This is the account from the Swaledale Outdoor Club's cycling trip to Slaidburn YH during Easter 2000 written up by myself for the club's newsletter. there was originally a number of photos, but these were digital and accidently deleted years ago... Anyway to the story
I loaded up the bike, and headed off to meet up with Peter and Roland at Marske bridge. After underestimating the wind and the terrain, I arrived 15 minutes late, to find that Peter had just arrived as well, and Roland was just behind.
After persuading Roland that cycling to Slaidburn would not be much further than going home and getting the car we headed off across to Downholme and then Redmire. After being battered by the wind across the tops, we blasted down into Redmire hoping for some respite. unfortunately it was not to be found, and we continued to push the wind through Carperby, and Askrigg, to Hawes. Roland enlightened us to the intricacies of time theory as we cycled along.
After we refuelled at Hawes, we climbed up to Ribblehead, still into a crushing headwind. Once at the summit we quickly donned waterproofs as we could see an approaching shower hiding behind Ingleborough, waiting to pounce. Climate Control had looked at their Ladybird book of weather and decided to chuck everything at us including rain, hail, and lightening.
We dropped down Ribblesdale to Settle in very mixed weather, and found a cafe to dry out a little and refuel. After several cups of tea, and some gorgeous chocolate and orange cake we headed out though lanes towards Tosside where Liz and Helen passed us in the car, offering to carry our bags for the last few miles. Being the hard threesome that we are, we naturally declined. We finally pulled into the hostel about 40 minutes later where there was a much earned pot of tea waiting.
There were some very unenthusiastic cyclists on saturday morning, and as everybody was tired from the ride across we decided on a fairly shortish ride, and so we headed along the dale to Newton, and then Dunsop Bridge where the group all said Ahhh! at the ducks and ducklings. We then headed across to Chipping where we stopped for tea and some "bungo" soup. According to the menu, it's called "bungo" as everything is bunged into it! We had a slight detour so John could check out a camping barn nearby.
We then had a very pleasant ride though the lanes towards Clitheroe in spring sunshine, with frequent pauses to allow people to remove winter clothing. Liz left us just outside Clitheroe to head back to the hostel early.
In Clitheroe, we left Roland guarding the bikes, whilst we went and explored the castle, and enjoyed the views across to Pendle hill.
On the walk back to the bikes we bought ice creams from an seller who seemed to more interested in what we were up to, rather than sell us 99s. The rain started to fall as we left Clitheroe, and as we drew closer to home, the rain became harder, and once on the final climb the hail and lightening started again.
After taking shelter in an old barn whilst we regrouped we sprinted the last couple of miles to Slaidburn and the cafe.
The evening was completed by Liz and Helen serving up a fantastic meal which they had prepared. Many thanks for their hard work, it was much appreciated and enjoyed by everybody. Once food had been scoffed and the washing up done, about half the party wandered over to the pub. a bout of "people watching" followed, where it was observed that about 90% of the people in the pub had what was soon christened the "slaidburn nose". A case for Mulder and Scully perhaps? Or was it just a local pub for local people?
We were not woken by the usual birdsong, but by Peter singing happy birthday to himself! We would have preferred birdsong!
Sunday started off foggy, but the sun soon burnt through, and it was decided to head off to Dunsop Bridge and the Trough of Bowland. Ray and Lil joined us after walking on Saturday. At Dunsop Bridge we pleasantly wasted a few minutes watching the ducks being fed and occasionally fighting between themselves! We soon headed off up the climb of the trough in brilliant sunshine, and as the climb dragged on, the party spread out.
Myself and Peter waited as everybody regrouped at the top. A small amount of the usual horseplay saw John getting dragged off Valerie's back and almost dumped into a puddle! We tore off down the descent, and spread out again on the following climb, regrouping at the summit, about a mile before Lowbrow Farm Tearooms, which were excellent and are heartily recommended to anybody in the area. Once fed and watered, we continued to descend, and then turned to head along the valley towards Caton, and then Wray. At Wray, we spent a while walking around the village admiring all the scarecrows which were on display as part of the annual village scarecrow festival.
The best exhibit was the one which caused Liz to jump halfway across the road when it greeted her with "Hello Gorgeous!" when she walked past. We were warned when setting off to beware off the giant catapillar, but of course it was a dragon chasing St George up and down the main street. From Wray, it was a pleasant ride back over Catlow Fell to Slaidburn, Peter earning his "superhero" badge for ploughing on ahead to keep the shop open.
Once back at the Hostel, I quietly managed to get everybody to sign a card, and then we presented Peter with the card, a small present, and a birthday cake complete with candles.
Once again Liz and Helen rustled up an excellent meal from the remains of the previous night and a few extras.
Monday dawned sunny which lifted everyone, until it started clouding over. Once everybody except myself and Valerie wimped out and placed their bags in Helen's car we departed. The Dawes-Ballard express swung into action at the top of the first climb, and we tore back home, pausing for refuelling at Ribblehead, and Leyburn. Myself and Peter split at richmond to go our separate ways.
Many thanks to everybody for their great company during the weekend, and to Peter for the wonderful ride back on the Monday. Special thanks to Helen and Liz for cooking 2 wonderful evening meals, and to Liz for organising the Hostel booking. Finally happy birthday greetings were given during the weekend to Peter, Helen, and Roland.