John’s gentle walk up to our Pike really is a picnic!

IT’S on the doorstep, it’s one of the most recognisable sights in the Calder Valley, but walker John Shackleton is always surprised at how many local people have never been there.

He is talking about Stoodley Pike, the 19th century landmark, originally built to mark the end of the Napoleonic Wars and, after the original was destroyed, rebuilt in the middle of the century.

Several years ago John organised the first of a series of easy walks to re-introduce valley people to part of their heritage, taking people up to Stoodley Pike to see what it has to offer and raising some money for cancer charities into the bargain.

This year he has organised his Picnic At The Pike event for Sunday, June 12, and is hoping for a clear day which will allow people to see for miles.

“It is a gentle walk up to the Pike and I want people from four to 84 to join us, especially if you have never been up there.

“We will have some big torches with us to see inside Stoodley Pike and we will be pointing out local landmarks such as the local radar station at Portsmouth, Heptonstall church and more. If the weather is clear enough you can see Ferrybridge cooling towers which are around 45 miles away. The views are breathtaking,” he said.

Registration of the event will be at Lumbutts Chapel at 10am, with the walk starting around 10.30am. John asks people wanting to take part to confirm their entry before June 12 by ringing him in the days leading up to then between 6pm and 9pm on 01706 816479.

It costs £2 for adults and £1 for children, and he asks people not to forget to wear suitable clothing and footwear for the day and, as it is a picnic, to bring some sandwiches.

“The walk is a leisurely hour up and the same back with some time at the Pike. After the walk tea and biscuits will be available back at Lumbutts Chapel, there will be a raffle, and as in previous years we will be raising money for Cancer Research UK,” he said.

John, a marathon walker who has regularly raised money for the charity since 2005, said he had been again reminded of the damage the disease can do when one of his sporting heroes, golfer Seve Ballesteros, died this year after battling brain cancer.