The Pike

Photo by John Darch

Time to honour our gradely hill – The Pike, our beloved nearby green hill in Lancashire.

It is a part of the landscape I see first thing in the morning and last thing at night, if I crane my neck out off our driveway.

The rugged peak rises up 363 metres high. It is highest point on Winter Hill and on the West Pennine Moors.

One etymological definition of the name Rivington Pike dates back from Old English c1250AD. Hreof plus ing means rugged hill and pic means a pointed eminence.

On a clear day like today, from this prominent local landmark it is possible to see many other local landmarks such as the Blackpool Tower, the Lake District Mountains, the Welsh Mountains and the Isle of Man.

Even on an average day, it is one of the most popular walks in Lancashire.

Top Photo of locals in 1940s from Gene Watts in the I Belong to Bolton Facebook group.
Bottom photo by Helen Ashton friend of Tracey McVey from the same view in 2023.

Best Lancashire Walk — The Pike On Good Friday

Today, on Good Friday, it holds a special significance for us locals.

From days of yore, walking up a local hill on this particular Friday every year, has Judeo-Christian religious symbolism for many, relating to the crucifixion of Jesus of Mount Calvary.

The egg rolling too has multiple religious interpretations such as a parallel to the holy trinity with the shell, the yolk and the albumen.

By Victorian times, according to local genealogist Kim Hunter, people originally walked up The Pike not at Easter but at Whitsun.

In more recent times, there has been a tradition to walk up the hill going back many generations, to touch each of the four corners of the Pike Tower.

Photo from Bolton Evening News 1962
supplied by Anthony Donaghy

The Grade II listed building Pike Tower was built on the site of an ancient beacon using its stone for the foundations.

It was built as a square plan hunting lodge measuring 4.9m wide and 6.1m high. The materials were brought in by horse and cart from Warrington and windows and glass came from Chorley.

Rolling your decorated egg down the steep slope is another classic Easter tradition.

And for the more robust, there is also a rather bruising tradition of rolling yourself down the steepest part of the bank, as if you were an egg.

It looks very painful and I wouldn’t urge anyone, let alone kids, to try this at home or on any local hill at all. Especially not the steep sides of The Pike.

Have a Good Friday!

Please get in touch to let me know of any other local traditions connected to this part of the landscape.

Lancashire Day is on 27th November every year.

REAL Lancashire includes Barrow-in-Furness to Manchester. Reet.

Read more about Blackrod’s Frank Speak reading The Pike Poem, the top keywords in the Lancashire dialect and the Lancashire accent and Lindsay Hoyle…


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