Sunday, 27 January 2013

Winter Coope’s (half) Dozen – 26 January

Last night’s snow put paid to our plans for a weekend in the Lake District but also provided an opportunity for an attempt on a Winter Coope’s Dozen. Traditionally run on the last Saturday in July, Coope’s Dozen is circuit of the dozen summits on and around Winter Hill and although it has been attempted previously in winter it hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, been completed. Parking near the usual starting point at the Upper Barn didn’t seem likely so Albert, Tom and met at Crown Point in Horwich and set off from there.

On the way to Noon Hill we met Ed who has some photos here. Before the summit we were joking about not having brought torches, little realising that, had we completed the Dozen, we would have needed about 3-4 hours of darkness in addition to all the remaining hours of daylight. Before reaching Rivington Pike the cloud base dropped making navigating even more of a challenge.

20130126_001_winterhill-5-EditTrees below Rivington Pike

Beyond the Two Lads deep snow covered all traces of the trods, bogs, streams and the deep holes. Poor visibility forced us to head more directly for the track from Coal Pit Road. This seemed like a good idea, in fact, it was the only idea but none of us realised how often we would have to “swim” out of waist deep snow drifts and deep holes. Eventually we found the track, more or less. “More or less” because while we weren’t actually on it, although the walker we met thought we all were on it, it was close enough for Albert to find it. While sorting out where we actually were, we watched the walker head off in the wrong direction and we were hoping he wasn’t following our tracks.

20130126_002_winterhill-11-EditThe Shooting Hut



20130126_003_winterhill-16-EditTowards Scout Moor Road




20130126_004_winterhill-21-EditSouth West towards Cheshire


20130126_005_winterhill-26-EditSouth from below Counting Hill towards Manchester

By now it was clear we would do well to get half of the Dozen and after more swimming in deep drifts decided Counting Hill could be left for another day so we headed for the Ramp and the top of Winter Hill itself.


20130126_007_winterhill-32-EditTom and some of the icicles

20130126_006_winterhill-30-EditMore of the icicles – the same size as those above

20130126_008_winterhill-33-EditTom at the Two Lads for the second time today – we were all a bit less weary the first time

20130126_009_winterhill-34-EditThe Masts

20130126_010_winterhill-36-EditFrom the Two Lads towards Rivington Pike

20130126_011_winterhill-41-EditHorwich and beyond

A Winter Coope’s Dozen was beyond us today but it will be there for next time. As Tom said, “It is brilliant to get a real sense of adventure on a local hill.” This was when we were making painfully slow progress towards Rivington Pike in near zero visibility with very little idea where we actually were or indeed the direction we were heading in – he was absolutely right. A brilliant day out – thanks to both Albert and Tom.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Coniston Fells – 19 January

On a very cold day with the cloud base around 2000ft Colin and I were undecided where to go when we turned off the M6 towards the fells. After several rounds of reconsideration we settled on the Coniston fells. Slightly surprised by how little snow there was on the road and by how little wind there was in the town. Up through the old mine workings for the last of the views before the clouds engulfed us.






















The above are all in or looking back down to Copper Mines Valley – we both took plenty of pictures on the way up knowing there would be little to see on or, indeed, between the tops and so it proved. Conditions deteriorated considerably after we were above the cloud base. The temperature dropped to –5C and the wind picked up to about 30mph to produce a wind chill effect of –24C.

20130119_010_Coniston-132-EditSummit Cairn – Coniston Old Man

20130119_011_Coniston-136-Edit-2Trig Point – Coniston Old Man

20130119_012_Coniston-137-EditSummit Cairn – Swirl How

20130119_013_Coniston-141-EditSummit Cairn – Wetherlam

20130119_014_Coniston-142-EditLone Walker approaching Wetherlam summit

After Wetherlam the weather was a little more benign, not any warmer but without the fierce wind that blasted through the hauses at about 40mph to make progress difficult on a couple of occasions. These were slightly unusual conditions as very little of the snow lay where it had landed – much of the snow has been scoured from the rocks to produce icy rocks between thigh deep snow drifts, neither of which make for quick progress.



20130119_016_Coniston-157-EditTwo views of Coniston to conclude a brilliant winter’s day on the fells

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Solway Firth – 12 January



Travelling north to celebrate my Dad’s birthday we stopped briefly to have a look back at Cumbria, across the Solway Firth.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Healey Nab – 05 January

After struggling for a few days with a cold I managed out for a few miles over Healey Nab to help Andy complete a celebratory “Coope’s Dozen” over Winter Hill. Meeting him after he had done about 13 miles meant it wasn’t too difficult to keep up and it was an unusual experience running the last few miles of the route on fresh legs. Earlier in the day, when I took Pauline to an earlier part of the route, the sky over Winter Hill was quite spectacular.


20130105-winterhill-102-EditRivington Reservoirs

20130105-winterhill-106-EditWinter Hill

20130105-winterhill-111-EditAnglezark & Rivington Reservoirs

20130105-winterhill-114-EditWhite Coppice

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year in the Dales - 01 January

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley but, for once, to our benefit. Weeks ago we tried and failed to book a room at the Old Hill Inn in the Dales for New Year’s Eve. As the morning of the 31st December drew to a close the phone rang and we learned the room was available so we dashed to Yorkshire to bring in 2013.

20121231-NewYear-108Sunset approaching in the Lune Valley

20121231-NewYear-104Flooded Lune Valley

After a thoroughly good night with two old friends and two new friends we breakfasted and walked up to Great Douk Cave to blow the cobwebs away. The cobwebs went along with our hangovers but my cold continued to develop with a vengeance.

20130101-NewYear-142-EditGreat Douk Cave outflow is too much for Colin

20130101-NewYear-15-EditGreat Douk Cave outflow (2)

20130101-NewYear-7-EditGreat Douk Cave outflow (3)

20130101-NewYear-18-EditLooking towards Great Douk Cave

20130101-NewYear-136-EditTowards Ingleton