First and foremost, it has been a good walking year for me. That being said it had to be better than the last two years which it has to be said were quite abysmal as far as hill walking goes.
I got off to a slow start for a regular walker, by the end of January 2011 I had already done Pendle and Winter hills but this year Rivington Pike was my start-off walk in February. I remember the walk well as the weather was so lovely for essentially a late winter / early spring day. Noticeable was the amount of other walkers. Seasoned walkers will agree that after a particularly bad winter it’s sometimes hard to get motivated to go walking. By way of contrast after a crappy new year; keep/get fit resolutions can temporarily hold fast and the hills seem to be alive with the throng of enthusiastic walkers aiming to shed the odd stone or two. The latter seemed to be the case in February. I had just the one outing this month but was resolved to come out more often.
This was a somewhat infuriating month as every time that I wanted to go for a walk either the weather was rubbish or alternate plans had been made which involved me. Just the one outing survived the rescheduling the mammoth walk around Marshside, Banks and Churchtown Moss at 10.53 miles. Up until September this was the longest walk of the year – the rub being that this was also the easiest walk of the year with the weather being very tolerable and practically no ascent or descent. I do recall regarding the line of fishing rods in The Sluice as intriguing.
April was the ultimate in none-walking. The only walking that I did this month was on a treadmill at the gymnasium!
The month of May was glorious once more and I celebrated this with Three walks in one month!
- My first trip of the year to Pendle Hill for a practice ascent in preparation of August’s Pendle Witch Walk was simply delightful in glorious sunshine.
- Two days later saw me back at Rivington for the Winter Hill Wanderings walk that saw me discover the wonderful north western approach to Winter Hill…and then get caught in a very atmospheric shower. This was also my first excursion onto Noon Hill.
- On Sunday the 27th of May I met up with a few members of the Walking Forum for my first walk with them to Winter Hill via Walker Fold, this 6.5 miles walk in twenty plus degrees temperatures was without doubt one of the highlights of my year, but what will be the main one? Read on…
No walks other than on the treadmill!
The Beginning of July saw me back at Pendle hill with three Walking Forum friends as we ascended Pendle in the Mist. Never one to be taken lightly this was a new challenge to me as we went up in pea-soup that de-materialised on the way down and we were then bathed in sunshine as we traversed Stang Top and Aitken Wood. A lovely walk indeed.
I had planned on walking Scafell Pike but truly shocking weather forced me into aborting that walk in favour of Sue’s (from the walking forum) “Tockholes – Roddlesworth – Whithnell Moor – Wheelton – White Coppice – Great Hill 1250 feet (381m) – Hollinshead Hall”, 9.5 miles walk Again this started off in beautiful weather but by the time we had got three quarters of the way around the heavens opened. A fantastic walk in an area that I wouldn’t normally have frequented.
At last in early August I managed to get parked near enough to lovely Longridge Fell in order to ascend it. For this walk I had with me more associates from the walking forum. The weather was kind, the pint of shandy in the pub was much needed and the 8.5 miles seemed to just fly by. I must return to little Longridge more times as the views across to Bleasedale are just scrumptious.
Pendle Witch Walk. The weather could not have been better, in fact it was almost too hot I remember saying this to myself at the end of the thirteen and an half mile walk that had been over the course of ten hours – interrupted by the days’ fantastic events, me dressing up in cape, pointy hat and armed with a broomstick – and oh the queues to get through the stiles and gates near Ing Ends and Brown House during the second leg. All pailing into insignificance when all things considered – together we raised over £30k for Pendleside Hospice – on a more personal note for me I was delighted to share my hill with almost a thousand other walkers!
This month saw my third visit to Winter Hill this year with the fantastic Winter Hill Round…again. Never before had I spent so much time walking in such a relatively small area…and loved almost every minute of it…sliding down Noon Hill was an experience that I don’t aim to repeat!
In October I met with walking forum friends to do the four hill challenge I had setup for us: Winter Hill, Spitlers Edge, Redmonds Edge and Great Hill. A fantastic walk – once I had shaken all of the mud off my legs. The north eastern approach to Winter Hill is perhaps the most scenic and I will return shortly.
NovemberOnly treadmill walking this month.
DecemberJust one walk remains, on the 27th I aim to meet with fellow Pendle Witch Walk veterans in order to climb Pendle Hill one last time before the new year. And maybe this will be the time to descend via Ogden Clough and the famous slab path!
“What was the highlight?” I hear you ask, did you need to ask? The Pendle Witch Walk for so many reasons.
So that’s it for this year, not a lot of walking but a year when the walks themselves crossed the threshold from being sub-five-mile wanders to be completed in a couple of hours, to half and even full day excursions.
I’ve scarcely touched Southport where most of my 2010+2011 walking took place and no, this was not deliberate! I do still pine for the views of the Irish Sea off Coastal Road and I miss the stark nothingness of “The Moss”, but, they aren’t going anywhere…I’ll get to them next year – now that the world hasn’t ended on 21/12/2012. Thanks for reading folk(s?) and I’ll be back soon with more tales of the Fat Goat Walks!
Mark Wild 15:26 on 21/12/2012.