Thursday, 10 September 2009

Winter Hill - again!

Not to be completely beaten and in desperate need of exercise and just getting out in the glorious sunshine yesterday I decided to make another attempt at Winter Hill!

The result? Well close, but still not close enough! I think it's not actually a matter of endurance but of planning; I don't have an exact route that I know will take me to the base of the transmitter and I ended up essentially guessing the way to go! I think if I really studied the map I might be able to get there! Anyway, this is a section of the route I took yesterday:

This was a much tougher route than last time and was almost all uphill with very little in the way of breaks where the road became easier. Also I took a footpath and bridleway at one point which kind of justified the mountain bike! This was the bridleway that I came along:

The views were, I have to say, stunning and I did reach an altitude 350m (1148ft) having travelled just over 17km (10.5miles) and could actually see much more of the transmitter across the valley.

I actually cycled back the exact way I came which is something I usually try and avoid doing. I did actually follow a rather muddy public footpath for a while (that's the tail end of the route shown in the Google Earth image at the top) but I had to turn back because of my fear of heights!

To explain that I little; I reached a sign which detailed the walking routes on Winter Hill and the one I was heading along would have taken me right next to a (from what I remember) large quarry. The mere thought of possibly cycling near something so big, high, and potentially dangerous was just too much. I am a little strange like that; not only do heights often scare me but the scale of things can also be unnerving. For example I find bridges intimidating both due to how high they are from the ground but also the size of the structure itself.

Anyway, the route back did give me a chance to see a quite spectacular panoramic view of parts of Lancashire looking towards Bolton and maybe even as far as Manchester (it was a clear day). I don't think this photo really captures the view properly (if only I'd had my girlfriend Rachel with me, I'm sure she would have been able to take a much better picture).

So, do I make a third attempt to reach the base of the Winter Hill transmitter or is this just going to be difficult or even scary based on the proximity to large quarries and equally menacing drops? Well, I'm pretty sure I know the exact route I need to take now so I may consider a third attempt if the weather holds up next week. Of course this does depend on interviews and the other commitments in my life!

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