint breeze that stole up the rocky ravine, the song of the falling water added to, rather than detracted from, the peacefulness of the scene: it was an enchanting moment, such a moment as will never be found in the streets of an industrial town. My debt to the bicycle is, indeed, an ever increasing one.
We had more "green bottles" as we tramped back to Malham; indeed, to see "Bookoss,” "Georjud" and our runs secretary linked arm in arm singing lustily about green bottles, one might have suspected that their acquaintance with bottles was more than casual. Fortunately, however, they desisted before reaching the village,
We retrieved our bicycles from the hotel and sped homewards over the moonlit roads, through Gargrave and Thornton to Colne, and-so into industrial Lancashire once more, but only for five days!
And there, my brothers, ends the tale of our adventure. If you should like to take part in our next you will be made cordially welcome.
Run for this week-end is as. follows:
Sunday: Gaping Ghyll; meet Higherford, 9-30; lunch, Clapham.