BB0830 : Mist Over Pendle

Wednesday 10th September 2008

One of my fatherís favourite books was Robert Neillís classic story of witchcraft in Lancashire, Mist Over Pendle.

I 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.  

Some 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!

However 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.


We 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.

I 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 was decided.

Although 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.

Not to worry, said Bryan, navigating, we can take the turning at Hellifield.  Only at Hellifield we were given the same message.  Road Closed.  Diversion 2 miles.

This 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 was right!


Swiss Cottage, Coniston Cold


The riot of colour (and concentrating driver)

Bryan 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.


Nearing Pendle



There 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.

The 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 laid.

The approach to Pendle

As we climbed the Steps we could see that not far to the south it was raining and that the cloud was heading our way.  


The Steps


Rain approaching

By 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. 


Mist Over Pendle Summit


Team photo at Pendle Summit

No 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..


The route from Barley


Water lillies blowing in the wind

We 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.




Clitheroe and Bowland

Ingleborough 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.

On 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.  


The circular shelter


The Scouting Cairn

Further along is a giant cairn, dedicated to 100 years of Scouting.  

At 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.

Ogden Clough, steep descent on the left


The Ogden Reservoirs


Upper Ogden Reservoir

We crossed to join the proper path and followed it down past the upper Ogden Reservoir to its lower companion where we took second lunch.  

Second lunch stop at the Lower Ogden Reservoir

From here it was only a short stroll back to Barley and the car park.

For 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.

Pendle 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.  

But first, I will re-read the book!

Don, 10th September 2008




8.4 miles

Height climbed:

1,362 feet




If 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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2008 Outings

  • BB0801 :
    Avoiding the Graupel;  
    Wednesday 16 January
  • BB0802 :
    Lyth in the Old Dogs;
    Tuesday 22 January
  • BB0803 :
    That's Lyth;
    Sunday 27 January
  • BB0804 :
    Tony's Memory Lane;
    Wednesday 30th January
  • BB0805 :
    Fell's Belles!
    Thank You Mells
    Wednesday 6th February  
  • BB0806 :
    The Langdale Skyline
    and a Fell Race!
    Wednesday 13th February
  • BB0807a:
    An Outbreak of Common Sense;
    Thursday 21st February
  • BB0807b:
    Askham Fell and
    the Lowther Estate;
    Thursday 13th March
  • BB0808
    Thanks to the MWIS
    Wednesday 19th March
  • BB0809 :  
    High Street and Kidsty Pike
    but no Fairy
    Friday 28th March
  • BB0810 :  
    Prelude to Spring
    Wednesday 2nd April
  • BB0811 :  
    Spring in Lakeland
    Sunday 6th April
  • BB0812 :  
    Wet, Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
    Thursday 10th April
  • BB0813 :  
    What's It All About, Tony?
    Thursday 17th April
  • BB0814 :  
    The Hidden Mountain
    Tuesday 22nd April
  • BB0815 :  
    The Bowland CROW
    Thursday 1st May
  • BB0816 :  
    High Cup Nick:
    The Gurt La'al Canyon
    Wednesday 7th May
  • BB0817 :  
    Travelling Light
    Wednesday 14th May
  • BB0818 :  
    Pensionersí Day Out
    Thursday 22nd May
  • BB0819 :  
    The Northern Tip
    Thursday 29th May
  • BB0820 :  
    The Bannisdale Horseshoe
    Wednesday 11th June
  • BB0821 :  
    Black, White or Grey Combe?
    Thursday 19th June
  • BB0822
    Thunder on the 555
    Thursday 3rd July
  • BB0823
    We'll Give It Five
    Thursday 10th July
  • BB0824 :
    Shelters from the Storm
    Thursday 17th July
  • BB0825 :
    The Big Wind-Up
    Wednesday 23rd July
  • BB0826 :
    Tonyís Third (and wettest) Alfie
    Wedmesday 30th July
  • BB0827 :
    A Visit to Mud Hall
    Tuesday 19th August
  • BB0828 :
    The Tale of Randy Gill
    Tuesday 27th August
  • BB0829 : Mosedale Cottage Revisited
    Wednesday 3rd September
  • BB0830 : Mist Over Pendle
    Wednesday 10th September
  • BB0831 : Luncheon Chez Monty
    Thursday 2nd October
  • BB0832 : Escape from the Madness
    Thursday 9th October
  • BB0833 : Only on a Thursday
    Thursday 16th October
  • BB0834 : YIFT
    Wednesday 29th October
  • BB0835 : Reflections on Thirlmere
    Thursday 6th November
  • BB0836 : Reet Grand Randonnées
    15th - 18th November


 The Comback Trail

  • CBT01 : Helm, direttissimo
    Monday 22nd September
  • CBT02 : Cunswick Fell and back in the dark!
    Monday 29th September


  • BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda  
    23rd February - 1st March


Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large picture.



Bryan has kindly produced a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys.  

To download the Excel file click on Wainwrights.  

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!


BOOT boys

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!

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