Spire Hill

Last week, some friends and I drove up to Jeffrey Hill near Longridge and from thence ascended Spire Hill, a part of the great fell overlooking the Ribble Valley. I was curious about its name but could find little explanation either online or in my books. There was certainly no church spire built here, yet it is a high place from which wonderful views are afforded of Bowland.  

The Online Etymology Dictionary associates the word spire with inspire, aspire and spirare, ‘to breathe’, from the Latin. Although there is many an aspiring climber who finds himself expiring as he approaches a summit, the views there are certainly inspiring. The wonder of creation does not just afford physical exercise while ascending hills and mountains, but we are spiritually blessed also: like God at creation, we ‘see that it is good’ and are inspired to seek Him who made it:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:10

For from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him. Numbers 23:9a

Little wonder the ancients thought hills to be places of spiritual significance. Too often, sadly, they rendered them places of idolatry and supertitiion, sites of expiration rather than inspiration.