Great Hill a whaleback of a hill.
Great Hill a whale back of a hill.

Where is it: Tockholes near Darwen and Blackburn, Lancashire.

In which area: The West Pennine Moors

How tall is it: 1250 feet (approx)

Write up

Few people whom live outside the area would knowingly climb Lancashire’s Great Hill, for it does not sell itself well. Being of a modest height, notoriously sodden terrain and overlooked on two sides by a much bigger and more notorious hill on the south side and a decorated hill on it’s east side, one would be inclined to wonder why it is ascended at all?

The slabbed path to Great Hill from Redmonds Edge.
The slabbed path to Great Hill from Redmonds Edge.

Great Hill appeals strongest to the lovers of moorland for this can be so typical of the west Pennine moors as to be almost a flagship for them! In superabundance are an ever-present wind, heather, sticky mud, water, water and more water – and the odd tumbling drystone wall which from a distance looks like an ancient hilltop cairn! True this is not sounding like positive public relations for Great Hill but as anyone from Lancashire will tell you – there’s beauty in them bogs!┬áThe views from the summit towards the mighty mass and masts of Winter Hill are particularly impressive, lesser so – but still worth seeking-out; is the view across the racetrack that is the A675; towards Darwen’s Jubilee Tower sat at the hub of a collection of small but perfectly accessible sub 1500′ hills. Given the amount of reservoirs and natural waters in this area one might liken the region to a smaller more moist version of the Lake District!

There are ridge routes to link up most of the summits – the most infamous being the stretch of stone flags that spans from the base of Great Hill over Redmonds Edge onto Spitlers Edge to merge with Rivington Lane from where the ascent of Winter Hill can be made. Rest assured those who traverse of Swirrel, Sharp and Striding Edge – the ridge routes here are a little bit wider than those knife-edges to which you have become familiar!

Great Hill looking far more majestic from this angle than others.
Great Hill looking far more majestic from this angle than others.

By way of contrast there is a collection of paths from Great Hill which would lead the walker to White Coppice with it’s cricket ground that could be described as the quaintest in the county. Nearby are woods, man-made water channels, trial shafts and natural ravines … and the ever-present mud, never forget about the mud!