Two Lads & Winter Hill

8th December 2013

Plans didn’t turn out as planned due to poor weather on the Lakeland fells so I decided to give the  fells a miss this weekend seeing as yet again, they are under the cover of low cloud & rain. My thoughts were to literally sit the weekend out, maybe tidy the garden & clean the car, generally a lazy weekend.

That was until around 09:30 this morning when I viewed Winter Hill from my daughters bedroom window, here I could see the moorland lit up with patches of light that changed with the wind.

That was all it took.

Owen!! What Dad!! Ger up were going Winter Hill, I’m still in bed dad…well you best get up ant yer!

While Owen was brushing his teeth I was downstairs multi-tasking making the jumbo flask up with hot coffee while at the same time throwing a few rounds of toast in.

Within twenty minutes we were on the road & Horwich bound, Holly couldn’t contain herself as she danced around whilst sat on Owens knee at the same time leaving wet nose marks all over the side window.

I guess that’s the least of my worries as Holly went from bright white, to dull grey to black all in the space of a few hours.

Surely the sign of a grand morning on the moors.




Ascent: 383 Feet, 117 Meters
Wainwrights: N/A
Weather: Overcast With Some Sun. Highs Of 11°C Lows Of 8°C
Parking: Wilderswood Car Park, Georges Lane Horwich (SD651 124)
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 4.5
Walking With: Owen Sharkey & Holly Dog
Ordnance Survey: Explorer Map 287
Time Taken: 3 hours
Route: Wilderswood – Makinson Moor – Wilderswood Moor – Two Lads – Wilderswood Moor – Rotary Way – Winter Hill – Rivington Moor – Rivington Pike – Pikes Cottage – Wilderswood

Map and Photo Gallery



Horwich taken from Wilderswood 10:35am  8°C

We arrive at the car park & Holly is bursting to get out as she spies a Golden Lab with its owner as they pass by the back of the car. Although it’s still only mid morning I manage to slip into the last available parking space at the car park. (had there been none left I could have always parked a little up the lane)


Here looking back on a rather dark Wilderswood together with the car park seen bottom left in the photo.


Rivington Pike seen over Wilder’s Moor.

Swiftly changing subject I nearly never brought the camera today, it was just going to be a unrecorded dog walk with my son, I’m so glad I changed my mind right at the last minute as the light east of me was starting to get really dramatic.


Dad, take a photo of that bird sat on the wall…

Sorry Owen I was too slow…good eye for the photo though son.


The light over Bolton & Manchester just got better & better.


Holly was now off her lead & in her little elements taking every opportunity to splash through all the mud & puddles.


Shadows & Light.

Two Lads summit cairns with dramatic skies.


I’d have been gutted had I left the camera at home.



Hey up what do we have here.

It’s a man & a radio controlled plane Dad… I was being…oh never mind.

Dad? Yes Owen? how….no you cant have one.


The guy just threw it into the wind then the controls took over.


Winter Hill & the Communications Mast seen shortly after leaving Two Lads summit.


One last look back on Two Lads.


Rotary Way.

Here the sun came out which was brief but nice whilst it lasted.


The Memorial Plague to the 1958 Air Crash Victims has been stolen (most likely weighed in) since the last time I was here only a few weeks ago.

Shortly after arriving at the Communication Station Owen & I were joined by what looked like an organised group of walkers, but first let me fill you in on what happened here on Winter Hill on 27th February 1958

Sadly on 27th February 1958 thirty-five people lost their lives when a Bristol 170 Freighter flying from the Isle of Man to Manchester airport crashed close to the Transmitting Station, so severe was the weather that morning that all the engineers were completely un-aware at what had un-folded only a few hundred metres away. A Snow Cat vehicle on the nearby A6 had to be diverted to cut a path for the rescuers.

My fellow walkers could not hide their anger at the Memorial Plague being stolen, one of which remembers the actual crash & its exact location, Ill try my best to re-type his words because I found them really interesting & at times very sad.

The plane was on its way to Manchester Airport full of workers bound for the Exide Battery plant in Manchester, back then Air Control wasn’t run via modern digital radio but by Beacons…the flight was still operating within the St Helens Beacon (Merseyside) when the pilot should have switched to the Manchester Beacon only moments earlier.

After the Control Tower had realised his error they radioed to the pilot to switch to the Manchester beacons & immediately make a sharp right turn, the pilot couldn’t see the ground as he was flying in blizzard conditions, only relying on Air Traffic Control.

Twenty seconds after making that right turn the plane carrying over thirty passengers including workers children crashed into the hill side not 200 yards from this exact location, as stated the storm so fierce the engineers stationed at Winter Hill did not hear a thing through the storm.

A bet they got less than a tenner for that memorial, bloody mindless! bloody mindless! that plague has been here since 1958

Very sad, & very true.


Here’s what the Memorial used to look like.


Angry walkers after a brief yet sadden lesson in History.



Cable Anchor silhouettes.


Crossing a very boggy Rivington Moor bound for Rivington Pike seen ahead.


Rivington Pike.

We continued across the moor which at times felt as though we were walking over a carpeted swimming pool…trace my steps Owen, step by step.

Unfortunately the young couple ahead walked through the middle of a particular nasty boggy section, the girl losing her boot in the process.

Are you ok I asked? I think I’m in a little shock she replies, I’ve never done anything like this before, what’s it like where you have just come from? It’s fine, it’s wet but its negotiable I reply.


Rivington Pike seen before crossing the very early stages of the River Douglas.

Footnote: The River Douglas is to Wigan what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris…only more glamorous!

Just kidding.


Shadows & silhouettes from Rivington Pike.


The dramatic theme continues looking south east.


Here looking towards the Fylde Coast over Rivington Reservoir.


Bamber Bridge & Preston seem to be enjoying some sunshine.


I bet Daz cant get this one white again….Holly Dog.


The sun came back out as I took this picture from Pikes Cottage looking back on Rivington Pike.

What a great way to spend a Sunday Morning, I’m off home now for some dinner & to try & persuade the wife that I haven’t found a stray on the moors.


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