#200 – Parlick Pike and Fairsnape Fell

The ridge from Parlick to Fairsnape

The ridge from Parlick to Fairsnape

For me, this was the beginning.  For all my adult life, the hills and mountains have been very important to me, and this is where it all began.  When I was 14 I cycled to these hills with a mate – when the road came to an end we carried on walking.  We didn’t know about maps and compasses, let alone carried them, we just walked for a while then turned round and went back.

Chris on the track up Parlick

Chris on the track up Parlick

As we turned for home I had a feeling of regret – I wanted to know what was beyond the high ground ahead that we had so nearly reached.  Since then I’ve been back here more times than I can remember, and these were the first hills I walked – this was where I served my apprenticeship.

Chris and Border Collie ‘Mist’ with Parlick behind

Chris and Border Collie ‘Mist’ with Parlick behind

Further up the ridge, with Fairsnape out to the far left

Further up the ridge, with Fairsnape out to the far left

 Looking back to Parlick

Looking back to Parlick

The Forest of Bowland is the mass of moorland to the east of the M6 motorway, between Preston and Lancaster.  There is a definite lack of trees here, but the word ‘Forest’ is used as in the old term meaning ‘Royal Forest’, otherwise an area reserved for hunting by the monarch, and this use goes back to pre-Norman days – Pendle Hill (see post #199) is one of the outlying hills of the group.  The moors are now classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Impatient Border Collie has to wait for the humans, with Fairsnape just beyond

Impatient Border Collie has to wait for the humans, with Fairsnape just beyond

The summit of Fairsnape (510 metres)

The summit of Fairsnape (510 metres)

Looking back towards Parlick

Looking back towards Parlick

The cairn and shelter on the summit

The cairn and shelter on the summit

None of the hills here top the magic height of 2000 ft (210 metres) that constitutes a mountain in the UK.  Despite that, these are dramatic wild hills, rising straight out of the Lancashire plain.  They were certainly important to our ancestors, and nestling to the west of Fairsnape Fell and Parlick at Bleasdale lies the site of a Bronze Age wooden circle, about 4000 years old.  These moors also became important to me in my early wanderings in the hills.

On the way to the old county boundary

On the way to the old county boundary

The author and ‘Mist’ at the old Lancashire-Yorkshire border (pre-1974)

The author and ‘Mist’ at the old Lancashire-Yorkshire border (pre-1974)

Chris at the walk high point – a mere 520 metres!

Chris at the walk high point – a mere 520 metres!

As teenagers we would cycle or get the bus to the village of Chipping then walk two miles out to the hills.  Navigation was a bit hit and miss in the early days, and this was a great training ground on which to learn, with the penalty for a mistake being a much longer day out than intended – more than once we had to run the two miles back to the village to catch the last bus, sometimes in the dark.

On the way back with Parlick in the distance

On the way back with Parlick in the distance

Looking back to Fairsnape

Looking back to Fairsnape

Nearly at Parlick ….

Nearly at Parlick ….

…. and finally at the summit

…. and finally at the summit

I don’t come back here too often now, but for the second week in a row Chris and I had to go to nearby Preston, and when the job was finished Border Collie ‘Mist’ was ready for a run up a hill somewhere.  Parlick and Fairsnape fitted the bill perfectly.  We started on Parlick, walked out to Fairsnape then continued to what used to be the old border between Lancashire and Yorkshire, changed for ever in the boundary changes of 1974.

Time to head for home

Time to head for home

I don’t need a map up here nowadays – I reckon I could cross these hills in any weather and know exactly where I am.  When I first came here, these were quiet deserted hills – nowadays they are better known, and the moors are now tracked on the popular routes.  On a busy day you will see walkers, runners and even fliers, as the area is a popular playground for hang gliders.  For me, these are the hills of home.

Playtime! Crowded skies near Parlick (May 2006)

Playtime! Crowded skies near Parlick (May 2006)

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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5 Responses to #200 – Parlick Pike and Fairsnape Fell

  1. Great shots Paul – a good day for it too. Nice to see the view 🙂

  2. Darren says:

    Hi Paul, so true its the sentimental walks that are the best, you can’t beat them.

  3. Beautiful pictures

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