Posts tagged ‘Kinder Downfall’

February 14, 2015

Kinder – A night with a mermaid

by backpackingbongos

Mild weather and rain during the week had washed away most of the snow in the Peak District. A disappointment considering the amount that had fallen the previous weekend.

I had received an invite from Geoff and Chrissie to join them on a short backpack from Hayfield to Kinder Scout. They had just received a labrador friendly tent and were keen to test it. By the time I had driven over, eaten their food and drank their coffee it was late in the afternoon when we finally set off. Just three short hours before it got dark.

With it being their local stomping ground I left my map in my pack and followed them to Kinder Reservoir via a circuitous route through Little Hayfield and along White Brow.

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From Hayfield I have always gone up Kinder via William Clough or Sandy Heys, so it was new territory for me as we followed the path around the northern side of the reservoir. It was then pathless as we headed up the Kinder River.

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Geoff set off at a cracking pace along the river to Peter Nook woods, Chrissie following behind. Reuben thought that it would be better for us to have a slow amble up the path along the upper edge of the woods. The tortoise got to the Mermaids pool ten minutes before the hare.

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I arrived at the pool exactly at the same time as another chap with his Labrador, he having the same idea of a nice quiet wild camp. I however was intent on a grassy shelf a couple of hundred metres further on. The area surrounding Mermaids pool is a bit on the soggy side to be honest.

Chrissie and Geoff managed to get their brand new tent up without too much fuss, good going considering that there was a keen wind and they had only pitched it once in the garden. My Wickiup gave me a bit of trouble to start with. Being tall it is difficult to get the flysheet on when fighting against the wind. Reuben chose to shelter behind a tussock rather than offering any help.

Because of the windchill it was not an evening to sit outside socialising so we hung out in our individual tents. The most exciting moment being when Tilly came along to say hello and knocked over my coffee. Reuben is currently being trained to return the favour.

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The wind had died down by morning and there was the beginnings of a blue sky. The mermaid had not come along and drowned me in the pool during the night, as per the legend. My only mermaid reference point is Daryl Hannah in Splash so I’m sure it would not have been an entirely unpleasant experience.

We did not pick the easiest way onto the plateau, taking a direct line up impossibly steep slopes. The remaining slushy snow was best avoided. My asthma inhaler just about managed to keep my airways open as my lungs worked overtime on the near vertical grass.

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The going was much more pleasant on the path that winds its way along the edge of the plateau. Chrissie and Geoff put on their microspikes but I found picking a route from boulder to boulder much easier. Reuben and Tilly with their built-in spikes and Four Paw Drive had no problems at all.

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Kinder Downfall had the appearance of a set of giant organ pipes, great icicles hanging from the rocks. It was undergoing a transition from being frozen to its more usual liquid state. We took the three Knolls path back down to the valley just as cloud and mist swept in from the west. The plateau was soon hidden and a Peter Kay rain fell. Luckily we were dressed in Paramo so we were all snug, warm and dry and in the Paramo comfort zone.

Cheese on toast back at chez Crowther set me up nicely for the drive back home.

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April 7, 2014

A last minute night on Kinder Scout

by backpackingbongos

The plan had been to head to the Yorkshire Dales with Martin, however a bug laid him low.  I decided that it would be good to save the route for another time.  Maps were dug out and Kinder Scout caught my eye, its been a while since I have walked there.  After an email to Chrissie and a Twitter exchange with Yuri I got mine and Reuben’s bags packed.

I have needed a new pair of waterproof trousers for a while now, so took the opportunity to pop into Outside in Hathersage on the way up.  It was Reuben’s first time in an outdoor shop and he was more exited than I was.  It is difficult having a browse when you have a dog straining at the leash.  The best bit came when I needed to go into the changing rooms to try something on.  I handed Reuben over to one of the shop assistants, coming out to find him on his back with his belly in the air and getting a big fuss from other customers.

Yuri was picked up from Chinley station and we headed to Chrissie’s house in Hayfield just in time for lunch and coffee.  I don’t think that Chrissie really appreciates just how lucky she is being able to walk up Kinder Scout from her back door.  The approach through the village and then along Kinder Road is a bit of a slog but we were soon at the reservoir.  A warm and sunny day but plagued by a haze that really limited the views.

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We headed directly up the quiet Sandy Heys path, which is a bit of a lung buster and thigh wobbler.  It leads unerringly direct to the summit plateau.  With time on our side we were able to take it easy however.

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The plan had been to camp near the Kinder Downfall but despite the sunshine there was a very strong wind blowing from the east. Shelter was needed and we found a nice shelf below the western edge.  There was one problem with our chosen pitch though, there was not so much as a muddy puddle to filter water from.  Yuri assured me that it was a short walk to and from the spring near the downfall.  His definition of short does not relate to mine and it was a forty-five minute round trip to fill our water bottles.

It was a cracking place to spend the night, the lights of Manchester eventually revealing themselves through the haze.  Even in a sheltered spot the wind blew strongly and we all retired to our tents early.

Spot the three tents below.

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The morning brought bluer skies, although it was still very hazy.  The wind still had a chill but it was warm in my tent.  Being a short trip with Reuben I had lugged my original Voyager tent with me.  A proper old school bomb proof shelter which makes camping a joy.  Sadly it is a bit of a heavy beast.

We had a lazy morning, enjoying the sunshine on the first day of British Summertime.

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We finally packed late morning and headed back up to the plateau.  Yuri decided that he would head north to Bleaklow and descend to Glossop to catch a bus home.  Chrissie, Dixie, Reuben and myself took the path towards Kinder Downfall.

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I have to say that it is one of those spots that always surprises me with just how impressive it is.  With Kinder Scout being so close to large urban centres it is easy to dismiss.  Usually the downfall is teeming with folk but for some reason it was nearly deserted. Perhaps people were out doing things for Mothers day.  With the temperatures rising we sat and soaked up the surroundings for a while.

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We took the less frequented Three Knolls path down to the reservoir, although not before another sit in the sun, Reuben ever hopeful for a biscuit.

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An enjoyable night in the hills does not need to be big or epic.

February 15, 2010

Kinders northern edges from Barber Booth

by backpackingbongos

I have been meaning to do a trip up onto Kinder Scout for a while now but each time it gets planned the clouds are forecast to be draped over its soggy top.  Finally a free day to hit the hills and a mountain forecast that promised ‘excellent visability’.  Kinder was the first ‘real’ hill that I ever climbed and was one that I returned to time and time again, probably due to the fact that I did not drive and there is a train station in Edale.  I probably got over familiar and my love affair with its sticky black peat diminished.  Time to get back and see what the attraction was in the first place.

I noticed that there is a car park marked on the map just past Barber Booth at the western end of the Edale valley.  I arrived at about 10.30am and just managed to squeeze into the last spot, you may have to get here really early to secure a spot on a nice warm summers weekend.

12.3 miles with 705 metres ascent

I have to admit that I started the day without much of a plan, I just wanted to get high.  A nice muddy high that leaves you slightly out of breath and with a good view.  Crowden brook was always my favourite Kinder Clough and gives a good bit of scrambling in its higher reaches, so I started there.  Almost immediately you leave the green of the valley behind and enter a moorland world.  I noticed that the highest part of the valley looked pretty snowy and icy so changed my plan (its easy to change your plan if you have no plan).  I turned right and ascended the steep hillside next to an unamed tributary valley, the views soon opened up.

Higher up I was met by one very large snow drift that may well be around for some time yet.  Now without crampons and an ice axe this was a rather difficult obstacle (ok I could have walked round it).  The downside of lightweight footwear is that you cannot kick steps into rock hard old snow.  I went for the momentum approach and ran up hoping that gravity would be fooled, something not to be done if failing means sliding more than a few feet.

I was soon at the cairn of Grindslow Knoll which I had timed to avoid a very large group.  It was proper bitter up there, a real bone biting wind and not a hint of brightness to give any illusion of warmth.  My buff got its first ever use as a balaclava.

To avoid getting tangled in more large groups I kept off of the main path which meant that I found a convenient boulder to pose on.  I probably looked silly running about with a tripod but that is what happens when you are billy no mates on a Saturday afternoon.

I was soon at the head of Crowden Brook and it looked like I made the right decision by not scrambling up, the stream was frozen with just a small trickle of water.  I decided to head across the plateau to Kinder downfall, a good test of navigation skills.  Well it has to be said that I failed immediately.  Thinking I knew the way I headed off without getting the compass out, well it felt right.  When I did get out the compass I found out that I was heading in completely the wrong direction, Kinder does that to you.  Always use a compass on Kinder if crossing the plateau and trust it.  That soggy peaty mess just drains away any sense of direction!  It has to be said that it was one of the easiest crossings that I have done.  The black peat was as hard as iron and the deep gullies that consume unwary ramblers were full of snow.  I was soon at Kinder Gates, a spot that for some reason really appeals to me.  Here the snow drifts were of epic proportions, dwarfing one of the rocks and even with a small cornice at the top.  A good 15 to 20 feet high, the weather that created it must have been pretty impressive.

Passing another huge group at Kinder Gates I revised my plan and set the compass to the head of Fair Brook and the northern edge.  Here at last I found a landscape empty of people so sat and had lunch looking across the desolate moors of Bleaklow.

The well trampled paths of the southern edges was replaced by just a narrow line of footsteps through the snow.  The airy perch of Fairbrook Naze is a great viewpoint with the snow clad higher slopes contrasting with the dark moorland lower down.

The unhindered northerly wind along the edge froze my face into a grimace and there was a lot more fresh snow underfoot.  All the rocks here were covered in a thin layer of hoar-frost.  It was not a place to hang around and as I looked across to Bleaklow I could see lowering clouds heading my way.

At Upper Red Brook I left the security of the edge and headed across country again towards the trig point at the exact moment the mist came down.  The compass came out immediately this time and I was relieved to see the white trig on its rocky plinth loom out of the mist.

A short distance due south and I was back on a well trodden path to one of the wonders of the Peaks, Kinder Downfall.  Unfortunately it is difficult to get a good view of the falls from above but the area never fails to impress.

Alas my camera battery ran out in mid shoot and could not be coaxed back to life.  I left and promptly got tangled up in another large group of people.  I really cannot work out what it is with the Peak District and people who insist on walking with 15 to 30 others.  Maybe I am just an unsociable, miserable sod but I found myself getting annoyed listening to inane conversations about mobile phone tariffs whilst trying to pass them one at a time.

Near Edale cross I decided against Jacobs ladder and thought I would treat my tired legs to Brown Knoll as my boots were not yet muddy.  Alas the morass was frozen here too so I crossed this sticky peaty morass with ease.

It then got dark.

Torch reluctantly came out, a party was in full swing at Dalehead farm and the Bongo was the last vehicle in the car park.