A Hike To The Pike


We had an unusual band job today. Usually, brass bands play in concert halls, park bandstands, in carnivals, in parades, garden fetes and occasionally the odd open topped bus but today’s job was one with a bit of a difference.

First off, to actually get to the venue we had a 90 minute hike uphill to Stoodley Pike above Todmorden.

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Just setting off to Stoodley Pike (out of view on that ridge in the distance)
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Can’t help but be jealous of these sheep lying down in the shade under this tree
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Well underway. You can just see the pike in the distance…
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There was a point where I thought we’d never get to the destination…it was about 10 miles away for AGES!

As quite often happens when a group of people set off hiking together, we began to string out quite quickly and yours truly ended up at the back with a couple of others.

Eventually though, and with time pressing against us, I encouraged them to go on ahead without me. It was more important that they got there than me (I’m only the conductor and there for effect really….) so after about an hour or so I was left on my own to plod my way (slowly) up the hill.

Here's me taking a selfie and rocking the Lawrence of Arabia look with my hoodie round my head. It was a bit hot!! (You can probably see my red face here too. I though this was because of the exertion but as of bedtime tonight I can attest to it being  most definitely sunburn).
Here’s me taking a selfie and rocking the Lawrence of Arabia look with my hoodie round my head. It was a bit hot!! (You can probably see my red face here too. I though this was because of the exertion but as of bedtime tonight I can attest to it being most definitely sunburn).

Before long, the summit came in sight. Hurrah!! The band had started without me (only just!) and this is them stood at the foot of the pike playing for the crowds.

You can see just how far away we were by looking at the size of the Pike close up!
You can see just how far away we were by looking at the size of the Pike close up!

We played for about half an hour and then a samba band took over, along with some puppeteers and some people who released 200 homing pigeons.

So why were we up there today?

Well, May 1814 saw a peace treaty being signed with Paris and Stoodley Pike was built in honour of that treaty. There was a monument built straight away, and then this one was built shortly afterwards. There were visitors from France there today – the town of Todmorden is twinned with Ronq and we have several occasions where people from both towns get together to celebrate their relationship. As this year is the 200th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty and the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI, the decision was made to celebrate up at the Pike. Being part of the town band is a privilege at times like this and it was lovely to see so many people join us on top of the world this afternoon.

me conducting at stoodley pike

Here is me conducting the Todmorden Community Band at the foot of Stoodley Pike. (What you can’t see here is that I had my shoes and socks off after that massive climb!)

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Puppeteers entertaining the crowds after we’d played.

 

And so, like everything in physics, what goes up must come down…

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I’m so glad we didn’t come up this way! This is the shorter (but infinitely steeper) pathway up to the pike.
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Kevin having a rest on a rock. Good to take the weight off…
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Looking back towards the pike as we said goodbye. You can see the edge of the ridge where the rocks tail off.
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A look back towards the pike and all the people celebrating the 200 year old peace treaty with France
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Look at how steeply the valley side falls away
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Nearly back. I can see the car from here. Just…

And so after a very energetic journey to and from the venue today, a very traditional end to a brass band gig…. You can’t beat it!

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A pint and a natter outside the pub with some French visitors at the next table
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I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon. Nice and warm, beer going down VERY well, and cracking conversation flowing round the table. It’s what banding is all about!

I’m proud of myself for making it up to the top of the hill today and I’m extremely proud of my band for being involved with such an important feature in the town’s calendar today. The band played well and were well received by those sat around listening to us. I think they particularly appreciated us playing the French National Anthem…but not as much as they did when we played our own too!

A definitely unusual band job, but a most definitely an enjoyable one.

 

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