Panorama from Rivington Pike.
On Sunday I was in Rivington with my local rambling club where Margaret was leading the ‘A’ party walk. The plan was to visit the masts on top of Winter Hill and the tower on Rivington Pike. About 11 miles, I should be able to manage that.
We set off from the Lower Barn in Rivington to walk through the village and alongside Upper Rivington Reservoir.
We continued past Yarrow Reservoir which we could not see because of the high embankment before joining the lakeside path along Anglezarke Reservoir. We reached High Bullough Reservoir where we had the first of out unplanned diversions, missing a signpost and continuing round the reservoir.
Back on track we headed for Manor House Farm where after a few yards of road walking we could join a clear track that would lead us east towards Winter Hill and the transmitter masts. We could just about see them in the distance.
We strode out confidently but the track seemed to be veering off to the north. A quick glance at my GPS confirmed that we were off course. Our second unplanned diversion. We had seen no sign of a waymark or signpost so we had to backtrack for a couple of hundred yards until we saw a gate in the corner of the field. As we approached we saw that there were two gates about 20 yards apart, so which one do we take.
We glanced over the first gate and right in front of us was a memorial, not marked on the map.
It is in memory of the pilot and five crew of a Wellington Bomber Zulu 8799 that crashed on Anglezarke in November 1943. The plane had taken off from 28 Operational Training Unit at Wymeswold in Leicestershire on a night time training exercise known as a bullseye mission. The pilot was Flight Sergeant Joseph B Timperon who came from Alice Springs in Australia. He was attached from the Royal Australian Air Force.
We followed the path from the memorial but this to was heading north. Time to retrace out steps once again. The second path took us to a footbridge crossing Lead Mines Clough and on towards Simms. The map showed a path crossing Sam Pasture but nothing was evident on the ground. Instead we found ourselves in the middle of some very marshy ground which tested the waterproof qualities of our boots. We located a footpath running alongside the River Yarrow which at least was heading in the right direction.
We now had to make a decision. We had wasted a lot of time and Winter Hill seemed as far away as ever. We decided to head south to pick up the Rivington Road but this also involved some interesting bits.
The road was very busy especially with motor cyclists who came speeding round the bends. Fortunately we only had a short distance walk along the road before turning off along a footpath that would take us to a car park and on to Rivington Pike.
The track was very rocky but led us to the tower.
The summit of Rivington Pike was not to far away but it was all uphill. We should just about have time to do it.
The summit stands at 1191 feet high and is the most westerly high point of Winter Hill in the West Pennine Moors. The summit was the site of one of a series of beacons across England and was once part of an early warning system. The beacon was put in place by Ranulph de Blunderville, the 4th Earl of Chester around 1139 following a raid by Scottish soldiers in 1138. The beacon was lit on 19th July 1538 to warn of the Spanish Armada heading towards England. The beacon was lit in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II
The present Pike Tower was built by John Andrews and completed in 1733.
Looking across towards Winter Hill it was good to see that the vegetation had regrown following the wildfires of last summer.
The descent through Lever Park brought us to Rivington Hall Barn where we thought of stopping for a pint but it was very busy with hundreds of motor cyclists gathered there. We carried on to The Lower Barn for a welcome cup of tea.
It had been an interesting day but the OS Map was not up to, its normal standard and the way marking was inadequate. Must give it another try.