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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Saturday in Saddleworth - Whit Walks

Yesterday was Whit Friday and in Saddleworth that means Whit Walks and Band contests!

Whit Walks, in one form or another, were fairly common in many areas but have now died out in some places and in other places are much smaller affairs than they once were. In Saddleworth and Mossley, however, not only are the Whit Walks still a big thing, but they still take place on Whit Friday.

Traditionally schools and factories in the area close for the day. Some high school pupils still have to go in to take GCSE exams, though!

Saddleworth is an area made up of a number of individual villages and the churchgoers walk in procession from their own church down into the centre of Uppermill for a joint service of witness in the park. They then all process through the centre of Uppermill before continuing back to their own villages. The main A670 road through Uppermill is closed for several hours while all this is going on.

See Google Aerial View of this location.


  1. I had to look up "Whit Friday" first. Very interesting custom. We celebrate Pentecost, but not the Friday before it.

  2. I'm confused this year as I always thought Whit Friday was the one before Whit Sunday which was last week. I presume the photo is from last year as last night it rained heavily and I presume it must have been pretty miserable at the contests this year. I might have gone but for the weather.

  3. Whit Friday is the Friday after Whit Sunday, Gerald. I don't know why, but that's when it is! When I lived in the South nobody had heard of Whit Friday.

    The Whit Walks take place in the morning and luckily the weather was still fine yesterday morning, so you presume incorrectly - the photo was taken yesterday morning. I was at Mossley's Whit Walks last year.

    The rain didn't start until the band contests started!

  4. Well yes I stand corrected about the date of Whit Friday. I should have read your text more thoroughly to see that your photo was of the walks not the contests. Around here there no walks anymore it seems.

  5. I remember as a child the Whit Walks in Manchester Town Centre - absolutely marvellous. Pleased to read that in some parts this tradition is alive and well. I love brass bands and would have loved to have seen them marching through the town, especially on a sunny day. Great photo. Linda

  6. I too Googled after reading. Not a tradition I have come across before which surprises me coming from a very industrial town in the Midlands, well it was once. Lovely to it's still going strong.


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