Ascent of Coire An War Memorial

Inspired by Jon’s tale of the Alps, and the weekend snow, we thought we’d make an attempt on the toughest winter climb in Leicestershire—the imposing 212m of the hill in Bradgate Park, just North of Leicester!

We started from the attractive village of Newtown Linford, where we discovered one of the disadvantages of a thatched roof—they collect a very impressive array of icicles in winter. One cottage looked like the owners could have got concussion just by walking out their front door!

We quickly made our way up onto the snow-covered hills. Conditions were good, with firm ice in many places, but deep drifts of soft snow, particularly in the tall bracken. Our first objective was the hill with the war memorial on top, where Rachel attempted a particularly challenging winter route in the Coire below the summit.

Rachel at the base of Coire An War Memorial.
Rachel at the base of Coire An War Memorial.

From there we headed through the woods to Old John’s Tower, and then past the mysteriously-named Sliding Stone enclosure—the only sliding this day was on sledges—towards Cropston Reservoir, pausing only to fall waist-deep into a snow-filled ditch.

Through the woods to Old John's Tower.
Through the woods to Old John’s Tower.
Having tasted success on the hills, Rachel was determined to climb everything in sight, starting with this impressive dead tree!
Having tasted success on the hills, Rachel was determined to climb everything in sight, starting with this impressive dead tree!

On our way back we stopped to check out the local wildlife. Bradgate Park is well known for its deer, and they were looking particularly photogenic in the snow. Fortunately, Rachel didn’t try to climb any of them!

An impressive set of antlers. Fortunately, Rachel didn't try to climb these!
An impressive set of antlers. Fortunately, Rachel didn’t try to climb these!
It's cold work feeding in the soft snow!
It’s cold work feeding in the soft snow!
More of the same.
More of the same.