Jez and I headed out on Saturday for a bit of a bimble on Pendle hill rather than bother with bikes, neither of us had been up it for years so I was looking forward to it. The forecast originally was for a nice morning but clouding over/potential sleet etc in the afternoon.
The M65 was slushy in places and the roads up and down into Barley were interesting to say the least. Keeping an eye on the weather was high on the agenda, getting out of Barley could prove challenging otherwise.
I think there was only another couple of cars in the car park when we set off up the obvious track, aiming for the trig point. Glorious blue sky and crisp white snow:
As it turned out we were pretty sheltered, getting up on top there was a fierce and bitter wind though luckily our choice of route meant it was to our backs as we headed to the trig point.
I had completely forgotten exactly how much of a hill Pendle actually is and as a runner overtook us I made a note to come up here and run, hopefully soon. Snow was quite firm underfoot on the top. As the cloud seemed to be building we decided to start generally heading down via Ogden Clough, given the strength of the wind I didn't fancy being up there if precipitation started and visibility dropped.
As it was we chose to ignore the obvious cairns indicating the way and trundled about on the fell for a while in remarkably shallow snow, a quick check of the map and spotting someone else heading the way we were supposed to. A quick yomp across increasingly deeper snow, I think I may have fallen over once we get back on track and catch up with another walker who knew Pendle rather well and gave us lots of information on potential routes around the hill.
The wind was whipping loose snow crystals across the top of the fell, to who knows where. Dropping down into Ogden Clough we found out where it was going, I fell over several times stumbling about in thigh deep drifts, soft landing.
The really deep stuff didn't last long at all though and not that much went up my trouser leg (no gaiters), unlike the Pentlands were I spent most of the walk with a collection of snowballs up each trouser leg.
Dropping down to almost near the top reservoir we parted company from the other bloke and continued down. The sun had come back out again. Descending was fine and I hadn't slipped at all until approaching a gate. The snow had cleared to show the track below so I strode confidently down not noticing the sheet ice and ended up on my backside rather abruptly. My arse was fine but I landed hard on my right wrist too which hurt. I got away with it though, d'oh.
After that an uneventful trog back down to Barley and into the warm pub for a rather delicious bowl of soup, chips and a pint, the heat from the fire making my windburn tingle. The drive back was on significantly less slushy roads, stopping off at the rather chaotic Outdoor Action to pick up some gaiters. Only five miles or so but I'm sure we'll be up there again.