Hundreds of walkers braved wet and windy weather to enjoy the eighth Pendle Walking Festival - and some people came from abroad to take part.
Despite the rain, the turn-out was good and the organisers are celebrating another successful year.
The Mayor of Pendle, Coun. Nadeem Ahmed, helped launch quite a few of the walks and he took part himself as a sponsored walker in a historic hike through Barrowford to raise money for charity.
And there was a series of walks around Colne to mark the official opening of Colne’s “Walkers are Welcome” honour, which was the first in the region.
A couple from the Orkneys stayed in Pendle for a few days to enjoy part of the festival while on their way to a family gathering in Kent.
A man from Germany came to several of the walks, and Mr David Harrison travelled from Vancouver in Canada specifically to join in this year’s festival.
He said: “I was over in Pendle around this time last year and heard about the walking festival but didn’t get the chance to join in any of the walks. So this year I made a special trip!
“I’ve gone on five walks in total including some stages of the Pendle Way. I have thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in Pendle’s beautiful countryside.
“I feel very much at home here. I have travelled a lot in many countries over 50 years and I cannot think of a more friendly and welcoming group of people. Despite the rain, it’s been well worth the trip!”
Mr Tom Partridge, Pendle Council’s countryside access officer who organised this year’s festival, said: “The longer walks were not affected by people dropping out because of the wet weather. These walks tend to attract more experienced walkers who are used to braving the elements!
“Some of our shorter walks got slightly lower than normal turn-outs, so we think that was down to the weather.
“But all-in-all it’s been a huge success. I’ve taken part in four of the walks this year and the thing that has struck me is how many people come back to Pendle every year for the walking festival. There has been great camaraderie among the walkers, many of whom will be coming back to try new walks next year.
“We’ve had very good feedback from the new map-reading course and this may give some people the confidence to find their own walks using public rights of way in the meantime.”
Coun. Jonathan Eyre, who represents tourism in Pendle, said: “It’s been another successful year for the Pendle Walking Festival.
“The programme of over 80 walks, which is designed to be suitable to walkers of varying abilities, attracted people from Pendle and further afield. Many people who travelled from other parts of the UK - and indeed the world! - chose to stay in Pendle’s tourist accommodation, which is wonderful news for our local tourist economy.
“This is so important for the area, and I’m delighted that the walking festival is continuing to give tourism a vital boost.”
The organisers of the festival are now gathering feedback from walk leaders. This will be used to plan next year’s festival -Pendle’s ninth Walking Festival.
And later this month the marketing campaign for last year’s walking festival is up for an award at the Lancashire & Blackpool Tourism Awards. This sees the festival compete with the likes of Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the Duke’s Theatre in Lancaster.
The awards will be given at a ceremony at Blackpool Pleasure Beach Resort hosted by Blackpool-born actress and singer Jodie Prenger on September 22nd.
To find out more about the awards, visit www.lancashireandblackpool.com
l Pendle is also playing its part in another walking event - the South Pennine Walk and Ride Festival.
That started last weekend and runs until September 25th. The events cover the whole of the South Pennines, both in Lancashire and Yorkshire and as far south as Huddersfield and Manchester.
One walk set out from Reedley on Tuesday and yesterday Pendle walk leader Mr Norman Mitchell led one around Worsthorne. Next Monday he will lead one from Trawden up Boulsworth, starting at 10-30 a.m. at the village bus terminus.
Next Wednesday there is another up Hameldon Hill and a week today one on the moors above Burnley. There are also cycle and horse rides. To find out more, visit www.walkandridefestival.co.uk