Free Wheeling Down Pendle Hill

A Memory of Barley

I was 19 years old and loved cycling. My aim was to cycle from Blackpool, where I lived, to Barley Youth Hostel on Pendle Hill. Unfortunately, I calculated too little time to reach my destination and found myself at the bottom of Pendle Hill, Padiham, I think, at 5.pm. in December. It was pitch black and the battery on my front light was low. I was scared because the hill was steep and I had to push my bike. One image is ingrained in my memory. Down below, to my far left there were the orange neon streets lights of a major town and to my near left, silhouetted against this backdrop of the town, was a gnarled old tree. Close to the tree was a stream and in my frightened state I could not at first identify the sound of the gushing water. On and on I pushed my bike until I reached the YHA, where I had to knock long and hard for someone to answer the door. No doubt they thought that no one in their right mind would be arriving at the time I did.

I have since read Lancashire Witches by Harrison Ainsworth, and I doubt whether I would have completed the journey if I had read it before this night.

The purpose of my journey was to deliver some Christmas presents to friends who lived in Burnley.

The next morning was sheer bliss. On the trees there was hoar frost. I thought I was in fairyland, as I free wheeled down Pendle Hill. The air was crisp, it was silent and the trees and fields were all covered in a sparkling white shroud of white.

A memory shared by bondstreet31 , on Jun 24th, 2007.

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