Pendle is quite famous in the North West, if you were brought up in Teesside you probably have never heard of it, except I've been ratting on about climbing the hill for about 8 months now.
I actually can't recall any local witch stories from the North East except for the proverbial old spinster that lived behind the hedge in the last house in the street and put scissors through footballs. Actually my pal Jason did have one of those who did that..honest!
Pendle is pretty much on the edge of nowhere outside Burnley, and as far as I can tell (Wikipedia and Google) it looks pretty much like it never had any witches either. It appears Burnley hasn't changed much in all these years it was known then as an area "fabled for its theft, violence and sexual laxity'. Could easily have been Teesside.
I think the archetypal 'you're a witch' sketch was enacted here in the 17th century when some local bloke couldn't get off with a lass who may have been more interested in one of her good looking female pals rather than a turnip nosed Herbert. (yep 16th Century name). The consequences were 10 women hanged (2% of all exterminated witches), a local trade based on dead people and a bus route named after them.
Well with it being spooky weekend where better to head.
Having arrived early at the car park to meet Liz and Andy (Tim used a 'doing the bathroom' excuse this week, honestly the dog will be eating his homework next time). We were accosted by people asking if we were 'with the Cheshire Walkers'. Well, having knowledge of this areas' dodgy history I wasn't admitting anything and living in Cheshire now, I knew I could be in real bother.
'The Cheshire Walkers? never heard of them'
Pendle Hill is a big rambling top of a hill with about 4 routes up and it later turned out that we've definitely chosen the best and picturesque (or pictureskew as its sometimes known) route to the top.
We'd covered the whole trainspotting, I spy books and birdwatching thing when a hawk appeared about 5 yards away hovering at what looked like 4 ft above the ground. It was actually a pretty steep hill/cliffside, but it was a spectacular site to watch as it balanced on the wind with imperceptible movement. Nice pic too I thought.
Rambling top of hill or not, it still had a Trig Post, they really all should just so Craig can avoid the top. We then set off on a detour (planned) ok I forgot to plot it on the GPS but it's on the map. Andy at this point declared it may be a bit tricky to find this ancient monument on open moorland. 20 minutes later and we are stood by said 'ancient monument'. I have to say I did have my doubts and the pictures say more than I could.....doh!
And the fantastic proof
Talking about doubts, as you may be aware I'm not that big on the whole God squad organised religion stuff, well Pendle Hill is famous for one almighty fairytale.
In June 1652, George Fox felt that God led him to walk up Pendle Hill. There he had a vision of many souls coming to Christ.
He then went off to Sedburgh to rant on about it and 10 minutes later The Quakers were formed. the only 3 things we know about Quakers are that they like god, are tight and eat porridge. Although that could be playing up minority stereotypes (bet it's close to the truth though).
We didn't see any God stuff, no witches and no ancient monuments but it was a jolly pleasant walk other than the 498 slippy steps down the other side of the hill. I did see a bloke who had stopped for his lunch snack and he was eating leaves from a plastic bag. Again I'm no world expert on nutrition but I would have thought plenty of water and a good dose of sugar would have helped more at this stage, maybe even a banana. Pillock!
And a final worrying development on this 'Big Picture' stuff, not only do you have to do the food, the exercise, the less booze stuff but........combination clothing too. Why is that everyone I go walking with knows loads off stuff I've never even thought about?
'ooohhhh cotton kills they say' was the opener to this. I've got about 500 cotton bands T shirts which I wear everytime I walk (not all of them at once) and I'd survived this terrorist of the wardrobe. Then came the fabric combining explanation, which I have to say made sense right up until the point where Andy said 'and I'm after a string vest'.
I should have realised it was heading downhill as Liz raised her eyes skywards.
And that was followed by tales of his pals who while cycling over the Alps had put underpants on their heads to keep their ears warm. I'm not sure I'm ready for all these Combo's but Shad if your reading this, make sure you clean your boxer shorts before we head for Snowdonia next week.
Finally congrats to the Obama chap, the best marketing campaign in history and a minor miracle to get the US to vote for a black socialist. Brilliant.
And finally in preparation for some top ten lists, this weeks obscure stuff off the top of your heads is obscure 80's indie bands. A band name and the best song would be good, I might even do a compilation album.
And really finally last weeks winner by a country mile was Anon with Peter Francisco, Well done me badge links to be posted later