A Winter Hill Round

31st January 2021

My mental health has took a bashing these last few weeks which when it comes down to it was part of the reason I picked up an infection causing me to take a couple of days off from work.

The antibiotics kicked in and by Thursday I started to feel normal again but I yearned for a proper fell walk and today to help me through lifes little ups and downs I drove across town and walked what's becoming a favourite summit of mine, Winter Hill.


Ascent: 874 Feet - 266 Metres
Summits: 4, Two Lads - Winter Hill - Noon Hill - Rivington Pike
Weather: Overcast, Feeling Brisk Where Exposed. Highs of 1°C Lows of 0°C Feels Like -3°C
Parking: Georges Lane,Horwich
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 6.5
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: Hours Minutes
Route: Georges Lane - Wilderswood - Pike Cottage - Crooked Edge Hill - Two Lads - Rotary Lane - Winter Hill - Noon Hill - Belmont Lane (track) - Pigeon Tower - Rivington Pike - Pike Cottage - Wilderswood - Georges Lane

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: BL6 6RS
Grid Reference: SD 658 117


Map and Photo Gallery


Georges Lane, Horwich 08:45am 0°C

Within twenty five minutes of leaving home I arrived at a relatively deserted Georges Lane, my starting point for todays walk. I finish my coffee from my travel cup which is still piping hot so I sip at it until there's nowt left. Bright spells of sunshine had been forecast yet despite the high cloud light is unable to break through. It's a chilly start so I don't hesitate kitting up finishing off by wrapping my neck gaiter over my head then add my hat and gloves.

My nose has started to run already, I lock the car and follow Georges Lane as far as Wilderswood about half a mile away, I'm hoping by which time I'd have stopped snurching.

Looking back on Georges Lane from Wilderswood.
The few patches of road ice were easy to avoid as I took in the gentle slope towards Wilderswood where I could see the car park was full already seen over the wall on the right. I tend to assume the car park is always full no matter my time of arrival hence parking further back up Georges Lane, besides, I like the road walk between Georges Lane and Wilderswood.

Winter Hill and Two Lads from Wilderswood.
Despite having walked the area quite a lot I've never taken this alternative path to reach Two Lads which is very popular with mountain bikers and dog walkers.

Approaching Pike Cottage as Rivington Pike comes into view.
Ahhh I might have known Pike Snack Shack (snack cabin) would be busy even at this early hour. It's going to be difficult to pull myself away from the wafting smell of bacon.

Rivington Pike from behind Pike Cottage.
I took the Bridle way at the side of Pike Cottage now bound for Two Lads. The quicker the better because that bacon smelled heavenly.

Low sun from Two Lads summit.
The ground had completely frozen and was a pleasure to ascend Two Lads by, the kind of solid ground when your walking pole tip makes a reassuring thud when jabbed into the ground. Good stuff, no mud today I like that.

Winter Hill from the lower slopes of Two Lads.
Despite the foot bridge I've only ever crossed the stream via a long jump, the reason why is all that peaty mud on this side of the bridge. I bet there's many a folk's boot still in there!

Winter Hill transmitter mast from Rotary Way.
There's a cool breeze blowing which is causing the windchill to plummet so I take out my anemometer and record -3°C windchill but the tip of my nose reckons it's at least -6°C !!

Walkers approaching from the direction of Smithills Moor.
With a nice fiery sunrise in the distance.

Winter Hill summit and transmitter mast.
I passed the transmitter station sighting the memorial plaque where at the bottom reads "around the corner all is well" it's a sentence I've become really fond of during these uncertain times.

Sunrise and transmitter.
I've come to the end of Rotary Way where I hook a left towards Winter Hill summit noting the tarmac underfoot has a hard frost coating on it.

Winter Hill summit.
It was positively delightful to be able to access the summit without losing a boot for a change!

Spitlers Edge and Richmond's Edge from Winter Hill summit.

Belmont Reservoir, Belmont Village, Darwen Moor and Tufton Moor from Winter Hill.
With a distant Darwen Tower seen lower left.


If you squint...
...you can just about make out Black Combe in the very distance.

Noon Hill comes into view.
During my last visit all of this was under a couple of inches of snow and the path was barely visible which swings left to avoid the wet depression seen right.

Winter Hill from Noon Hill.
i'd managed to keep my boots looking like new that was until the frozen ground let up for a short section leading up to Noon Hillm summit where the boggy ground had only semi-froze and in I went.

Winter Hill from Noon Hill.

Yarrow Reservoir and Anglezarke Reservoir from Belmont Road (track)
With Wilcocks Farm seen right.

The Pigeon Tower comes into view.
With Noon Hill behind me I continued along Belmont Road (track) towards the Pigeon Tower after being passed by many a cyclist and trail runner all the while dodging iced over puddles. There was no need to carry my walking Poles with just Rivington Pike left to summit I tie them back to the side of my pack.

Approaching Rivington Pike.
It'll be the direct ascent this morning via the steep steps instead of the alternate path which gently ascends around the waist of the fell.

Rivington Pike Tower.
Not as busy as I'd expected with less than half a dozen at the summit but there's plenty more approaching from the direction of Pike Cottage.

Looking back at Rivington Pike as I approach Pike Cottage.
I've still got a mile or so until I reach my car which I use to reflect on how much I needed todays walk, it wasn't as sunny as the forecasters had predicted and I managed to fall through the ice a few times but inside all the weeks from being away from open moorland have reignited my spark, you can't buy what the great outdoors can do to your mental health, sometimes you just gotta grab it.


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