Pendle Hill for the Bone Idle.

trig point, pendle hill, lancashireTrig point at Pendle Hill.

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. Continue reading


Pendle Hill – Training for Vesuvius. Sort of.

I’m saving up the airmiles and planning a summer tour of Italy’s volcanoes.

I asked my son if he wanted to come but he said, ‘you must be joking. Volcanoes are dangerous. I might get hurt,’ then went back to shooting zombies on a screen splattered with virtual zombie blood.

Now as everybody knows, volcanoes are made out of mountains (and with a bit of luck, fire), so I’ve got to get fit. Gym. Healthy eating. A complete fitness regime. Or in my case, Scrapheap Challenge.

My friend Sam thinks it’s hilarious. ‘You’ll never get that arse up Vesuvius,’ he said. Then he made me go up Pendle Hill. It’s a bit of a climb – only 55m short of being a mountain. I was huffing and wheezing like a Shetland pony with a heart problem, while gangs of octagenarians in kagoules and bobble hats said ”scuse me,’ as they skipped past with picnic hampers, fold-up tables and small dogs on leads.

But we persevered. Sometimes he dragged me, sometimes he pushed from behind and finally we reached the top where a large wet cloud was waiting for us.

I wish I could say the view was spectacular but there was nothing up there. Just stones and sheep and  the ghostly shapes of picnic tables and dogs frollicking as the bobble-hatted people ate their sandwiches.

It was worth it though, even if it did take 3 days to recover. In the meantime I’m writing to the Italian government to ask if they’d be good enough to install special ski lifts on both Vesuvius and Etna with my name on them.