Pike – pointed but not fishy

Posted: September 14, 2012 in England, Photography, This & That

When walking around Todmorden and other towns nearby in West Yorkshire, it’s almost impossible to avoid seeing the Stoodley Pike. It’s like it’s everywhere – it’s almost like an all-seeing eye. It was time to take a closer look.

Our walk to Stoodley Pike started from the White House pub on Blackstone Edge and ended by the Hinchcliffe Arms pub in Cragg Vale. Both closed, mind! I’m sure I couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery if I tried!

Funny thing was that when I walked to Stoodley Pike I was sick as a pike. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration because I had the smallest, fastest and shortest cold in the history of everything. It’s just that ever since I moved up to the Arctic I’ve not had as much as a sniffle but as soon as I go somewhere with more people, I pick up whatever is going round. There’s something to be said about not being around people and having temperatures so cold that all bugs die. Still, being ‘sick as a pike’ didn’t even slow me down. That’s how hardcore I am!!

Stoodley Pike is a war memorial and a peace monument, in the shape of an obelisk. There’s been some debate about it being a Masonic symbol, too. I take no stand on what it is or isn’t. To me, it’s a pointy thing that I have seen a gazillion times from a distance, and for the first time I wanted to see it close up – and it seemed like a good walk, too.

Stoodley Pike stands on top of a 400m high hill and is about 37m high itself. It was built in 1856 but this is the second version after the first one was knocked down by lightning.

The beginning of the walk from the White House pub is very easy. There’s a very good path and it’s on level ground all the way. It’s like a Sunday stroll. After Warland reservoir the path continues through the moors, gets smaller, muddier and wetter. The landscape opens up to offer glorious views over Todmorden once you reach the edge of the cliff on Withens Gate.

Stoodley Pike is getting very close now. The weather was rather cold but even though it looked threatening, it didn’t rain all day. Had to keep the jacket zipped up all the way though.

I’ve only ever seen Stoodley Pike from a long distance away and because of that it always looks like a little needle. It felt strange to see it getting so high right in front of my eyes.

This is a popular place for walkers and fell runners. One runner overtook us on the very rocky hill coming up. It was a very quiet day when we were there (probably because it was cloudy). We only saw one dog walker who disappeared soon, and then the runner who very quickly ran off. We had the Pike and the magnificent view to ourselves.

Seeing Stoodley Pike close up makes it seem massive, although it’s not really that big – 37m high. But it’s standing on top of a hill, and on a clear day it can be seen as far as in Halifax. We didn’t know that it has a spiral staircase leading up to a balcony. There are no windows so the staircase is in pitch black darkness. I was not prepared to take the leap of faith and tackle the stairs in the darkness without a torch. We were, after all, on top of a hill and needed the legs to get down that hill as well. If ever I walk to Stoodley Pike again, I’ll bring a torch.

With Stoodley Pike bagged, we headed towards Cragg Vale, along Dick’s Lane. Hubby chose the scenic route which turned out to be not as much scenic as it was muddy. Still, it was a good walk all in all.

On Dick’s Lane, leaving Stoodley Pike behind, hubby was busy reading the map while walking. Splat. He stepped right in the middle of the biggest and freshest cowpat. Once again I have to say that men simply can’t multitask. No prizes for guessing who the dick on this lane was.

  1. marion says:

    Ah, those west pennine moors know how to freeze you to the core! The Arctic has nothing on them 🙂 Being a Yorkshire lass i’m hardened to the cold, Finland should be a breeze x

  2. Sari says:

    Absolutely!! There isn’t another place on earth as cold as the West Pennine moors! You could come to Finland any time of the year, in just your summer gear 🙂

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