After a week or two of severe weather warnings, we weren’t the only ones wondering what Saturday 7 July would bring; in the last couple of days before the walk we fielded quite a few e-mails and calls asking whether the event would run.
A handful of us went to Barley Village hall on the Friday night to set up the bits and bobs we’d need then retired to sleep on the floor there for reveille at 0500. It was a pleasant surprise to look out and see blue skies and a sliver of the moon setting towards Pendle Hill. The Team rolled into action according to Woodie’s well made plans, and as the first eager contestants started loitering outside the hall, registration opened in time, and after a quick briefing, 61 intrepid walkers and runners set off on a 47 mile odyssey starting with a brisk circuit over the top of Pendle Hill itself.
The weather stayed fair as we got ready for the halfway walkers. Just so we don’t get prosecuted or sued for misrepresentation, we do need to confess that the “half Pendle Way” is actually closer to two thirds of its length, but we felt a nice finish at Wycoller would make up for this; walkers were given the option of walking over Pendle Hill to start with, but out of the 45 entrants, only three had the bottle to go the long half way. And here are two of them:
Doug is 80, but we can’t reveal the age of his daughter Louise. Doug came all the way from Nottingham to make sure Louise got up the steep bits and didn’t get lost (or so he said), but also having been a visitor to the area for over 20 years, it’s the first time he’s been to the top of Pendle Hill. Luckily he was rewarded with a fine view!
These gallant chaps are doing a challenge a month all year to raise money for charities including the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Brain and Spine Foundation. Matt Clawson, one of these fine gentlemen, says you can see plenty of photos and blogs if you check the links in the comments box at the bottom. Despite one achey knee treated with some Magic Gel they were in good shape and kept it all together; sadly they didn’t quite make the finish but there’s always next time. Well done chaps!
As the morning wore on, the sun came out and stayed out. The marshalled checkpoints were busy giving out water and more water as the hot and bothered front runners passed through. The mere mortals in their wake soldiered along, as waterproofs and fleeces came off, and sunglasses and sunhats went on. We made sure everyone drank as much water as they wanted as we thought dehydration and overheating could actually be a real issue. Despite the hot weather, most entrants were wet up to their knees as the heavy rain had flooded many parts of the route, and there were mud and puddles that just could not be jumped or walked around.
In the late afternoon, the weather decided to have a change; we saw a thunderstorm blowing in towards checkpoint 5 at Black Lane Ends; we were surprised how many walkers can actually shelter under a 6′x4′ awning as the rain and lightning came down with a vengeance. We suddenly thought that a 20′ radio aerial and a thunderstorm directly overhead may spoil our day so we sent the new trainee Brad out into the monsoon to bring it down for us. Good lad! After the storm had passed, the cumulative toll of the weather and the wet ground started kicking in as we started to get a few retirees. I am sure it was nothing to do with the fact we were next to a pub. The storm had dampened more than spirits but the Team at checkpoint warmed everyone up with cups of coffee as our spare jackets and coats were dragged out to make sure no one got a chill. It just goes to show that even in July it’s a good idea to make sure your waterproof is waterproof and to have a dry fleece in your rucksack in a waterproof bag.
No matter how far anyone got it was a sterling effort – the ground was awful in places, and the extremes of weather made it even harder. We think you’re all awesome! As our borrowed minbuses started to roll and ferry people back to Barley, RPMRT served walkers with what passes for haute cuisine in the Team - pie and peas, red cabbage and plenty of cake for pudding! It’s posh because we served it to you in a dish instead of in your hand.
As the daylight faded, our hardy heroes marched out their last few miles to their respective destinations. Only two hardy souls managed the long halfway – Louise who we saw above, and a chap I only know as Phil. Splendid effort! The full way walkers at the back of the field saw the light fading as they finally touched down into the Ogden valley at dusk, and headed towards the smell of pie and peas. The back markers came in by torchlight – another reminder that even in the summer, it’s a good idea to carry a torch of some sort.
As is proper this is the time to thank every single person involved in this event. Whether you walked it, baked for it, lent us a minibus or a village hall or an aisled barn, or simply just ran a bath and a whisky for a very very tired entrant, you’ve done something to support the Team. Thankyou to every single one of you.
If you want to see a few more pics, click here: PWIAD
Finally – feedback. Yes we know there were some issues with the guide notes and also the distance between CPs 4 and 5. We do value what you have to say, so if you want to help us please pop a comment below and let us improve our events. It’s the least we can do considering the efforts you lot put in to walk for us.