Pendle Hill in East Lancashire is a great big sheep-strewn lump of a thing. If it were 53m higher it would be a mountain but it’s not so it has to be content with being everybody’s favourite whale-shaped hill for the rest of its life.
Any local can tell you about the Pendle Witch trials of the early 1600s. Twenty people, mostly women, were hauled off to Lancaster and tried for witchcraft. Four were acquitted and the rest were hanged.
It’s rumoured that witchcraft is still practiced in the area. Whether that’s true or not, Pendle Hill is very atmospheric. It can be bathed in mellow sunlight, covered in dazzling snow, veiled by mist or darkened by glowering shadows.
Whatever the weather’s playing at though, it’s a bugger to climb.
Pendle Hill walkers are mostly super fit with a dog bounding alongside them. The Super Fit manage to skip up the path and still have enough puff left to say irritating things like, ‘Afternoon! Lovely isn’t it? Keep going lass, not far now.’
Then there’s the Bone Idle, who occasionally wake up in the morning and for no particular reason say, ‘Come on everybody, let’s climb Pendle Hill.’ After ten minutes of enthusiastic stomping the upward trail through the mud and stones, their enthusiasm gives way to a sulky silence or a barrage of complaints.
I am one such person. I’ve written about my dismally over-ambitious Pendle Hill climbing before. You can read about it here.
On this particular hike, East Lancashire was blessed with dazzling winter sunshine. Here’s how it all looked in all its muddy glory:
Read more about the Pendle Witch trials here.