Joint course leaders David Clarke and Clare Jenkins appear – separately – on TV and radio this Friday, 10th April.
In The Pennine Way on BBC North, David is interviewed by polar explorer Paul Rose about the folklore and legends of the High Peak region, including the phantom lights that haunt the upper Longdendale Valley.
“I first heard about these ‘spooklights’ during my time as a journalist for the Sheffield Star,” says David. “I was amazed to find the Glossop Mountain Rescue Team kept a log of calls from people reporting bright red lights hovering over the moors late at night. Fearing walkers were lost on the heights of Bleaklow, the teams had turned out again and again only to find no trace of anyone in distress.”
As he delved deeper, David discovered that the lights had been seen in the valley for decades. Some local people called them ‘the Devil’s Bonfires’. “I was told by a Peak Park Ranger,” he continues, “that on one occasion one witness had to be treated in hospital after his experience on the moors.”
The four-part series starts at 7.30 this Friday and will be aired on BBC2 towards the end of the month: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05q1n6y
Meanwhile, on BBC Radio 4, Clare tells the story of the Children of the Scattered Homes – a pioneering scheme, started in Sheffield in 1893, to take children out of the workhouse and poverty, and raise them in homes scattered across the city.
At the time, it was regarded as ‘utopian’, and some of the children thrived in their new homes and went on to find decent jobs and raise happy families themselves. But not all were success stories. Some of the boys, for instance, were shipped off to Canada, or put on training ships far from the city and their families.
With the help of Sheffield archivist Tim Knebel, Clare researches the history of the system – which continued into the 1950s – and talks to descendants of those children adopted by the Sheffield guardians.
Children of the Scattered Homes is on BBC Radio 4 this Friday at 11am, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05pr81rBBC Radio 4