Sunset from Two Lads

30th October 2021

Well what a washout the week has turned out to be so much so by Thursday I'd given up planning a walk in Lakeland where I'd had my heart set on walking Harter Fell and Hard Knott from Jubilee Bridge, oh well tis the season of changeable weather.

The downpours continued throughout the morning all be it between spells of sunshine but the afternoon forecast was much better so I thought I'd take advantage of what was supposed to be a bright end to the day before more rain arrived through the night. After succumbing to cloud while watching the sunset last weekend I kinda took this evenings walk with a pinch of salt 'it is what it is' kind of attitude but within minutes of setting off I knew I was in for something special.


Ascent: 722 Feet - 221 Metres
Summits: 2, Winter Hill - Two Lads
Weather: Feeling Mild In The Sunshine, Cold At Summit Levl. Highs of 11°C Lows of 9°C
Parking: Roadside Parking, Geroges Lane, Horwich
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 5
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Route: Georges Lane - Rotary Way - Smithills Moor - Rotary Way - Winter Hill - Rotary Way - Two Lads - Rotary Way - Georges Lane

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


Map and Photo Gallery


Two Lads and Winter Hill Mast from Rotary Way 16:00 11°C

After taking Brad and Holly out for their daily walk I returned home, got changed and drove to Horwich, I parked easily on Georges Lane where I was overlooked by a sun which had about an hour and a half of light left before it turned in for the day. Water was everywhere if it wasn't draining from the fields I could hear it flowing through the sewers below Georges Lane, it kinda felt like mother nature was licking its wounds while at the same time showing all she had to offer. This day isn't over just yet.

As I lace up I'm passed by a of group children riding horses who belong to a local riding school and just the same as last week I stride out against the traffic most of whom are heading back to their cars no doubt to settle in for the evening but the evening is still young and I'll be doing the same later.

Skies clearing over Lancashire.
The sunset is timed around 17:43pm (much earlier tomorrow as the clocks go back this tonight) leaving me with just over an hour and a half to complete todays route which I've altered from last week choosing to watch the sunset from Two Lads instead of Rivington Pike.

Winter Hill from Rotary Way.
I really enjoyed the 'off piste' route I took over Smithills Moor last weekend so much so I've decided to walk it again this evening. Rotary Way swerves left then directly towards the mast whereas today I'll be cutting straight through the moorland before rejoining Rotary Way just prior to reaching the mast.

From Rotary Way...
...I take in the view towards Counting Hill.

Tramping through Smithills Moor.
"What do you mean tramping!" The path isn't always as prominent or dry for that matter but I prefer it than the tarmac of Rotary Way.

Looking back on Burnt Edge.
Rotary Way was nowhere near as busy as it was last week as I can usualy see peoples heads bobbing up and down as they walk two and from the mast. This evening there's no one around but me and a few...


Scotmans Stump.
Erected in memory of pack man George Henderson who was murdered close to this site back in 1838. I never knew the true origins of the murder until I was researching the area a couple of weeks ago when I learned that George had been shot through the head and was found alive an hour later. His last words were "I am robbed I am killed" before expiring.

Winter Hill summit and Transmitters.
Still on track the evenings plan is to approach the summit not from Rotary Way but via a footpath alongside transmitter 6 (far right) which allows fantastic views over Belmont village and reservoir.

Just under the hour until sunset.

Looking back on Counting Hill.
I left Rotary Way and followed the path onto the shoulder of Winter Hill while skirting through wet peat, moss and puddles galore but it was great to in the wild grass looking back on my favourite, Counting Hill.

Taking in the view.
Over Belmont village , Belmont reservoir, Longworth and Turton Moors with a distant view of Darwin Tower seen far left.


Winter Hill summit trig point.
I made a short pathless traverse over the shoulder and soon reached the summit trig point after a few hop, skips and jumps over the saturated ground. I'm bang on track and with minutes to spare I soak in breeze which nips at the tips of my fingers causing my nose to run and eyes to water...all the traits of this hill walker enjoying the last few hours of daylight.

Long distant views towards Bootle docks and Liverpool Bay highlighted here by the visible 100m high tower cranes.
That's over 25 miles away as the crow flies.

Linking back up with Rotary Way 17:05pm
I left Winter Hill summit not before swilling my boots in a deep puddle next to one of the transmitters. Winter Hill is generally quite a busy place especially during the day but it would seem I've had it all to myself since leaving the car earlier. It's very rare you feel alone up here but tonight that's exactly how it feels.

The wider view.
With Liverpool Bay still visible all those miles away.

Another close up.
In this image the summit of Rivington Pike appears towards the right of the anchor.

Winter Hill transmitter station.
I know didley squat about radio and digital frequencies but I'd gladly brush up and make cups of tea all day long if it meant I could take in these views everyday.

Sun setting behind Winter Hill transmitter mast.
I went off piste a little to line up the sun going down directly behind the mast and when I viewed the photo when I got home the first thing I thought was wow followed by who's eaten a chunk out of the mast!

Man gets swallowed by peet bog...

...would have been the news headlines if I hadn't managed to free myself from the moment I walked two feet into knee deep bog. A little panic ensued because seconds earlier while tracking back to the safety of the tarmac I'd been thinking about the eighty or so mine shafts that used to be dotted around this whole area.

Panic over and a little embarrassed I return to the safety of Rotary Way.

Cloud is gathering.
Which just adds to the dramatics.

Hard to ignore.
The unfolding views.






Not long left now 17:30pm
Tracing back to Rotary Way with camera in hand I made my way towards Two Lads where I was passed by a fell runner and a chap who was walking towards the mast. He was well out of speaking distance but a wave was shared non the less. Arriving at a deserted Two Lads summit I found myself a large flat stone, sat down and added a pair of gloves and beanie.

Sun setting from Two Lads summit.
With Lower Rivington Reservoir below.

The sun emerges below the cloud.
Momentarily illuminating the hill side.

The wider view.
As the street lights of Adlington, Chorley and Horwich begin to flicker on.

The sun sank into a bank of low cloud and all around the light faded with what felt like the flick of a light switch but I was determined to see the sunset through the end. It's getting mighty cold now.

The end of another day.
My phone rang, it was Paula asking what time I'd be home as tea was nearly ready...I did a quick calculation in my head and replied just gone seven, my hands were flipping freezing but I just couldn't pull myself away.

Two Lads.

A layer of mist builds across the horizon.

More lights start to appear.

And finally...
...I tell myself it's time to go.

Bolton at night from Two Lads.

Heading back to the car with views of Horwich.

It must have been close to zero as I flicked the switch over on my head torch and began the descent back to Rotary Way my breath illuminated by the light of my head torch. Blowing warm air into cupped fist I soon rejoined Rotary Way before glancing back on Two Lads which by now had faded into the night.

Approaching Georges Lane from Rotary Way I could see into the kitchens of nearby cottages where families gathered around tables or checked on ovens. A large TV mounted to one wall was showing a game on Sky Sports as the slam of a back door being closed brought me back to reality and Georges Lane which by now was pitch black.

With my car less than 300 yards away I walked the lane towards my car before being passed by a mountain biker at full pelt, scared the life out of me he did. I unlocked my car and in doing so activated the cars auto headlights which illuminated the lane as far as the stables while below distant fireworks exploded into the night.


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