BBC Radio 4 – Ramblings, The Hills are Alive! Commoners Choir in Calderdale

Boff Whalley and Commoners Choir take Clare for a hike and a sing in Calderdale.

Boff Whalley is best known for Tubthumping with the band Chumbawamba but now he’s a core member of the Leeds based Commoners Choir which he founded. They sing about the world around them, about inequality and injustice, and they also love to walk. Cath Long, a fellow member, wrote to Ramblings to ask Clare to join them on a hike in the South Pennines near Todmorden in Calderdale, West Yorkshire. So, on a chilly, wet and blustery Saturday in early January, they met by the Shepherd’s Rest pub and headed into the hills to ramble and sing. Boff created a choir manifesto, and one aim was to ‘rehearse until we’re brilliant’ and they really are. Their Skelmanthorpe Flag Song, which they performed at the historic Basin Stone, was heard by fellow walkers at least two miles down in the valley. On a circular hike, which began and ended at the pub, they stopped off at Gaddings Dam, often described as the highest beach in the UK, where some choir members took the plunge and sang out from the wind-blown waves of the reservoir.

Grid Ref for start of walk: SD 945 231

Presenter: Clare Balding
Producer: Karen Gregor

Source: BBC Radio 4 – Ramblings, The Hills are Alive! Commoners Choir in Calderdale

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