Sunday, 13 February 2011

Kinder Scout

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 13 February 2011
Walkers - Steve Smith
Accommodation - Edale Youth HostelStart Point - Edale Youth Hostel (GR SK14003 86598)
Start Time - 09:15
Finish Point - Edale Youth Hostel (GR SK14003 86598)
Finish Time - 16:55
Duration - 7hrs 40mins
Average pace - 1.73mph
Distance Walked - 13.29miles
Height Ascended - 668.80metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (253)
Kinder Scout (165)
Hewitts (178)
Kinder Scout (117)
Marilyns (176)
Kinder Scout (33)
Deweys (185)

Brown Knoll (29)



Click on photograph to view slide-show

Walk Description
It was a damp drizzly start to today’s walk with the weather forecast promising high winds at 2000ft.
Well I must say I have been out in worse but can't say I enjoy it a lot, but when I have driven 200 miles to go walking a I am not going to sit around inside waiting for the weather to improve.
The first part of the walk from the Youth Hostel is straight forward enough along a low level flat track to Edale past Ollerbrook Farm.
From Edale I crossed Grinds Brook and passed round the back of Ye Old Nags Head Inn (the official start of the Pennine Way)
Leaving Edale I cross back over Grinds Brook and start heading along the east bank of the brook north towards open access land and the ascent up Kinder plateau.
Crossing the bridge over Golden Brook marks the start of the access land and ahead you can see Grinds Brook heading up the Grindsbrook Clough. Following the path it gradually ascends at a fairly easy rate to start with until it turns to the west when the ascent increases and the hill fog closes in and the rain gets heavier.
By the time I reach the edge of the plateau I have ascended 340m in about 1½ miles since Edale leaving me slightly out of breath. Not a bad rate of ascent done in just over an hour.
From here it was a case of counting out paces to confirm I was at Crowden Brook. A completely unnecessary precaution as when I did reach it following the path made of heavy flag stones, it was quite obvious. Even so I still felt it necessary to count paces to Edale Head but unfortunately after crossing Crowden Tower the path through the wool packs was not as obvious and alternative routes had to be found through and around the Wool Packs.
I guess the Wool Packs get their name from their shape that resembles wool packs. After clearing these I end up north of a large clump of rocks which turn out to be Pym Chair.
The path west from here returns to the easier to follow flagstones and in no time I am crossing another Brook, less obvious than Crowden Brook which turns out to be Edale Head.
At the time I did not realise this and after crossing another brook I eventually end up at another rock formation which I thought was Noe Stool. 3 other hikers walking in the opposite direction confirmed this for me so I headed back along the path towards Pym Chair.
The OS 1:25000 does not name the brooks between Noe Stool and Pym Chair and it seemed a bit of a guess which streams corresponded to those marked on the map. There was many more on the ground than on the map so I decided to consider the larger ones on the ground to correspond to the map. The others being discounted by me as temporary overflows caused by the recent heavy rain.
About 150 paces from Noe Stool I turn north at one of the streams intending to cross 3 streams and end up at Kinder Scout summit. Walking on a bearing of 15° I hoped to reach the summit but walking in fog on Kinder plateau on a bearing using line of sight is really a 2 man job as after only a few paces one hag (grassy prominence in peat) begins to look like any other.
After 20 minutes, crossing many deep groughs, followed by 10 minutes of wandering from one grassy mound to the next I am convinced I have visited the most non descript peak I have ever visited, maybe one day I will return in clear weather, but for now I thought it was wise to head due west to find the western edge of the plateau and get me off this desolate location. After all it was thick fog with heavy drizzle, making me very wet and starting to feel cold.
After a further 15 minutes the peat begins to clear and the ground becomes less boggy and more solid interspersed with rocks and hard ground. I then come across a large cairn which I remembered marked the Pennine Way. At this point I knew I was on the western edge but not quite sure at which point.
Following the cairns south should lead me towards the trig point at Kinder Low. For some reason I never found this trig point and when the rocky track turned into a path with flagstones I started to get concerned as I did not remember the path being like this when I was here last September on the Pennine Way. This concern increased when I started to descend and the ground started to rise up on my left and made me doubt if I was actually on the western edge of the plateau. This was not how the terrain should be. Rather than going down further I contoured around the hill keeping it on my left and “luckily” I came across a muddy path that led me further south and round the hill. Very soon I was following a wall south with the path on the left of the wall. A quick look at the map did not help but as I looked up I saw two mountain bikers. I asked them if they had a clue where they were and they pointed behind me and said “Yes - there is Edale Cross”.
This is an ancient monument marked on the map which was just to the west of the PW where it heads north away from Brown Knoll - my next top. What a relief I was on the western side of the Kinder plateau. By now it was after 2pm with only 3 hours of daylight remaining. Was there enough time to complete the remaining 8 miles to bag the 3 remaining tops?
Returning to the Pennine Way I turned right and south along the wall and path towards Brown Knoll. Very soon the flagstones disappeared and the path became very muddy. As I ascended it became really muddy until I reached the ridge leading to the top when it became decidedly boggy. The fog had also returned along with the very fine and wet drizzle.
The path to the top was well marked but impossible to walk along due to it being so boggy, but keeping it in sight I was able to find the top by walking on heather and avoiding the really boggy bits.
After a quick snack which warmed me up and photos at the trig point I continued SE along the boggy track. Visibility was really low and I could just about make out a square structure on my right which turned out to be an air shaft from the tunnel carrying the Sheffield to Manchester railway line under the Pennines below. I did sink up to my knee on one leg and calf with the other forcing me to fall forward to avoid sinking much further. I don’t think they are man eaters but I was not going to stand in one place long enough to find out. As it was it took a fair bit of wiggling to free both legs.
Continuing along the path I came across a pair of boots sticking out of a plastic sheet. “Oh no” I thought somebody is in trouble, But a quick check and a wave of a hand grasping a sandwich confirmed all was well.
Following the boggy track further I eventually came to a deeply rutted track which no way could have taken a 4 wheeled vehicle. Even so, as I reached the track about 8 motocross cycles came towards me revving loudly with headlights blazing. It was a bit disconcerting as I did not really know what was happening or for that matter exactly where I was. All I knew was I was somewhere along Chapel Gate track.
Consulting a quickly deteriorating/smudging map through wet A4 plastic sleeves and steamed up glasses did not help to locate my position so at approx 15:30 and more than 4 miles along the ridge to home via the next 2 tops of Rushop Edge and Mam Tor I decided to abandon bagging these for today and walk down the track and head for home along the bottom of the valley.
Descending down Chapel Gate the fog cleared, but the track remained very rough and rutted by heavy rain running off the tops. The path between Chapel Gate and Manor Farm was flooded but soon after the farm the path joined the road just west of Barber Booth
It was then a case of walking along the road from Barber Booth to Edale and then continuing a further 1½ to the youth hostel; along the road over Yeman’s Bridge through Mill Cottages and on to Nether Booth Farm were the private road to Edale YH leaves the road to the left.
From deciding to descend down Chapel Gate it was just over 3½ miles this way rather than nearly 5 miles along the tops. It was also a lot easier going resulting in me getting home before 5pm and in day light making this the correct decision in view of the conditions.  A good argument for always ensuring you plan many exit routes along all walks and more importantly not to push things or compromise safety by ignoring current conditions.
Looks like I have my walk sorted for Tuesday before the Ipswich game against Doncaster to return here and bag Mam Tor and Rushop Edge.

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