#22 Pendle Hill

21 03 2010
19th March 2010
Solo
5.9 miles
Explorer OL41 (Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale)
Sunny/partial cloud, stiff breeze from the West

The first walk from the book. I was intending to go for a 10 mile walk over Ruabon Moor with Paul and Frank the following Monday, so I decided to blow away the cobwebs by doing one of the ‘challenging’ walks in the book.

Parked up in Barlow village car park (payment via honesty box) at about 10:30am, loads of available spaces but would imagine it gets very busy later on in the year.

The walk started by passing through the village and then cutting through alongside a brook towards the hill. It’s obvious what I’m aiming for, there is a clearly cut path cut sharply into the side of the hill, before the hill starts in earnest the farmland rises gently, but the wind from the my left (west) is cold and irritating, it is now that I realise I have left my woolly hat at home, so I pull my buff up over my ears. The final field before the hill really starts is significantly steeper than the preceeding land – so I’m a bit out of breath by the time I get to the bottom of the hill, I decide not to rest at the base but see how far I can get before I’m forced to stop.

The path is made of irregular stone steps, the go straight up the hill for about 30 yards and then angle diagonally right across the north-east face of the hill. I have to stop and have a sit down at the angle. I get my water bottle out and decide I’ll almost certainly have to stop again before the top, but I won’t sit down. It is ridiculously hard going, I’m almost immediately tired, but I see a man resting at a a kink in the path what looks like halfway up, I decide I’ll not stop until then. I conciously slow my pace and eventually I make it to the point I was aiming for, the man in long gone, and I sit down. The hill is now blocking the wind so it’s quite warm, I peel off a couple of layers. A sprightly young couple gallop past me, barely breaking a sweat. Two military helicopters fly over head, they are about 200 yards apart, flying due west, and they look to have some sort of radar/photography equipment underneath the nose. I start climbing again but I have to keep stopping, I do that thing where you pretend that you’re savouring the view, but really you’re just taking a breather. Another young guy passes me, and whilst part of me resents the ease at which he ascends – the other part thinks that at least if I collapse someone will find me pretty quickly! It takes another 6 or 7 ‘rests’ but eventually the path evens out, the helicopters fly over again, they are flying the same westerly course but are both about 400 yards further north, they must be mapping something?

I’ve reached the moor on top of the hill, and the trig point comes into view over my left shoulder, about 300 yards away. As I turn towards it the wind hits me, it’s cold and fairly strong, by the time I reach the trig-point it’s almost blowing me off my feet so I immediately begin to descend down the shallower South west side of the hill. At this point I look at the book and I can pretty much see the rest of the walk mapped out below me.

The descending path is peaty and wouldn’t be pleasent if there had been much rain recently, but in these conditions was fine. I eat my lunch as I descend to Upper Ogden Reservoir, then follow the access road towards Lower Ogden reservoir but I cross the stream just before it, ascending through coniforous woodland to the tope of a much smaller hill to the south.

Here the book tells me to ‘aim for the church tower’ of Newchurch in Pendle as I walk across a pathless field. I couldn’t see the church for ages and by the time I worked out where it was I was in the wrong part of the field, but I managed to jump over a gate and reached the intended road anyway

The rest of the walk is a comfortable warm-down. It concludes by walking alongside Pendle Water and past some lovely cottages.

This is a challenging walk because of the ascent, but the rest of the walk is quite gentle.

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14 03 2011
#12 Sabden & Spence Moor « New Lancs Walker

[…] up to the top of the spur to see just how close to Pendle Hill and Upper Ogden Reservoir I am (see Walk #22 Pendle Hill 19/03/11, the very first walk I […]

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