I had first climbed Kinder Scout on 3 January this year, and you can read about that attempt here. I call it an attempt because although I was following a route from a guidebook the mist meant that I did not find Kinder Low, and so did not complete the route in full, instead coming down off the mountain and rejoining the route as it returned to the starting point.
So here I was again at the starting point in Hayfield, parking my car on a road at the far side of the town and setting off down the hill at 0940 towards the church with the weather dry and clear, and the sun trying to come through. More recently I had made it to Kinder Low by following a different route (which you can read about here) so at least I knew where I was heading this time, and I was looking forward to a good day out. I joined Kinder Road and went off to my left at the sign for the Snake Inn. At this point I passed a father and son, and a woman with three poodles – this was already turning into a busy walk compared to my usual ones !
Now I began my ascent on to the open moor, following the obvious track as it took me towards some white-painted shooting huts, and as fell runners and dog walkers passed me in both directions. I should make the point that it was the fell runners who passed me, not the dog walkers. I contoured the steep side of White Brow with an unspoilt view of the Kinder Reservoir below me, and I remembered that last time I took this route the mist almost made me miss seeing the reservoir.
I could also very clearly see where I was heading as the path dropped down to follow a stream into William Clough. This is where the real walking would begin, and as I made my way up the path at 1035, going from one side of the stream to the other, I was thankful for my fitness training through the year, and was then brought right back down to earth as one of those mad fell runners went past me. I got to the stepped path towards the top and this would more than serve as my daily dose of the 30-day squat challenge, and it felt good, very good.
I was at the top at 1110, with a group of five fell runners crossing ahead of me from the left to take the path I would follow on to Kinder.
I knew the way from here, going up steeply through the blustery cold wind before attaining the plateau and following the edge around to Sandy Heys, reaching that at 1145 and still enjoying the most wonderful views as the sun shone through. The path was very easy to see and everything was going very well as I reached Kinder Downfall at midday.
I felt sure I would not be spending another evening wandering about on a dark mountain, as I had done on Christmas Eve (which you can read about here). It was fun to stop awhile and watch the water being blown back on to the waterfall, before I crossed over and made my way along the edge once more to cross Red Brook, then making my way inwards to approach Kinder Low from a different direction to the one I had taken away from it last time. I saw some fences to my left and wanted to see if they were the ones I thought them to be, and as it turned out they were, and the route I took brought me out below the Kinder Low trig point while giving me a better idea of this part of Kinder for future reference.
I was here by 1230 and would be off the mountain in no time. Oh, I was feeling very confident about my knowledge now, so you can probably guess what comes next.
The guidebook told me I needed to get to Edale Rocks, and I knew where that was, so I ignored the directions and talk of a path and set off across the bog. If only I had not been heading for Edale Head. I got there in no time at all and looked for the paved path mentioned in the guidebook. There had been one leading up to here but not one now.
I saw another group of walkers and decided to adopt the Dirk Gently approach to direction finding – they looked like they knew where they were going so I followed them. As I followed them I was trying to make sense of the directions in the guidebook, when, of course, they would never make any sense. I went over Pym Chair, Wool Packs, and round the back of Crowden Tower before spotting a track which led down. It did not look right so I asked another walker where it led to and he told me it went down to Edale. That was certainly not right for me, so I turned around and walked back to the last place I knew. Which was Edale Rocks. Except that it was Edale Head. So nothing made any sense while I was confusing myself with my ‘knowledge’. Another group of walkers came along who were heading for Jacob’s Ladder, which was the opposite turn to the one I needed to take after I had come down from Edale Rocks, so I walked along with them and very soon the real Edale Rocks came into view above the track we were following. Suddenly it all clicked with me. It had only taken two hours of wandering around for that to happen.
I would still get off the mountain before it was dark, and I followed the track below the steepening face of Swine’s Back before turning right on to the track which would take me the rest of the way down.
I stopped at the medieval Edale Cross and then enjoyed the long and gradual descent on pretty even ground, becoming familiar from last time as I got to oaken Clough and then dropping through Coldwell Clough and bringing me back to the car in Hayfield at 1555. It had been a fun day out, good walking in lovely weather, and another lesson learnt about how to stay safe on the hills. I was going to be a lot more careful going into 2014.
You can see more photographs from the walk here.