Winter Hill & Two Lads from Georges Lane

17th October 2021

I wasn't too put off by this weekends dreary forecast just as well I was working yesterday and I was quite looking forward to having a lie-in followed by a free day of doing nothing. Bang went the lie-in and by lunch I was checking the forecast which predicted a 60% chance of rain by 3pm.

It was already 12pm and if I was going to shift my ass I needed to do it straight away...a quick scoot up Winter Hill was just what the doctor ordered which should see me home and dry before the rain arrived.


Ascent: 680 Feet - 208 Metres
Summits: Winter Hill
Visiting: Two Lads
Weather: Overcast But Feeling Mild, Nippy Where Exposed Drizzle & Light Rain Later. Highs of 14°C Lows of 13°C
Parking: Georges Lane, Horwich
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 5
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 1 Hours 50 Minutes
Route: Georges Lane - Rotary Way - Smithills Moor - Winter Hill - Rotary Way - Two Lads - Pike Cottage - Wilderswood - Georges Lane

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


Map and Photo Gallery


Rivington Pike from Rotary Way 1:15pm 13°C
The forecast had put most off and I was able to park easily on Georges Lane. Aside the usual summit of Winter Hill I'm not sure of the route I'll be taking which I'll make up as I go along.

A close up of Two Lads.
Seems busy up there this afternoon.

Smithills Moor.

The first 300ft of ascent when starting from Georges Lane is quite steep but the perfect warm up where once gained the terrain levels I could drop down a gear with the steepest ascent behind me.

Rotary Way wasn't exactly busy with walkers but I could see a large group ahead of me with a few keeping up from the rear so I decided to leave Rotary Way and gain the best part of the summit via this grassy track which narrows to a singular track up ahead.

Which was quite wet in places.
Still, I'm loving the colour of the wild grass at this time of year.

Site of collapsed pit.

It was quite murky and cloud would drop then lift and so on but then I knew I was heading in the right direction. Having never used the path before I soon spotted the top of the concrete pillar which marks the site of a collapsed pit and I instantly got my bearings after visiting the pillar this Summer.

The image on the right shows the collapsed pit to the right of the mast with a second unmarked pit further south. It's the only image I've seen of the pits taken during the construction of the mast from the top of the [original] mast.

Aerial view of Winter Hill mast during construction in 1969

Aye no views today.
After leaving the site of the collapsed pit I re-joined Rotary Way and made my way towards the Transmitter Station.

Eerie views of the Transmitter Mast.
As it disappears into low level cloud.

Winter Hill summit.
I passed the large walking group at the Transmitter Station and headed towards Winter Hill summit. It's always wet and boggy at this time of year and after negotiating a sea of puddles and bog I arrived at the trig point.

Looking back on Winter Hill summit.
From left to right Transmitters 3,4 & 5

Two Lads summit.
I returned to the Transmitter Station finding the large walking group just packing away after eating their lunch and smiles were exchanges as I passed. My pace quickened as I took in the decline towards Two Lads turning right from Rotary Lane and up the gentle slope towards the summit. I've been here many times more so during lock down and I've never had the summit to myself as I did today.

Rivington Pike from Crooked Edge Hill.
I thought I'd include Rivington Pike but changed my mind when spots of rain started to appear in the air followed by a misting of drizzle.

Rivington Pike from behind Pike Cottage.

The drizzle continued as I took in the steep descent towards Pike Cottage where I was passed by a woman fell runner who smilled "I'm really not feeling this today" I laughed back, I turned around and saw her ascent turn into a jog. Pike Cottage is always busy and the first thing which usually gives it away is the sound of dogs barking which was what my ears were treated to as I passed through the gate before appearing at the front of the cottage. I always kind'a feel like I'm crashing someone elses party because everyone who is sat down turns around when they hear the gate and more often than not you emerge right in the middle of the hot chocolate queue.

Dogs continued to bark while owners talked over them as I made the decision to abandon a summit and instead I'll walk back as the drizzle turned into light rain. The fairy lights of the Snack Shack left a warming sensation as I turned heel, soon all was quiet while over to the west a crack appeared in the cloud allowing shafts of light to spill over the Lancashire plain. With Wilderswood reached I was reminded of the last time I was here in Spring when I paused to listen to the bleat of new born Lambs in an adjoining field. I'm passed by a young family whose whippet reared onto its back legs only to place its paw into my hand "get down Chloe" said the owner as I cupped the paw and smiled "it's ok mate it's fine" By now the crack of light was intensifying and so too were the shafts of light which were spreading south over Cheshire.


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