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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Lancashire Witches Walk (1)

Sunday 5th June 2016

Bowland Climber doesn't need much persuading to take on another walk - within a couple of days of me mentioning my discovery of this route on my last post, a two car strategy had been arranged for the first ten miles. Forty eight hours later we arrived back at my car late in the afternoon after a glorious walk on the hottest day of the year (27 degrees back at Arnside at 6:30 pm), and I don't know about BC but I was well tired and I think dehydrated - must take more liquid next time.

The story of the Pendle Witches is disturbing, and unlike other mythical tales of history such as Robin Hood, this is historically documented in detail. There is a classic novel (Mist Over Pendle - Robert Neill) that I have not read, but I understand it is well regarded which tells the story using the factual records available, and would make a more entertaining account for anybody interested: CLICK HERE

This walk purports to take the route followed by the witches in 1612 with their captors starting from Barrowford and ending at Lancaster Castle for their execution. Having said that, when one studies the route it doesn't seem all that logical, but I don't know the story in detail, I think deviations were made on the way to consult other magistrates or judges and maybe to pick up some of the others convicted. 

It is unlikely I would have considered coming for a walk in this part of the country, but it is so attractive, with many small villages hidden in the folds of quite dramatic hills, almost unaltered since the 16th century, apart from Tarmac on the roads, and all built with heartwarming yellow sandstone.

Mullion windows and fancy chimney stacks and sandstone roofing - all a bit reminiscent of the Cotswolds

The first tercet.
 Carol Ann Duffy (poet laureate) wrote a poem in the form of a "tercet" (
a poem
composed of three lines of poetry, forming a stanza
 or a complete poem. Wikipedia), and each verse is displayed on these markers periodically along the route - here are the first three verses:

Still in Barrowford

BC striding out

Pendle Hill ahead

Every year seems to be special for some particular flower, tree or shrub - this year it seems to be blackthorn

I let him go first...
 ...just in case there was an unmissable photo opportunity 

Families at play. A popular spot in Barley, but the teashop was closed!

Tercet no. 2 (I think, unless we missed one)

Here I bought a small witch for granddaughter Katie. I haven't told her the real story, just to say that hers is a good witch that will bring luck

Identification please Alan. although I'm not sure if it was still being used, it has gone into my"relics" collection

CLICK TO ENLARGE. Ignore broad pink route - that is just another of my pipe-dreams


AlanR said...

Its a David Brown 770 or 885 not in very good nick. The 770 had bolt on front lights and the 885 had lights in the front grill. Both are missing in the image, hence the guess.

AlanR said...

Nice route. You are certainly taking some good images.

Sir Hugh said...

Alan R - There appears to be a circular hole on the inside of the front cowling that may have accommodated a headlight?

AlanR said...

I did notice that cut out but both machines could have used the same nose piece. The bolt on lights being a cheaper option than those fitted into the bigger 885 grille. My guess if i had to, would be its an 885 because the rear tyres look wider than what would go on the 770. But thats only indicative not fact.

John J said...

Your walk reminded me very much of sections the LDWA Red Rose 100 route that I backpacked a couple of years ago. You had similarly good weather.

As well as 'Mist Over Pendle' I can recommend 'The Lancashire Witches' by Harrison Ainsworth, a novel very closely based on fact.