This final entry relating to 2013 returns to familiar ground for me and Sue, but Phil and Sue hadn’t been here before. Andrew and Ruth live locally, so they certainly should be familiar…
From Rivington Hall Barn we took the direct path up to the Pigeon Tower. Built in 1910, and with Lady Leverhulme's sewing room on the top floor, it was renovated in 1974 and re-roofed in 2005.
After a pause for breath, and a bystander’s photo (see top of this posting), we continued on along the busy path to Rivington Pike Tower, 363 metres, a hunting lodge built in 1733. Unfortunately, access to the lodge and its spacious cellar is not available to the unwashed.
There are good views back to the Tower from the slightly damp path up to the mast laden summit of Winter Hill.
The main mast is 315 metres high – quite difficult to squeeze into one picture!
The summit trig point is nearby, beyond the site of a hideous murder in 1838. Blackpool Tower gleamed in the distance.
The steep, direct descent to Hordern Stoops is always very boggy, so we took a gentler north western path that eventually led us into some winter sunshine for lunch on a grassy bank near a bumpy track where mountain bikers are glad of their suspension.
Beyond Hordern Stoops, our route headed briefly north before descending to the north of the River Yarrow, continuing along the route of the White Bear Way that we’d joined before the summit of Winter Hill.
Beyond the ruins of Higher Hempshaws, we turned right onto a good track that wound its way slowly around to eventually descend to Lead Mines Clough. There were signs of re-wetting of the moorland to encourage wild life – sponsored by a wind farm whose turbines will no doubt decimate some of that wildlife!
There were excellent views back to the thin spike of the mast on Winter Hill that has been there since 1956, albeit the height of the mast was more than doubled in 1966. Imagine the furore if such a mast was erected these days.
Down at Lead Mines Clough Sue laboured at length to obtain an acceptable image of the waterfall. It’s in the short slideshow.
By the time we reached Alance Bridge, the sun had left the track but not the trees.
From here, we ambled back for a pot of tea at the barn, where despite the sun having gone down it was warm enough to enjoy our beverages outside – the weather seems unseasonably warm for the time of year, when we may normally expect to be slithering on ice.
Here’s our route, a classic circuit – 15 km, 400 metres ascent, taking us about 4 hours.