(Kinder Downfall, without much water in evidence)
It had been five years since I’d last climbed up Kinder Scout so I decided to dedicate a day of my week off from work to walking those familiar old paths. Kinder Scout is an old “tramping ground” for me. I used to spend a lot of my spare time up here back in my youth and it’s where I really cut my hill walking teeth. Many a weekend was spent camping at Cooper’s camp site, opposite The Nag’s Head and walking all around this area. The place holds many happy memories for me.
It was back in May of 2006 that I last climbed Kinder, in the company of my sister on that occasion. We had a wonderful day, complete with horizontal hail. I managed to twist my knee and I’ll never forget the slow painful hobble back down Jacob’s Ladder.
That previous visit had been before I had started my “walking commute” for the first time, I was the biggest I’d ever been. Right now my jeans are 6 inches smaller around the waist than they were back then, so it was going to be interesting to see what difference that would make to my walk. I managed okay last time to be honest, although the twisted knee didn’t help.
As I was walking on my own I decided not to head across the top of the plateau. The summit of the Kinder Scout plateau is one huge peat bog several square miles in area. Visibility up there can be atrocious, the top is over 2,000 feet above sea level and is often covered in cloud and mist.
I have successfully navigated my way over the top alone in the past, but to be honest it’s a rather silly thing to do, much better to do that in company.
My plan for the walk saw me starting at Grindsbrook Booth in Edale and heading along the first few miles of the Pennine Way, up Jacob’s Ladder and then north to Kinder Downfall before heading back the same way as I’d come.
(the Old Nag’s Head, Grindsbrook Booth)
The Pennine Way starts at The Old Nag’s Head in Grindsbrook Booth. The signed path leads away over the fields to the west, the Kinder plateau looming above on the right side. I followed the path to Upper Booth and on past Lee Farm.
After Lee Farm there is about a mile of easy walking before reaching a little packhorse bridge known as Yongate Bridge.
(view of Yongate Bridge from Jacob’s Ladder)
Beyond Yongate Bridge, Jacob’s Ladder ascends steeply and I normally take a short break sat by the bridge before continuing up Jacob’s Ladder.
With Jacob’s Ladder behind me I had a few hundred yards of a more gentle ascent to enjoy before reaching the point where the path forks. Carry straight on to head west towards Hayfield or turn north to follow the path of the Pennine Way as I did.
I continued up over the “Swine’s Back” and on towards Edale Rocks, at which point I felt I was on Kinder “proper”. From there I made my way towards the trig. point at Kinder Low and then stuck to the western edge of the plateau all the way to Kinder Downfall.
(view back down into Edale from Edale Rocks)
Kinder Downfall was the target of my walk so I sat down and enjoyed my lunch there. As ever, the sheep seemed to hear the rustling of sandwich bags and came to investigate.
Kinder Downfall is the point where the River Kinder cascades over the edge of the plateau and forms a spectacular waterfall in so doing. However on this visit the river was completely dry (see photo at the head of this post). There was just a puddle of water gathered by some rocks near the edge. In all the years I’ve been visiting this spot I’ve never seen the river completely dry like this. A sure sign of the dry spring we’ve been having.
I completed my walk by returning along the same route as I’d followed on the way. That may be more dull than a circular route, but I was happy. I’d done what I set out to achieve which was to get to Kinder Downfall and see how my body coped with the walk. As I started my return journey the heavens opened and the rain which had been threatening all the time I’d been up there finally decided to fall, along with some hail. It wouldn’t be a proper Kinder day if there wasn’t rain and hail.
I have to say that it seemed considerably easier than my visit five years earlier. I can thank the loss of several inches off my belly for that and I look forward to returning when I’ve lost another couple of stone.