Ha what an ominous title!
Darren and I had been planning on doing a Pendle hill walk for a number of months. This Sunday served as our chance to finally bag this most noble of all hills, and we had Connor (Darren’s son) along with us for added banter.
Although I had initially planned one of my almighty excursions around the village of Barley taking in Stang Top Moor, Pendle itself, Spence Moor via Fell Wood and then back to Barley via Cross Lane, I soon came to realise that might be pushing things a bit. Moreover, on the day even a shorter route omitting Stang Top Moor felt like a step too far, this rotator cuff injury has really impacted upon my walking will power. So we stuck to the plan of simply going up the steps around the back of Pendle House then descending via ‘the slope’. Having had our progress cut in half by those God awful slippery fields between Brown House and Pendle House we elected to return to Barley via Barley Road on the return route, going up was one thing, coming back down via the muddy equivalent of a skating rink was just not our bag. We reached Pendle House and began the ascent of the steps.
And how I had missed walking! My fitness was most definitely on vacation as I struggled with a new found zeal! Of course this was all fine for Darren – he’d been on ‘Park Run’ the day before and was fighting fit. Likewise with Connor, he coped admirably with the steps – each day he walks miles as part of his paper route. The steps were bringing an old sensation of burning back to the soles of my feet and to my poor thighs.
However, in spite of two unscheduled breaks, brought about by the previously-mentioned thighs and soles, we did make good progress and within an hour and ten minutes were rounding the corner adjacent to the Downham wall at the apex of the stepped path. The going underfoot now got a lot moister but the incline backs off infinitely here, thank goodness. We made our squelchy way across Pendle Moor to Big End (Pendle’s less illustriously named summit) and once there posed for the obligatory summit photo – I looked like a dwarf. The wind was howling, apparently this was the precursor to storm “Ewan” so I decided we should descend as soon as possible, the guys agreed.
The last time that I dropped down off Big End towards Boar Clough the terrain was nasty, slippery, sticky and altogether not nice to walk upon. Today, well I think there must have been some path repairs of late as we arrived at the top of the slope without any of us falling over or even turning an ankle. The drop back down was fairly uneventful…apart from the one time that I fell flat on my backside as both feet simultaneously slipped from underneath me – damned wet grass, I hate it! Within ten to fifteen minutes we were back at Pendle House where we took the left hand turn along the track which would lead us to Barley Road, no way was I doing those two damn slippery fields again today.
Thankfully the road route to Barley was as devoid of incidents as I would have liked and what was heart-warming in the extreme was the looks of awe etched on Darren and Connor’s faces every time that they looked back at the gentle giant whom had just played host to us. Pendle’s like that, the further away you get from it then the more impressive it appears.
All told we did around five and a quarter miles and roughly 1,200 feet of ascent/descent. Not bad for a cold Sunday morning!
Song of the walk (when we weren’t talking): Clean Bandit – featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie- Rockabye