I was a scout actually, right through from Beaver to Venture. I think they’ve changed that nowadays and have strange, new-fangled delineations. Piffle, I say, piffle.
But this blog post isn’t actually about scouting, it is in fact a brief account of a walk I did last week up KINDER SCOUT, the tallest piece of land in the Peak District. Well, up the Kinder Plateau, anyway – the actual summit of Kinder Scout was a little way away from the route of our walk, but the plateau itself doesn’t vary much in terms of height.
Our walk began in the village of Edale, which is in the Hope valley in Derbyshire. There’s large public car park there with reasonable charges (£4.50 for all day as I recall), and the first order of business is to turn right out of the car park and head up a dead end road, past the Rambler Inn and up to the beginning of the Pennine Way. You can turn left onto the Pennine Way here and head up Jacob’s Ladder, but for this circular walk that’s not advisable. Instead we continued up the hill and then turned right onto a signed footpath that lead down into and then up out of a narrow wooded… well, ‘valley’ is too big a word. ‘Ditch’ is too small. ‘Gulch’? I like that word, it will do for the purpose even if it’s inaccurate.
From here we climbed up the other side and then up onto sheep-grazed hillsides, then on to Grindstone Clough. This is the upper part of this valley (gulch!), and the path eventually disappears so you are essentially picking your way across the rocky river bed.
Onwards and upwards! To what is (usually) a (mostly) dry waterfall:
That bit involves rather a lot of scrambling, it’s sort of halfway between walking and rock climbing. I still reckon it’s easier than going up Jacob’s Ladder though, which is a punishingly long and steep staircase. This is actually easier because you can use your hands too, although it does benefit those with longer legs (my wife’s a bit shorter than me, and I have a noticeably easier time of it when scrambling up boulders. I don’t gloat, honest).
But it’s worth it, when you get to the top:
With that bit done, you’re up onto the Kinder Plateau and it’s largely plain sailing from there. Most of the rest of the route is a well-marked path, although it does disappear at times, but the general direction of travel is easy to determine.
There is one part where a couple of paths branch off, and helpfully the left-most path isn’t on Ordinance Survey maps! That caught us out on our first time, but we know what to do now. The route goes on over and through various rock stacks, then swings back around and comes down by Jacob’s Ladder.
One word of warning: once at the base of Jacob’s Ladder, which can be a bit tiring on the thighs, it might seem like the walk is nearly over. Not so, because there are still several fields to traverse, and one particularly obstinate hill which is tiny compared to Kinder Plateau, but more climbing than your legs want at this point. However, despite the last bit being longer than you think, you eventually get back to the start (end?) of the Pennine Way and can turn back down to the car park.
If you’d like to do this walk yourself, I recommend a) a map, and b) visiting this webpage.
AND NOW IN OTHER NEWS
Tomorrow, Dark Run is officially released. I’m aware that certain people have already received their copies, either through early deliveries or bookshops having them in early. This is incredibly exciting! However, I’m not going to be online much tomorrow as I’m at work all day and then my band is playing a gig in the evening! I’ll be showing up on Friday, though, and probably doing a decent imitation of Kermit when he flails excitedly.