Rivington Pike sunset

24th October 2021

It was another grey but dry day and with no plans set aside by lunchtime I was checking the afternoons forecast which according to the Met Office was set to brighten up towards the end of the day.

For sometime I've been meaning to do a short sunset walk from Georges Lane, over Rivington Pike then using the last of the days light I would hike to Two Lads summit to see the red aircraft warning lights on the Winter Hill mast, why you might ask...because I can be a right geek when I want to be. The hike over the moorland is only a twenty minute walk from Wilderswood but it would be irresponsible not to take a head torch given how quickly it goes dark at this time of year.

Trouble was nothing ever turns out as planned from the forecast to a being caught in a deluge of low cloud which as I recall, I've never experienced on Rivington Pike before but the day didn't end too badly once the cloud eventually cleared.


Ascent: 751 Feet - 228 Metres
Summits: Rivington Pike
Weather: Cloudy With Some Drizzle. Cloud Dropping Around Sunset. Highs of 11 °C Lows of 10°C
Parking: Georges Lane, Horwich
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 4
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Route: Georges Lane - Wilderswood - Pike Cottage - Rivington Pike - Pike Cottage - Wilders Moor - Two Lads - Rotary Way - Georges Lane

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


Map and Photo Gallery


Lots of cloud about as I look out over Lower Rivington Reservoir towards Adlington 17:15pm 12°C
Despite the forecast reporting it would brighten up over Rivington I think what it actually meant was towards Southport pushing further north towards the Fylde Coast. As I was taking this photo from Pike Cottage it was actually starting to rain, still a fantastic view at least I hadn't come out for nothing I thought.

Rivington Pike from Pike Cottage.
I can see a few people standing on the summit but given that it's edging towards dusk most folk are heading back to their cars leaving me walking against the traffic.

Flipping fantastic light show.
No DSLR today just my mobile phone which has a mind of its own when taking pictures of sunsets, of the many I took only a couple would make it to the website.

Rivington Pike.
The rain stopped at about 17:30pm just in time for the plod up onto Rivington Pike summit.

Holy crap.
No views over Rivington Moor towards the mast this evening which means it doesn't look like I'll be heading to Two Lads after all...or would I ?

Not long to go now.
There was a huge gap between the cloud and the horizon but as the minutes ticked by that gap closed meaning despite a sudden show of light I never got a glimpse of the sun going down and not just that, the cloud behind me was now advancing from Winter Hill towards Rivington Pike.

With just minutes to go 17:45pm
The sun would have gone down at 17:53pm but the cloud moved so quickly that within minutes I'd lost views in every direction. There was a family sat on those benches a few moments ago but once the cloud moved in they left. It was just me and a photographer who'd set up his tripod looking west towards what was the sun setting.

Retreating back to Pike Cottage.
Looking forward to some tea when I got back I started to make my way towards Pike Cottage while still engulfed in cloud, it was quite nice really.

Pike Cottage and the Pike Snack Shack.
All locked up by now.

Heading out over Wilder Moor.

The original plan was if I was still going to gain Two Lads would have been to head over from the rear of Pike Cottage but given the low cloud/light I'd kinda lost interest but as I edged towards Wilderswood I could see large gaps of blue between the sheets of grey above me and knowing the area as well as I do I thought I'd give Two Lads a shot after all.

It's now 18:15pm and the light is fading quickly - in fact I was puzzled when after taking this shot in incredibly low light mobile phone camera did its best to include as much light as possible. Not long after taking this photo the light had completely faded as I was heading towards Two Lads in cloud when from nowhere I spot a young(ish) lad walking towards me "alright" I say "where does this path lead to mate I'm lost in this fog " he replied. I guided him back to Wilderswood which was just minutes away and he thanked me saying "I need one of those lights you've got on your head" Maybe, but a headtorch wouldn't stop you getting lost I thought.

Daft 0'clock on't moor.

By 18:30pm I was in complete darkness coming to the realisation that despite the aviation lights being switched on the cloud was so thick and low it was impossible to see them. Instead of gaining Two Lads I outflanked the summit and joined Rotary Way and continued to a point where I knew on a good day I'd be able to see the mast.

It was only another ten minutes walk and during that time I was passed by a fell runner who was also wearing a head torch and a 'Hi' was shared as we passed one another. Soon after I was stood with Two Lads over my shoulder looking into a void of nothing, no mast, no aviation lights just swirling mist. At 18:40pm I turned back and started to make my way back down Rotary Way.

The lights of Horwich, Adlington and Chorley from Rotary Way.
The cloud which took over the sunset had disbanded leaving a fiery afterglow below a sheet of grey cloud. Whatever I'd missed earlier this view was now making up for it.

What a way to end the day.


Lower Rivington Reservoir coming into view.
Over on the right.

Back on Georges Lane now.

Car headlights.

A couple of hours that wasn't in vain afterall.
Sunsets might not be everyones cup of tea but I really love them, here's hoping the next time I'm here the geek in me gets his wish. What a fantastic way to see out the last few hours of the day.


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