Friday, 8 November 2013

#33 Rooley Moor and Cowpe

14.29 Miles
761 Metres Ascent.

I have previously walked most of this route before, but todays plan was to see if I could make a nice extension (of about 2 miles) so I could use this route in winter when the conditions are a lot rougher.  Basically I need a route I can use in all weathers, to take that excuse away from me!

The Pennine bridleway is such a route, it might get a bit slutchy in places, but in the main it's useable all year round in all weathers.  The Rossendale Way round Cowpe Lowe could meet those needs.  Today was a good excuse to have a look.

It was a cold day (5C approx.) and the cloud base was fairly low.  The clouds mostly covered the wind farm on scout moor, with the bases only visible, disappearing into the mist.  As usual the walk up Rooley Moor was a good slog, with some view back over Rochdale.

The section round Cowpe Lowe began well with an obvious (if muddy) track round to a small reservoir.  At this point the signage disappeared and in fading light (yes I had set off late again!) it was hard to route find.  The GPS suggested a straightish path across a scruffy field, but this led to a confluence of ditches and streams, that naturally I leapt over like the mythical gazelle...

The path eventually led to a couple of caravans (great views but exposed to all weathers) before heading up towards the bridleway.  The path wasn't the clearest or the best, and as things get wetter will only get worse. 

No signs for miles then they use them all at once...
The sun was now fading fast, but the bridleway was easy to follow.  Its a risk walking without a torch, the shadows on the path provided enough info of what was underfoot, but it is still a risk.  Things got darker at Top of Pike, and the path rougher.  It was only now that I found out just how low the clouds had gotten.  Even on low power my head torch reflected badly on the mist, making it pretty useless for anything apart from blinding myself.

This could of been a fairly disconcerting moment, on the moors, in mist, in the dark but the bridleway is obvious to follow.  Typically in now began to rain, it is Whitworth after all!  Dropping down towards Prickshaw got me under the cloud and the head torch was back in use. 

A long walk with the last hour in darkness, winter is certainly on the way!

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