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Alderman Hill and Alphin Pike

In legend the rolling boulder-strewn hills of Alphin Pike and Alderman Hill were the abodes of the giants Alphin and Alderman, after whom the peaks were named. Alphin and Alderman were at first on friendly terms, until they both became enamoured with a beautiful water nymph called Rimmon, who lived in the valley below them in the bubbling waters of Chew Brook.

Alphin won the battle for the affections of Rimmon, which secured the angry jealousy of Alderman. Eventually the quarrelling gave way to aggressive action and they threw giant boulders at each other in a mortal contest across the valley. One of these rocks struck Alphin a mortal blow, and he died on the slopes of his hill. Rimmon was devastated at her lover's death and threw herself from the crags that overlook the Chew Valley.

She is said to be buried somewhere on the slopes of Alphin Pike in the giants grave. The many large boulders strewn over the valley and across the mountains were said to be the missiles thrown by the giants during their battle for the water nymphs affections.

The local area probably had many more legends associated with landscape features, names such as Raven's Rocks, the Boggart Stones, the Fairy Hole all suggest local lore perhaps now forgotten forever. For me as something of a romantic (and having grown up here) the moors and hills in this part of Britain are some of the bleakest and most atmospheric in the country. They have a dark presence that reminds one of the forgotten gods, still clinging to the last vestiges of wilderness on the outskirts of the once booming mill towns.

Alderman Hill and Alphin Pike can be viewed from the A365 to Holmfirth. The more adventurous can try the walk to Alderman Hill from Pots and Pans, from which there are excellent views over Dovestones to Alphin Pike.

Daniel Parkinson

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