FOR many Bolton families, a Good Friday hike up Rivington Pike is an annual occasion.

The trek to the top of the hill is believed to have been started by Christians in the 19th Century to remember the crucifixion of Christ.

And the tradition is still going strong today as thousands of keen walkers clambered up the hill throughout the day.

While the sun appeared only intermittently throughout the morning and afternoon, the dry weather ensured that those who made it to the summit were rewarded with spectacular views across Bolton.

Among the families making their way up were David and Sarah Sutton and their two sons, James and Alexander, all of whom were clad in their finest hiking gear.

David, who works as a firefighter at Bolton Central Fire Station, said: “We come every year, it’s a family tradition for us.

“I come from Horwich and used to come up with my friends when I was young.”

While some settled down for a well-earned break, and possibly even a picnic, at the summit, others took part in the time-honoured tradition of rolling eggs down the steep slopes.

Paul Howard, from Great Lever, was one of those who managed to make it to the top.

He has been walking up the hill for 60 years and was part of a group of more than forty friends from across the North West who have been climbing the Pike together for decades.

He said: “Our friends and family have done this for as long as I can remember.

“It’s a lovely place, I love Rivington. We used to go to the fair as kids. With the other generations our group has just got bigger and bigger.”

Alan and Paula Longworth, aged 75 and 73, from Westhoughton, also made it to the top shortly before noon, and took a moment to catch their breath and look out across the West Pennine Moors.

Alan said: “We have been doing it since we were in our 20s. We started doing it with our children and when they had their children we fetched them up too.”

Meanwhile, Horwich resident Helen Swan was undertaking the hike for the first time. She was joined by her husband Dave, and young children Lilli and Alfie.

She said: “We have never been up before. We look up all the time and wanted to get in on the community spirit this time.”