This evening at 5.30 I had a tough decision to make. Should I pour myself a nice chilled glass of Sauvignon or should I walk up Boulsworth?
Now Boulsworth isn't a massive hill, it's trig point stands at just 517 metres, but it is the highest point of the south pennines of South Lancashire and it does just so happen to be 1.5 miles from my back door.
It had been a hot and sunny day and I'd been stuck in the office doing paperwork so that cool glass of Sauvignon sure did look good. But no, I resolutely shut the fridge door, popped a ham sandwich and bottle of water in my rucksack and grabbed my trainers.
Striding off past the cottages at the top of Trawden and breathing in lungfuls of evening air felt good and I pushed on up Dark Lane and through the fields dotted with newly shorn sheep. Calves burning nicely ( my calves that is not baby cows!)
Boulsworth rises up in front of you, a large expanse of moorland with those huge grey stone boulders (one of which is called the Druids Slaughter Stone), clearly visible in three great piles across the top.
Where the farm track ends and joins the old Roman road across the foot of the hill, there's a big oblong stone where I often sit and just listen to the curlew and the sheep and gaze up at a scene unchanged for hundreds of years. It's my thinking stone. But tonight I pushed on taking the path directly opposite which takes you up past a series of numbered wooden boards which appear to be placed 100 metres apart. I've never worked out what they're for, possibly for fell racing.
There's 12 of these on the way up and as I started to dig deep as the path steepened, I thought of the tough week I had had and how immersed I had been in it all. As I worked my way past 400, 500 600 metres, I could see further and further - from beyond Burnley around past Pendle, right across to Ingleborough and way over beyond Skipton, wow - no matters how many times I climb up Boulsworth and it's been plenty, the view never ceases to astonish.
Up through markers 10, 11, 12 now and past the first set of huge boulders - some 10 feet across and standing as tall as I am. All around my feet, the cotton grass was swaying in the breeze and the ground, which is a boggy mess in winter, was like a beautiful slightly bouncy underlay. The heather was starting to grow and little white and purply flowers were everywhere. Avoiding the odd patch of mud I strode across the top drinking in the 360 degree views even way beyond Leeds, views unchanged for hundreds possibly thousands of years. There's just no sign of human habitation at all except the odd boot print - heaven!
Made it to the white trig point in an hour - good timing that for me - just as the summer rain started. Didn't have a jacket but who cares, soft rain on your face is beautiful when it's warm. Time for my sandwich, sitting looking across at Pendle as the mist softened it's outline and settled in the vales of Barley and Roughlee. Took a couple of photos with my phone and just stood there thinking how when you stand on top of a hill, it puts everything back in perspective.
My Dad used to say "I am Lord of all I survey and master of no-one" I think he got the William Cowper quote wrong, but I like my Dad's much better. When you are out on a summer evening in England looking across our incredibly green countryside, you truly are Lord of all you survey.
When you put a bit of effort in and get to the top of something, whether it be a hill, a career, a business or any challenge, how great is it to look back and see what you climbed up and look at the view from the top.
Made it back down in an hour - got stuck in a bog and nearly lost one of my trainers but felt great so just saw the funny side of it! All the things that seemed like huge problems earlier in the week, I'd got through, the week had ended well and............. I still had that nice cool glass of sauvignon to look forward to!