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West Pennine & Rossendale Walks

Great Hill & Winter Hill

Date: 5th Nov 2011
Distance: 10.9 miles
Ascent: 1650 feet
Time: 5 hours 25 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD665191

Walk Summary:
A long and often soggy slog in the West Pennine Moors visiting the tops of Great Hill, Winter Hill and Turton Moor.

Route Summary: Crookfield Road Car Park - Great Hill - Redmonds Edge - Spitlers Edge - Hordern Stoops - Winter Hill - Belmont - High Pasture House - Longworth Moor - Turton Moor - Big Grey Stones - Witton Weavers Way - Crookfield Road Car Park

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Winter Hill
Looking across Withnell Moor from Great Hill
Darwen Moor from Great Hill
The cross shelter on the top of Great Hill
Approaching Spitlers Edge from Great Hill
Winter Hill
Looking back at Spitlers Edge and Great Hill
A paraglider above Winter Hill
The main mast on Winter Hill
The view of Belmont from my route off Winter Hill
Looking back across Belmont to Winter Hill
On Turton Moor
The rash of rocks called Big Grey Stones
Looking back at Turton Moor


Walk Detail: Buoyed by a promising forecast I was really looking forward to another chance to explore some more of the West Pennine Moors. There was a light rain shower as I parked the car but as the sun looked like it was beginning to peek through the early morning cloud I was still hopeful of a fine day.

Unfortunately I made the mistake of leaving my gaiters in the car, an error I was to regret on a regular basis throughout what was one of the wettest walks underfoot that I've yet done. I wasn't helped by the fact that despite being less than a year old my Berghaus boots had long since ceased being waterproof and within twenty minutes of leaving the car my feet were already wet as I floundered about in the mire that was masquerading as a path.

Despite the soggy terrain it only took 40 minutes to get up on to the top of Great Hill from where I enjoyed susbstantial views which included, apart from the adjacent moors, prospects of Bowland and Pendle, Ingleborough and Whernside, as well as Black Combe and the Scafells.

From Great Hill I headed south on a flagged path which soon proved to be just as waterlogged in places as the surrounding moorland. Matters deteriorated even further on Spitlers Edge where for the next mile or so the path turned into a dark, wide, muddy stain on the ground. It was little consolation when a local walker told me that the ground was as wet up there as he'd ever seen it.

After crossing the road at Hordern Stoops I negotiated another muddy stretch before the steep but short climb up on to Winter Hill just below where a group of paragliders were practicing their skills. High level cloud that was just thick enough to block the sun had meant that the fine weather that had been promised had failed to materialise. Frustratingly there was a wide expanse of blue sky out over the Irish Sea which stayed in view for almost the entire duration of the walk but which stubbornly remained out there all day.

Briefly on the pleasant descent from Winter Hill into Belmont the sun did brake through the cloud barrier but this lasted just a matter of minutes. For the next mile or so through Belmont, across the reservoir dam, and then up the access road to Higher Pasture House I was able to enjoy some solid ground underfoot and give my soaking feet some respite.

The next stage was a pathless crossing of Longworth Moor to reach the highest point of Turton Moor near Hanging Stones. The latter proved to be very disappointing, more impressive were the nearby Big Grey Stones, a surprisingly substantial rash of rocks for the West Pennine Moors.

Although the paths had thus far been very wet the nadir was the path just below Big Grey Stones. Path is perhaps the wrong description as in reality it was a two metre wide strip of thick black oozy mud which in most places was at least ankle deep. After sliding and sloshing my way along that I eventually arrived at a slightly drier path, forming part of the Witton Weavers Way, which I followed down off the moor and back to the car park.

Sadly this could not really be described as an enjoyable walk, mainly due to the conditions underfoot. I did enjoy the view from Great Hill though and I would definitely go back up there again - only a after a dry spell though.

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