Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Right to Roam: A Classic Walk on Kinder Scout. . .

In the rambling world, there are certain walks that achieve an iconic status; walks that one simply must do. Kinder Scout is one of these and I have to say that it lives up to its reputation.  It is one of the prettiest walks I've done - from start to finish - and though these photos are from the Liverpud's recce, I had no qualms about wanting to do the exact same walk the following week with the walking group.  I'd do it again today. And tomorrow.  Come along and see why. 

We started from the small village of Hayfield, just on the edge of the Peak District National Park, working our way up the Snake Pass.

Very quickly you emerge onto beautiful moorland.

With very friendly sheep.

A short downhill path takes you to a trail that skirts the side of Kinder Reservoir built in the early 20th century.

Then it was up to the start of the William Clough path.  Now I thought that it was named after someone prominent, but a "clough" is a steep ravine or valley. We were also treading in walker history.  On April 24th, 1932, nearly 500 people took this route up to Kinder Scout to protest for the rights of common people to have access to open countryside. This became known as the Mass Trespass and five of them were arrested and served jail sentences. It started a larger movement among ramblers however, and eventually led to the acts of Parliament that created the amazing network of access footpaths that exists all over the U.K.  The National Trust now owns and conserves this land.  This is halfway up William Clough looking back.  Isn't it stunning?

At the top there's just one last climb and then you are up on Kinder Scout, a very flat plateau with amazing views along its edge.

At this point the path joins the Pennine Way. You can see it continuing on as you look back from the top.  And just in that hazy distance behind the hills is Manchester.

Continuing along the edge towards Kinder Downfall, you get views of the reservoir again and lots of rocks moulded into odd shapes by the rain and the wind.

Kinder Downfall is supposed to be the largest waterfall in the Peak District, but alas with all the sunny weather this summer it was completely dry.  On the left is the edge that the water would have run over; on the right is the riverbed which at least was easy to cross over.

This is where the waterfall would have been.  It just means I have to do the walk again (yea!) to see it in its full glory.

Our next point of interest is Kinder Low.  This is truly a bizarre landscape on the top of a hill. It reminds one of a beach scene (the white trig point looks like a lighthouse to me) or a moonscape.  I love it!  So unexpected and so beautiful in its bleakness.

And then it was downhill on good paving stones, back to Hayfield through green fields with more peaks in the distance.

The heather is just starting to bloom. Stunning.

For variation and decent paths, this is a ten mile walk that won't over-tax if you are in decent shape. One warning - it can get really windy on the top of Kinder Scout so in rainy weather, while you might get a waterfall, it could also be quite a miserable trek.  No weather problems however when we did the walk with the group last Sunday (also a sunny, breezy summer's day, also with a dry waterfall). Several in the group had never done this particular walk, even after decades of rambling and their delight was infectious; it's why the Liverpud loves leading walks, why I like helping him out with the recces, and all the reward we need.


Anne Featonby said...

Looks lovely....sad it is so dry there!

Blithe Spirit said...

It would have been nice to see the waterfall, but its absence didn't detract from the walk at all! I'll just have to go back.