: Mist Over Pendle
10th September 2008
of my fatherís favourite books was Robert
Neillís classic story of witchcraft in Lancashire,
Mist Over Pendle.
read and enjoyed it many years ago and ever
since Pendle has had a distant attraction
for me. It is something about the way that
it stands proud and alone on the skyline
from so many directions.
months ago I pulled to book off the shelf,
intending to re-read it but it has lain
unopened by my bedside, along with several
others, it must be said!
when this weekís dilemma arose as to where
to go in the absence of Stan and given that
Tony has new boots (exchanged for his leaking
old ones) and didnít want to venture too
far for their first outing, Pendle came
back to my thoughts.
had talked about a BOOTboys outing to Pendle from time
to time and today seemed the perfect occasion. The
forecast, for once, was reasonably good so the travel
ought not be a burden.
favoured going down the A65 to Long Preston. Bryan
preferred the longer but faster M6 route. Tony,
as a biker would,
agreed with me that the A65 ought to be best so that
there had been a heavy shower before we set off, the
day did look promising with a great rarity to be seen-
large patches of blue sky. All was well until
we reached the turning at Long Preston. Road Closed.
Diversion 2 miles.
to worry, said Bryan, navigating, we can take the turning
at Hellifield. Only at Hellifield we were given
the same message. Road Closed. Diversion
perplexed us as the next serious junction was at Skipton,
some 9 miles further on. But we had no option.
A bonus, however, was that we would pass the Swiss
Cottage at Coniston Cold with its masses of hanging
baskets, a tradition maintained by the owner in memory
of his mother. Tony had informed us that this
year it was excelling itself. As I was driving
I was unable to pay too much attention but it struck
me that the cottage was less adorned than in some previous
years. However Tony predicted a riot of colour
to the side and, although I did not see it as we went
by- you can tell from the photo how hard I was concentrating
on the road- you can also tell from the photo that he
Cottage, Coniston Cold
riot of colour (and concentrating driver)
found a short cut at Gargrave and we travelled across
virgin territory, through lovely countryside and pretty
villages (and extensive police activity for speeding
motorcyclists) until, much later than planned, we reached
Barley where we parked.
was less witchmania around than I expected. Some
of the footpath signs had little witches on them and
the Pendle Inn had a witch pub sign but it was not overdone.
path to Pendle was extremely well marked, with, at times,
huge white painted instructions on the tarmac. Tony
observed that even Stevie Wonder could not get lost. Pendle
loomed over us on the skyline and, leading diagonally
right up the hill, we could clearly see the path. Or
the Steps as we were told it was called, for good and
obvious reason given the amount of stone that had been
approach to Pendle
we climbed the Steps we could see that not far to the
south it was raining and that the cloud was heading
the time we reached the stone wall at the top of the
shoulder, not only had the cloud caught us, a strong
wind had also sprung up. We decided to shelter
behind the wall and take an early lunch. Tony
was amazed- it was only five minutes past twelve and
he had not yet complained. I felt a cheat- food
was undeserved; we had only travelled 1.9 miles! Nevertheless
it was a good decision. After lunch, as we made the
short walk to the summit cairn, the hill lived up to
the novelís title.
Over Pendle Summit
photo at Pendle Summit
sooner had we taken our team photo than the mist began
to clear and we could see the way we had approached
the hill from Barley..
route from Barley
lillies blowing in the wind
headed over the plateau, past, remarkably, a pond with
some windswept water lilies in bloom, to the west side
of the hill where there was a good view of Downham,
of Clitheroe and, less clearly, the Bowland Fells.
took some time to emerge from the gloom, as did Whernside
and Pen-y-Ghent. In fact, I didnít see the last
two, I am reliant on Bryan and Tony for that information.
the west side is probably the finest mountain shelter
we have ever seen. Large and circular with seating,
it was a shame we had already taken lunch.
along is a giant cairn, dedicated to 100 years of Scouting.
the next and smaller cairn, we should have headed east
to find the top of Ogden Clough but the path was indistinct
and we drifted too far to the south. Although
we eventually corrected the error, it meant we reached
the clough further along than we should have done with
the consequence of a very (and I mean very) steep descent
to the beck.
Clough, steep descent on the left
crossed to join the proper path and followed it down
past the upper Ogden Reservoir to its lower companion
where we took second lunch.
lunch stop at the Lower Ogden Reservoir
here it was only a short stroll back to Barley and the
the journey home, we obviously chose the motorway route
but it proved to be a very roundabout way of getting
home, via the M55, M61 and finally the M6. And
yes, we could just see Pendle, briefly, as we crossed
the River Ribble at Preston.
proved to be a really interesting day out. Although
much of the summit plateau is featureless moorland with
boggy tussocks, the views on a clear day must be fantastic
as even in todayís intermittent gloom they were really
good. And the surrounding area is very attractive
countryside with lovely little villages shouting please
stop and explore. We didnít have time, sadly.
However we will return one day.
first, I will re-read the book!
10th September 2008
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB0830.
For the latest totals
of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let
me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
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- BB0801 :
Avoiding the Graupel;
- BB0802 :
Lyth in the Old Dogs;
Tuesday 22 January
Sunday 27 January
Tony's Memory Lane;
Wednesday 30th January
Thank You Mells
The Langdale Skyline
and a Fell Race!
An Outbreak of Common Sense;
Thursday 21st February
Askham Fell and
the Lowther Estate;
Thanks to the MWIS
Wednesday 19th March
High Street and Kidsty Pike
but no Fairy
Prelude to Spring
Wednesday 2nd April
Spring in Lakeland
Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
What's It All About, Tony?
The Hidden Mountain
The Bowland CROW
High Cup Nick:
The Gurt La'al Canyon
The Northern Tip
The Bannisdale Horseshoe
Black, White or Grey Combe?
Thunder on the 555
We'll Give It Five
Thursday 10th July
Shelters from the Storm
The Big Wind-Up
Third (and wettest) Alfie
A Visit to Mud Hall
- BB0828 :
The Tale of Randy Gill
: Mosedale Cottage Revisited
: Mist Over Pendle
: Luncheon Chez Monty
Thursday 2nd October
: Escape from the Madness
: Only on a Thursday
: Reflections on Thirlmere
: Reet Grand Randonnées
- 18th November
: Helm, direttissimo
: Cunswick Fell and back in the dark!
- BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda
23rd February - 1st March
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
has kindly produced a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
download the Excel file click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
If you want to contact us, click on