Monday, 5 March 2012

Winter Hill - 03 March

An early start in an attempt to beat the rain to Winter Hill didn’t work – the rain was almost there as I turned to descend to Pike Cottage. The low clouds swirled around at about the same height as the Two Lads meaning it was possible to drop below the cloud base from time to time but most of the route was going to be in or just below the clouds. There were no grand vistas to be seen and very little colour but even mornings like these have their own pleasures. The first Lapwings and Curlews of the year and a small Woodpecker were all seen and heard so Spring can’t be so far away.

20120303-winterhill-1Pike Cottage at the end of badly eroded path and below the cloud base

20120303-winterhill-4Log chopping area at Pike Cottage

The piles of sawdust and chippings produced an effect almost like a golden sunbeam shining through the clouds and striking the ground. This was probably the only colour until the rain clouds blew away several hours later when I was almost finished.

20120303-winterhill-5Pigeon Tower at the corner in Georges Lane

After Winter Hill and Rivington Pike I headed north to Great Hill and the woods near Brinscall before heading back to Horwich over Healey Nab for just over 20 miles, most of them in rain and clag. This year’s High Peak Marathon started last night and the fastest team would be just about thinking about dropping into Edale and finishing – I doubt the conditions were any more enjoyable for them and I spared them a thought as I ploughed through more peat bog.


20120303-winterhill-7Ruins of Drinkwater’s Farm on Great Hill

20120303-winterhill-12Sunshine on the Devil’s Staircase

20120303-winterhill-14Sunshine through the woods above Horwich

Perhaps this weekend will signal the end of the worst of winter – snow fell on the Peak, the Cumbrian fells and the hills further north but it doesn’t look like it will stay for any length of time. Next weekend is the 32 mile Howarth Hobble which will be a testing day even if the weather is fair. I have a terrible record of not eating enough, not drinking early enough and not pacing the early miles but this year I am going eat enough, drink early enough and start steadily, honest.

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