When we were kids we always celebrated Halloween. We believed that
strange things were going happen, then they were more likely to happen
at Halloween than at any other time of year. It was tradition to hang
out on the streets dressed in homemade costumes, carrying a carved
out turnip, going around making a nuisance of ones self.
Halloween day and night has always been a special time for me, I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling that was built in and nurtured by our parents. It’s probably because my mum always made sure we had a jack O lantern and she actively took part in the turnip head making ritual. My dad also seemed to believe there was something dark and mysterious about the folklore that created such traditions as Halloween ; he also had quite a vivid imagination in matters of the supernatural.
When we were kids we lived in a small town called rawtenstall
pronounced “rottenstall” and we always celebrated Halloween. This
tradition carried on all through my early teenage life
until I was seventeen and coming home on ‘Halloween night’ from the pub. I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction that growing up I was losing the enthusiasm that had always made this night special. I then swore that from that day on I would make every effort to carry on the family tradition of enthusiastically celebrating this occasion, what every the circumstances.
The following year just one week before ‘Halloween night’ I approached
group of friends and made plans to do something special by going to
Pendle Hill. The plan was devised in the
Barge pub. Steve rogers and myself were going on our motorbikes, one of
would take Mike Peck pillon up to pendle and other would bring him
This sounds a bit strange but neither of us had passed the motorcycle
and could not legally take a pillon passenger, so we decided to split
the risk between us. Thankfully, Steve borrowed his old man's car and
all went in the car so the risks were averted.
We headed off at 7pm and
arrived at Pendle hill about 8.30 pm. Steve parked the car outside the
Wells Spring Hotel which is located at
the bottom of Pendle Hill. The sky was very black and it was pissing it
down but it was October, the time of the year the horrible weather
arrives in England. We dashed from the car park into the hotel and
it was all decorated out with witches, bats and black cats. The entire
bar staff where dressed as witches and the atmosphere was vivacious.
All the locals were dressed in Halloween costumes and we stayed there
all night drinking beer, all except Steve who driving and he wasn’t too
pleased with fact that he couldn’t get drunk and had to drink coke all
At kicking out time, half pissed – well some of us- we followed a group of girls up the hill. The climb was too much after belly full of Lancashire beer and Steve was moaning to go home, so we descended and left for Runcorn. It’s weird but I can always put a song to an event in the past and Abba’s gimme,gimme, gimme a man after midnight always reminds me of that night because it was constantly being played on the jukey all night and me and mike were singing it when we were following them girls up the hill.
The next year I met at the Barge pub again with Pecky, loopy, and the
Blackburn’s planning a second Halloween outing up to pendle. We were
also trying to persuade spanner ‘the weirdo’ and his mate Andy to come.
Spanner and Andy were drinking - when I say drinking that’s drinking
not buying - with another lad called Chris Mud and we asked him if he
wanted to go. Chris said it was too far and he definitely wasn’t going
sixty miles to some hill in the middle of nowhere but we manage to
pursued spanner and Andy to come.
We left the pub at about 6.30pm and because we got lost in Wigan, we didn’t arrive at Clitheroe until 8.30pm. I was navigating and I got sort of confused, in a one-way system in pie land. Anyway halfway up this one-way street in Wigan we bumped into a copper who signalled for us to pull over. I told him we were lost and he explained the right route to take without booking us.
By the time we reached Clitheroe everyone was hungry so we
went in the
local chippy for pie dinner and then headed to the pub. I think it was
called the ‘Kings Head ‘ and like all the pubs around Pendle at the
Halloween it was decorated with bats, cats and witches. We didn’t stay
there long, we had a pint or two and a few games of pool.
We rode up to Pendle Hill at about 10pm and had a drink in the Wells
Spring Hotel. After closing time we hanged around until the witching
hour 12pm, then set off for home.
Not long after setting off Brian and john Blackburn decided they were going find somewhere to sleep for the night. The first place they tried was some big house in the middle of the sticks on the A59 just outside Whalley. They just went up to the front door and asked the women who opened it if they could sleep in her garage. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen they looked so daft, mike said they looked like Oddbod and Oddbod Junior out of ‘Carry on Screaming’. She sent them packing and we set off again. Further along the A59 we stopped opposite a large farmhouse surrounded by fields and left the bikes parked up in a lay-by. We all started walking across the fields heading towards the farmhouse, when suddenly all the lights came on in the house. Everyone ran back astonished by the sudden flash of lights to where the bikes were parked and we set off again. Eventually we end up sleeping in an old deserted barn just off the A59. John Blackburn was smoking his head off all night and I thought we were all going to burnt alive in there. In the morning we had to make a bit of a mad dash out of there as they seemed to be a bit of commotion going on in the farmhouse across the road opposite.
I made several trips up Pendle hill during the late 1970’s and early
1980’s. We sometimes camped in the field behind 'Witches Galore' in
Newchurch and did a tour of the local pub's ending back up at the Lamb
Newchurch. In 1993 I went up Pendle Hill with Brian Blacky and Mike
Peck. We went around all the pubs and ended up pissed in the White
Horse, Barley. There was some kind of mad fancy dress party going on
and the pub was still open when we staggered out at 2AM . We had
originally intended to sleep in the pub
carpark but I drove in Brians car. The last time I went up Pendle at
halloween was 2000 (H20)with Thomas
barker, we went in my old purple ford fiesta and only just made it back
engine was knackered. It must have been a bit of a disappointment for
him because the pubs and locals had not made much of effort with the
decor or spirit.