Counting down to the 29th

…of January that is. Ever since December – yeah I know that wasn’t very long ago but humour me please, I have been counting down to the next time that I can get the chance to do Pendle Hill – the long way again. I had set a date of (you’ve guessed it) the 29th of January – a Saturday no less. Well having just looked at the date I am thrilled to see that it’s not that far away at all. The plan is to go the same way as we did on Halloween – with the exception being that this time I am going to actually climb up the hill instead of having the constitution of a jellyfish and backing out at the last minute.

Going originally straight up Cross Lane I first call in at  Witches Galore perhaps to get one of their fantastic flapjacks to snack on at the summit! Then I’ll head off down and up Spenbrook Road until I get to Little Tynedale. Next it’s a right hand turn to follow the track down to the little row of buildings that features Tynedale Farm and Tynedale Cottage. Having made my way along the rather wet and muddy path I eventually hit harder substance parallel to Bull Hole Farm before heading up to meet Well Head Road where I shall turn left. After an hundred yards or so it’s well of the beaten track as I’ll join the Pendle Way and head up an incredibly steep little hill (let’s hope that it’s free of animal carcasses this time!) towards Fell Wood.

If I have to divide the walk into sections (and believe me – I do) then this next part is probably section 3. Making my way carefully through Fell Wood as it does get rather slippery in there I then head north west where ultimately lies a series of tiny steps leading down and over Lower Ogden reservoir. Once on the opposite bank (as it were) I’ll turn 90 degrees left heading towards delightfully named places such as Fox Holes and Cat Holes before turning right and beginning the assault on the southern aspect of the hill. This path is not as sturdily built as the one that leads up the eastern face from Barley – as such the increment should prove to be more natural as opposed to the lunges needed to ascend the afore mentioned eastern approach!

After much climbing I should see the summit and the merging of the other paths before not much time has passed whereby it will be time to take a break by the ordnance survey column (time for that flapjack). The final stage (has anyone been keeping count?) will see me heading north towards the boundary wall for Downham where I’ll turn right once more and head down the dreaded steps down the eastern side of the hill. With a bit of luck there will be no twisting of ankles and the descent progress should be about half the time that it usually takes me to ascend this cobbled path of wood and stone. At the bottom of the ‘staircase’ I go through the first of what will be many ‘kissing gates’, turn right once more and traverse a field full of black sheep and white sheep.

That was the first field of what I have come to refer to as the four field challenge – when the route is reversed these four fields can be unbelievably energy sapping, these are not the soft, gentle slopes of the Yorkshire Dales, these fields are hard and unrelenting but the environment itself offers up fantastic views of the surrounding countryside – including a distant peak at Darwen Hill’s Jubilee Tower. I’ll keep on walking past  Ing Head Farm andIngs End, over not one but three footbridges and more kissing gates until finally reaching Barley Lane in Barley where I’ll turn right towards the village and the visitor centre café where a much needed coffee will be bought and savoured over.

I figure that this whole walk (weather permitting) should take no longer than four hours. I will report the exact figures at a later date. One thing is for sure – I am really looking forward to it!

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