Winter Hill & Two Lads Sunset

27th November 2022

It had rained cats and dogs yesterday which wasn't so bad a hardship as I spent the morning in work. Today looked the better day out of the weekend but if I'm honest, I needed a rest day. It was meant to be a bright day but high level cloud had crept in by mid morning which kinda hung around for the rest of the day, that said, at least it wasn't raining.

I'd taken Brad and Holly out on a three miler early this morning, ate lunch and left home for Winter Hill which saw me arrive at Wilderswood around 14:30pm which was just enough time to complete a short circuit of Winter Hill just in time for the sunset.


Ascent: 601 Feet - Metres
Summits: 2, Winter Hill - Two Lads
Weather: Overcast With Sunny Spells. Highs of 10°C Lows of 8°C Freezing At Height
Parking: Parking Spaces, Wilderwood
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 4
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 1 Hours 30 Minutes
Route: Wilderswood - Rotary Way - Smithills Moor - Winter Hill - Rotary Way - Two Lads - Pike Cottage - Wilderswood

Map and Photo Gallery


Winter Hill seen across Smithills Moor.

Despite the weather not turning out quite as forecasted there was still plenty of folk about confirmed by how busy the car park was at Wilderswood where I drove straight into a space just after another car had left.

There was no need for a pack but I pocketed my new pair of finger-less mitts and beanie into the pockets of my Rab down. Within minutes of parking I'd locked up and passed through the gate before joining the path towards Two Lads which I will flank and summit on my return.

Winter Hill across Smithills Moor.
With two lads over my shoulder I left Rotary Way and decided to cross Smithills Moor using a path that I'd never used before which took me off the beaten path for a while.

Winter Hill summit.
Maybe crossing the moorland wasn't the brightest of ideas which gave way for concrete as I passed the Transmitter Station by which time the temperature had taken a dip, the wind had picked up and I was able to see my own breath.

Returning from Winter Hill.
Even from the car the moorland is quite exposed and whatever is coming your way you've gotta accept it be it rain hail or shine but the real bizarre thing I noticed this afternoon was just how sudden the temperature flicked between valley and summit, almost like the click of a finger. I'd left Winter Hill wearing my hat and beanie and noticed anyone walking towards me were also adding layers.

25 minutes to sunset.
This was the first time I'd seen the sun all day which was sinking between two layers of cloud, it's the bit in-between I'm interested in.


Two Lads summit.

With only quarter of an hour of light left folk including mountain bikers were still heading for Winter Hill the later would soon be making their return.

I however, had done some Olympic bog dodging and made my way towards Two Lads summit with a few minutes to spare before the sun went down.

By now the sun had dipped between the upper cloud, illuminated the moorland in a fiery afterglow and was edging its way down into the lower section of cloud. Utterly amazing if you enjoy sunsets as much as I do.


Into the cloud.



With light to spare I left Two Lads and made the decision to cross Crooked Edge Hill, that way I'd be walking towards the setting sun, or what was left of it. As a couple made their way towards the summit I began my descent sighting two walkers stood still watching the sun go down before they too began their descent. Next I'm passed by a solo lady who looked up with a 'hi' followed by a fell runner with cheery 'how do' By now the sun had descended into the lower bank of cloud and what light there was continued to fade.

Pike Cottage was lit up in rope lights while below lights flicked on over the towns of Horwich and Adlington. The tempreature had risen but only slightly and not even for me to remove my mitts and beanie. A young couple sat at one of the tables thier hands cradling hot cups as they too watch the last light erupt into a fiery afterglow. Down at valley level it was beginning to get dark and I was able to see the brake lights of cars some five miles away. Folk scattered the lane here and there walking back to their cars as the silence of the night drew further in.


Back to top