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.

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