Winter Hill via Counting Hill

16th November 2021

I knew yesterday when I thought about walking Winter Hill that the forecast wasn't the best but a part of me kept two fingers crossed hoping that it might change, it didn't. Dealing with grief doesn't come easy to me, I guess it doesn't to anyone because we are all affected differently aren't we.

I'm not good at the best of times at staying in the house I need to keep myself occupied hence why I chose to walk this afternoon in visibility so low at times I was unable to see the end of my nose but being outside for me helps and the low cloud, well, that actually made the walk and enabled me to do some thinking while slurping over the moorland.


Ascent: 700 Feet - 213 Metres
Wainwrights: 2, Counting Hill - Winter Hill
Weather: Overcast With Mist & Low Cloud. Light Winds Across The Summits Highs of 10°C Lows of 9°C
Parking: Layby, Colliers Row Road, Smithills Dean
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 6.5
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Route: Colliers Row Road - Coal Pit Lane - Dean Mills Reservoir - Counting Hill - Winter Hill - Rotary Way - Holden's Plantation - Holdens Farm - Coal Pit Lane - Coliers Row Road

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: BL1 7PJ
Grid Reference: SD 682 124


Map and Photo Gallery


Approaching upper Roscow's Tenements Clough 13:45pm 9°C
You can see Winter Hill from most parts of Wigan and when you can't it usually means the cloud is down and it's raining, well it wasn't raining but the cloud was low enough to hover just above the tree tops, still I was determined to try and enjoy this afternoons walk.

Looking down on upper Roscow's Tenements Clough.
By crossing the footbridge over Roscow's Tenements Clough will eventually cross over Smithills Moor but today I'm heading for Counting Hill, an area of Winter Hill that I discovered during lock down last year.

Heading for Dean Mills Reservoir.
It's a good job I wasn't hoping for any views today.

Dean Mills Reservoir.
Only the sound of a distant chain saw broke the eerie silence as I walked around the reservoir.

Ascending Counting Hill.
I say ascent what little there is goes unnoticed as I slurp my way over the moorland.

Counting Hill.
Where the wild grasses brought a dash of colour to an otherwise grey day.

Approaching Winter Hill now.
Despite the soggy conditions I made good time crossing Counting Hill reaching the east access gate to Winter Hill after half an hour or so. By now the temperature had dropped confirmed because I could now see my breath as it escaped into the cold air.

Two transmitters loom out the cloud.
Then as quickly as they appeared they disappeared.

Winter Hill summit trig point.

Had it not been for the low pitch drone of the transmitters cooling fans I wouldn't have known they were there as I walked towards Winter Hill summit which, when reached I heard the sound of a chain being undone followed by voices and a cough. Flipping scared the life out of me at first before realising they must have been work men checking on the last transmitter at the north west corner of the summit.

At least I hoped they were work men.

Through a faint gap in the cloud.
Winter Hill transmitter mast appeared.

Adam Hil (R) and Burnt Edge (L)

I thought about returning via Smithills Moor but my socks said they'd had enough of feeling damp so I kept them happy by walking back along Rotary Way until I reached the footpath bound for Holden's Plantation.

Two Lads was well below the cloud with only the outlines of the hill appearing periodically and with time pushing on I gave Two Lads a miss.

The path takes your past Holdens Farm.
Where I said hello to three horses.

There's still a few trees still holding onto their leaves.
Providing some much loved colour to the landscape.

Crossing the bridge over lower Roscow's Tenements Clough.

Looking down on Roscow's Tenements Clough

Sun setting over Horwich.

It was 16:15pm by the time I arrived back at my car which was two minutes after the official sunset yet given todays murky views I never paid the sunset any thought until I arrived back at my car from where I could see the street lights of Bolton and Manchester flickering on.

I was facing south and with the sunset further west so I thought I'd drive to a high point on Georges Lane just to see if I could get a glimpse of the sunset, it paid off. This photo was taken a few minutes before driving home around 16:45pm.


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