The Eleventh Winter Solstice Walk
This year we go to an iconic Yorkshire location to watch the sunrise from the famous Top Withins - the ruined farmhouse is said to have been the inspiration for the location of the Earnshaw family house "Wuthering Heights" in Emily Brontë's novel.
The Winter solstice walks have become a caching tradition, which is now in the 11th year. For some reason, there is a perverse enjoyment in getting up before the larks and climbing to a remote summit in the cold winter weather for day break to try and see the sunrise - so please come and join in the annual solstice walk. Over 280 will attends have been logged over the years. This year we head to Top Withins but we are not taking the tourist route - instead we are going in on the less visited westerly approach from Walshaw so hopefully it will be a new walk for many people.
- Saturday 12th January 2019.
- Meet at 6.15am. We aim to set off no later than 6.30am.
- Assemble at the the base of the Walshaw track (Pennine Way) - see trailhead in the waypoints
- The event is officially at Top Withins (listed coordinates) between civil twilight start, 7.39am and the official sunrise, 8.21am
There is a small car park and a variety of laybys and off road parking around the meeting point, please park sensibly. The location is reached via country roads and should it snow sufficiently that those roads become impassible we may change the walk route. Please log a will attend and remember to look out for announcements in the days before the event. The walk in from this side has been chosen as it will be a quiet route following the Pennine Way, reservoir tracks take us to the water and then the Pennine Way takes us across to Top Withins.
We are following the new timings laid down by Foinavon last year, so we aim to arrive at civil twilight during 'blue hour' and then watch the light change as 'golden hour' arrives and the sun rises.
We encourage you to join us for the walk which has always been a good laugh no matter the weather. However, the event itself takes place at Top Withins during the specified timings so you are more than welcome to make your own way up and meet us there - please state on your will attend whether we should expect you for the walk.
We are generally following the Pennine Way for the walk duration although may vary the route slightly for existing caches. The initial walk along the track shouldn't be too tough, but once we turn off it we will be on moorland footpaths leading across to Top Withins. These could well be boggy with potential areas of difficult terrain. Proper walking footwear and warm clothing is essential. Check the forecast - it may be below freezing, drinks and hair were frozen in 2009. There could be wind and rain, as those who climbed Black Hill will remember. Do not treat this walk lightly, it is a remote moorland location in Winter. We will do our best to look after everyone but we do suggest bringing your own torch and GPS etc in case you should need to navigate yourself off the hill for any reason.
This event has always been associated with the winter solstice even though it has never occured on the actual date of it. This was because for the 2009 event Foinavon just did a play on words for the event title. So in fact this event occurs at roughtly the latest sunrise of the year, this does not occur on the shortest day (i.e the Winter Solstice). If you are curious to know why, Google it.... something to do with the length of a Solar day in relation to 24 hours.
The definitions of twilight are:-
Astronomical Twilight - The stars begin to fade and dissapear. On our solstice day that will occur at 6.12am. We meet at this time.
Nautical Twilight - The horizon becomes visible and sailors can navigate. On our solstice day that will occur at 6.54am as we walk up.
Civil Twilight - This is what people regard as dawn. On our solstice day that will occur at 7.39am when we aim to arrive at Top Withins.
Sunrise - The disk of the sun becomes visible. On our solstice day that will occur at 8.21am.
The blue hour is the period of twilight in the morning or evening, during the civil and nautical stages. When the Sun is at a significant depth below the horizon and residual indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue shade favoured by photographers. The golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky.
History of the events.
Perfect Sunrise 2008,2010,2012 (we are due one!)
Visible Sunrise 2016, 2018
Total Mist and Fog 2011,2013,2014
A Raging Tempest 2015
Ice and Snow 2009,2017
10 winter walks - Foinavon
9 winter walks - bargee/Lodgebarn
8 winter walks - the Magna Defender