It was a lovely evening for this six mile exploration of Hail Storm Hill, just to the south of Waterfoot.
Sue and I set off from the otherwise deserted picnic spot at Waterfoot at 7.30 and after a false start through someone’s garden we headed relentlessly upwards, overtaking a couple of mountain bikers, past the gardens of Rake Head and onto Brandwood Moor.
There is a single wind turbine on display as you rise to the south, but beyond the track junction, if you head towards that turbine, many more come into view.
Our mission to seek the summit of Hail Storm Hill took us first past Top of Leach’s trig point at 474 metres, which I’d visited before with Alan R and had a little difficulty persuading him that it wasn’t the highest point.
There’s a stone pillar here inscribed with the names of some of the local towns – Bacup, Whitworth, Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Rossendale, I think.
The other direction, from a higher point, reveals the wind farm.
We walked to this other point that looked higher than Top of Leach, then through the shadow of the whirling blades and along the access track for a while, trying to minimise the amount of bog needing to be crossed to reach our target. Just 800 metres of it from this direction. Luckily it was fairly dry and no foot wetness was sustained.
Eventually we reached the summit – at 477 metres, the highest point in this area. Marked by a massive cairn of about four stones.
Heading north with good sunset views we passed through the mountain biking mecca of Cragg Quarry and soon regained the Pennine Bridleway, with good dusky views across Cowpe Reservoir to Bacup.
The Bridleway, which is also the Mary Towneley Loop at this point, took us nicely back to Waterfoot after just over two hours and a little more than 9 km with 276 metres ascent. Our actual route and other data is shown below. (Click on ‘View details’ to do exactly that!)
An excellent venue for a summer’s evening stroll – a shame nobody else could join us…