Take a hike

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One of my favourite weekend pastimes is getting out on a good old walk with the promise of a pub lunch afterwards. I’ve done this more since having a dog which is stupid really, there’s no reason not to without a four legged friend in tow but for some reason it just gets you out and about that bit more.

My friend Claire came to visit from Australia last weekend. A few years ago this would have meant stocking up on wholesale quantities of wine and planning some sort of mischief. Now we’re reluctant grown ups, I decided to organise a slightly more wholesome activity which saw us tackle an old fave, Pendle Hill with trusty companion Bernard.

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Fun fact – Pendle Hill is so good they named it thrice. Originally called Pennul or Penhul, the name came from the Cumbrian pen, meaning hill, and Old English hyll, meaning erm – hill.

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Despite living about 20 minutes away I had never actually walked up Pendle Hill until I became a dog owner a couple of years ago. In fact in the past I was much more of an MTV The Hills kind of girl.

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Harrowing memories of running up and down Pendle twice during training for my first ultra last year (shudder) fortunately haven’t dampened my spirits so Friday morning saw us don our sweat-wicking finest for a scorching climb.

There are various ways to tackle Pendle’s dizzy(ish) heights – it stands at 557m which is by no means huge but a decent enough stomp to get stuck into without it being an all day job. We set out from the village of Barley which has a cheap car park (with toilets!) for walkers as well as cafés, pubs and ice cream shops for your post-walk refuel.

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Claire is training for a marathon so she’s fit as a fiddle and even she admitted climbing up via “the steps” (not sure if they are known as this or it’s just what I decided to call them) was a decent morning’s exercise, beats a sweaty step class anyway. Being four months pregnant meant I didn’t smash any Pendle PBs but luckily Claire was as gallant a partner in crime as ever allowing for plenty of stops to catch my breath (fun pregnancy perk) and rehydrate – luckily Bernard’s favourite auntie Chaz bought him one of those collapsible doggy travel cups for Chrimbo so we made sure there was plenty to go around for the most energetic member of the gang. Even with my breathlessness holding us back slightly the entire thing didn’t take us longer than 2.5 hours.

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At the top of the hill we took the obligatory snaps, shout out to the teenage boy whose nervous photography skillz produced this, leading us to resort to the selfie session above:

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Aftter wolfing down a Nakd bar each – yep, Bernard too because he loves to embrace the Kings and Greens ethos – and steering Bernard away from the multitude of picnics we headed back down the longer, less steep track back to Barley famously tackled in icier climes by a group of us over Christmas 2014. Why walk when you can slide down on your bum?

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For lunch we revisited the Barley Mow, scene of the festive post-slide pick-me-up, for salads and fries (the best combo) comparing our sunburn and enjoying a spot of people watching. Sadly they no longer do the sweet potato fries I was looking forward to, I guess Pendle is just not ready for this. sick. beta-carotene.

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If you don’t know much about Pendle it makes for interesting Googling as the starting point for the Quaker movement and the scene of 17th century witchcraft.

Are you a Pendle regular? Any other good local walk and pub combos we should check out?

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