Peculiar Pendle

Pendle is a hill which is just within reach of our patch, but one we have rarely walked other than on challenge walks.  Although Ron would have you believe he has climbed it more times than the rest of us have had hot dinners!


So when Fred and Helen, who live very close to the foot of it, decided to offer us a trip out up there, we were very keen.  So keen in fact, was Gill that she cycled over a day early and camped at Clitheroe, just to make sure she wasn't late for the start!


The forecast wasn't great for later in the day so we were quite pleased that the climb was at the very beginning - pleased that was until we tried to gear our not yet warmed up legs into climbing the thing.  It was a battle of mind over matter but eventually we caught our breath on the shoulder and shuffled over to the rather splendid shelter near the trig point. 


The views are splendid, including the three peaks of Yorkshire and the three milltowns of Lancashire - Burnley, Nelson and Colne, down in the valley below us.  There were a fair few mill town lads climbing the hill today, as a steady stream came up the direct route.  But apparently we were one day (or one night) too late for the witches who had been having a bit of a session up here the night before.  This of course brought tales from Ron of a trip many a year ago, when he came up here at 6am one day (why?) to find naked witches all over.  (Take more water with it Ron).  No wonder he has climbed it so many times.


Anyway, after a gentle meander down the hill, past the reservoir, through woodlands and over soft fields we found our way to the equally interesting lunch spot.  Helen was a regular visitor to 'The Clarion' a rather wonderful house on the hill where volunteers serve tea around a roaring fire on a Sunday.  For 55p a pint pot of freshely brewed real tea is yours.  None of your tea bags here. 


And with the rain threatening, what better place to enjoy your sarnies, and yes, the roaring fire was going well.


This Clarion house is the last remaining such house, and a hundred years ago there were scores of such properties dotted over the North West, Scotland and London.  They came about as part of the socialist movement.  Clarion is a religious reference to 'proclaim loudly' and they were proclaiming about socialist commonweath.  Clarions were purchased as an early sort of holiday club so that people could walk or cycle there from the mill towns, for a cuppa and a scone.  It was recreation at it's earliest and this particular Clarion was established by the Nelson Independent Labour Party Land Society.  Folks from Burnley and Nelson are still carrying on the tradition and handing it down generation to generation.  Indeed, not only was Helen there today, keeping the tradition going, but her mum popped in too!  Excellent.


I've since discovered there is a 36 k circular walk called the Clarion trail so maybe we can do that as a group walk sometime.


The rain had decided to join us after lunch so all wrapped up in waterproofs we continued our trail over to Barley and then over the moors to drop down into gentle meadows below Pendle for a rather soggy wander back to Downham.


Downham is another sleepy little village worth a visit.  And the post office has a great tea shop.  The tea is slightly more than 55 pence, but the victoria sponge with cream and strawberries is certainly worth getting wet for.


Thanks to Helen and Fred for a very interesting walk.  We will certainly be back for more exploration in your corner of Lancashire.