Kinder Scout beckoned.
Are walk invitations like buses? I don’t know, but an email from Alan suggesting a walk on the same day popped into my inbox soon after Lynsey’s invitation. It seems that Alan’s as gullible as me, so yesterday morning the three of us met at Manchester’s Piccadilly station for the train journey to Edale.
It wasn’t raining when I left home earlier, it wasn’t even raining at Piccadilly. Perhaps this was a sign.
Fortified with large doses of caffeine we alighted at Edale and marched north towards the Nags Head in the village centre and then headed off sort of left-ish to start the damp but rather warm climb up to the Kinder edges via Grindslow Knoll. The rain did what rain does best. It rained.
So much for signs.
Trouble was that it was warm. That, coupled with a climb had the three of us sweating profusely. Well Alan and I sweated profusely. Lynsey, being a lady, glowed.
The odd shaped tors of the Kinder Scout loomed out of the mist – it wouldn’t have surprised us to hear the howl of the hound of Baskerville Hall, er, howling. But it didn’t.
Although there was a lack of howling hounds we did spot a teddy-bear:
The murk got murkier but we three are rufty-tufty Challengers and a bit of clag, mud, rain, etc wasn’t going to put us off now, was it?
Well was it?
Just some of the wonderfully shaped tors on Kinder Scout
(More will appear on Picasa when I get my finger out.)
On we trundled – faithfully following Lynsey, for she had the map. And more idea of the route than me. Not difficult.
The rain got rainier, the clag got claggier but we weren’t downhearted. Not at all. Well not very much at all.
‘I’ve sunbathed on Kinder, been burnt to a cinder…’ What on earth was Ewan MacColl thinking about? Where was he? What was he on?
Our clockwise route took us across the top of Kinder Downfall. The waterfall was in good flow, hardly surprising given the high rainfall of recent weeks. What was surprising was the view. The mist had started to clear a little and the views improved dramatically.
Our views to the west revealed Kinder Reservoir – not for very long mind.
The rain held off, leaving us just enough time to locate a suitable lunchspot, open our butty-boxes….and for the rain to return. Ho hum.
Swinging around to the northern edges of the Kinder Scout plateau opened up new views. The clouds lifted for a while, revealing Manchester in the distance. Alan waved to Sheila, busy working in her office in the city. I’m not sure if she waved back.
Heading eastwards (I’ve walked eastwards before. It’s good.) and now definitely on the northerly side of Kinder Scout we now followed Alan. He was a man on a mission, moving at a good pace and only stopping to take photographs of the dramatic rock formations of the edges. Oh, and to photograph Lynsey and I, puffing, panting, wheezing, sweating (me), and glowing (Lynsey) as we attempted to keep up with him.
Alan kept momentarily vanishing from view as he either dropped into a dip or zagged around a rocky outcrop. Approaching Fairbrook Naze we realised that it might be prudent to tweek our route slightly or we’d be in grave danger of missing our train, or worse – not getting down in time for a pint.
A decision was taken by the O.I.C. that we should go south. I pointed out that south wasn’t east (which is good) but once it was made clear to me that beer + chips = south…south it was.
South was, er, slightly boggy. The Good Works to return the Kinder plateau to it’s moorland glory were well underway. That was the good news. Oh, and the rain had stopped for a bit.
The bad news was that the Good Works hadn’t had time to improve matters underfoot. In fact it had made matters significantly worse, albeit temporarily. Much of the boggy morass had been seeded with the kind of grass that thrives up here, little green shoots were sprouting up here and there. It would be a year or two at least before there was any significant improvement though.
In addition to the seeding, areas of the gloop had been dammed so as to form small ponds – or more likely to stop much of the water flowing and causing further problems. This damming was damned unpretty and caused us some damned soggy problems. It will be interesting to see what the place looks like in years to come. For now it’s pretty horrid.
On our merry way we went, slipping and sliding, cursing, falling into bottomless bogs and generally making little headway. Oh how we laughed.
If The New Plan was to cut some mileage off the original route it had failed miserably. Me must have walk 3 or 4 times the linear distance just zig-zagging around the worst of the man-eating fetid swampy bits.
Lynsey spotted a grassy island in the ocean of black porridge – a fine spot for a breather. It wasn’t raining again so we finished our hot drinks and what bits of lunch we had left. Ten minutes later we were off, Alan shot off like a mountain hare. I languished in my rightful position….at the back.
We spotted a group of six backpackers, they looked like a DofE group although perhaps a little too old. I can’t imagine what they were doing crossing over Kinder Scout….but then again, why were we?! Their maps were out a lot…unless they were intending to use them to flag down the passing Chinook helicopter. It didn’t work, the helicopter just flew on….
The group were struggling with the bogs, every now and then one of them would vanish from view as he or she slipped into the black soup.
Our target was Crowden Tower. Passing the DofE group as they cheerily attempted to rescue three members of their smiling team from a particularly deep and peaty bog, we exchanged greetings. They must have gone to the same school of navigation as Louise, for they too had learnt the art of digital sign-language. Well one or two of them had anyway.
Alan was ahead, now marching west for a while. West? Well yes, for due south would have meant certain death by bog.
Lynsey’s (earlier pristine) overtrousers were now a peculiar shade of, er, brown stuff. The tide-mark of peat clearly indicated how far down in the many bogs she had sunk. Mine weren’t any better. We hit a river with a solid bed and not much water flowing. We knew it would take us to the southern part of the plateau – so we three took advantage of this and followed it until we hit the edge:
The relatively un-brown water cleaned a lot of the gloop off our boots and wet-legs. It was wonderful not to have to heave our tired bodies out of bogs, but to just trundle along a river bed. Luxury. Before we knew it we were walking on GREEN grass…and it wasn’t raining!
Dark clouds gathered, ready to shower the rest of the bog from our kit. It certainly helped.
The rain got heavier….but Edale came into view, causing Alan to burst into song and dance routine…..
Once off the tops we gathered speed, heading in the direction of the Rambler Inn. Our plan for a quick pint and then to catch the train homewards was scuppered. A line fault had delayed all trains from Sheffield. So we had another pint. And chips. Alan had another pint too. Walking is thirsty work…and dehydration should be avoided at all costs.
I eventually arrived home at around 8.30pm, pleasantly tired. It had been a good day out.
The beer was good. So were the chips. The company was excellent….and what a brilliant walk!
Thanks Lynsey for the plan, and Alan for coming along.
A map of the route will follow…when Lynsey works out where we actually went!