#216 – “I’ve sunbathed on Kinder, been burned to a cinder…” (from ‘The Manchester Rambler’ by Ewan McColl)

The view down to Kinder Reservoir from Kinder Plateau

The view down to Kinder Reservoir from Kinder Plateau

Regular readers of this blog will know that every January I disappear for a week to work with my old mate John Bamber on one of the Safety Teams on the Spine Race (click here for the back-story of ‘The Most Brutal Race in Britain’).

Two men and a dog (l to r John Bamber, the author and Border Collie ‘Mist’)

Two men and a dog (l to r John Bamber, the author and Border Collie ‘Mist’)

Despite the race passing through one of the most remote wilderness areas in England on Cross Fell, we don’t get much chance to go swanning around on the hills, and even less chance to take a bit of R&R on other sections of the route, so a couple of weeks before the 2017 race I decided on an outing over Kinder in the Peak District, just round the corner from the race start-point at Edale.

The route, starting from Hayfield

The route, starting from Hayfield

I don’t get to the Peak District all that often, but one of my favourite rounds in this part of the world is the Kinder Plateau starting from Hayfield and going via Kinder Downfall (waterfall).  On the first Spine Race in 2012, John Bamber and I had walked out to the Downfall in freezing conditions to photograph the 15 racers as they passed – since then the Race has grown massively with around 250 athletes from all over the world taking part in three different events.

The ‘Mass Trespass’ commemorative plaque at Hayfield

The ‘Mass Trespass’ commemorative plaque at Hayfield

As well as being the start point for my walk, Hayfield was also the start point of the ‘Mass Trespass’ in April 1932, where over 400 walkers walked over closed moors that were ‘off-limits’ to the public.  The immediate aftermath was the jailing of five of the protesters, but it was the start of a movement that could not be halted and which finally led to the establishment of National Parks 1n 1949 and general ‘open-access’ to all upland areas in 2000.

Kinder Reservoir with Kinder Scout in the distance

Kinder Reservoir with Kinder Scout in the distance

Looking up towards Kinder Downfall

Looking up towards Kinder Downfall

My route – the high ground looming ahead

My route – the high ground looming ahead

I had ideal weather conditions for the day; the temperature was just below zero and the air was as clear as a bell – two weeks later on the first day of the Spine Challenger event (108 miles instead of the full 268 miles of the Spine Race) the hills above here were enveloped in a snow storm that made things ‘interesting’ for the racers to say the least!

The uphill bit starts

The uphill bit starts

Looking back towards Kinder Reservoir

Looking back towards Kinder Reservoir

On the Pennine Way at last

On the Pennine Way at last

My route passed above Kinder Reservoir before heading upwards to the Plateau – for a change I didn’t follow the small valley of William Clough, and instead went via the ascending brow up to Sandy Heys, giving me great views in all directions.  Before long I was on the Pennine Way National Trail, which is also the route for the Spine Race.

Looking back (west) ….

Looking back (west) ….

…. and looking forward towards the Downfall

…. and looking forward towards the Downfall

The stream above the Downfall ….

The stream above the Downfall ….

…. well frozen ….

…. well frozen ….

…. and not much of a waterfall today!

…. and not much of a waterfall today!

The highlight of this part of the Pennine Way is Kinder Downfall.  Sometimes the wind blows so strongly here that the water is blown back up the cliff and in severe winters the waterfall freezes making a steep but interesting ice-wall for local climbers and mountaineers.  Today the water level was very low, and most of what there was had frozen, reducing the stream to a trickle.

The view back to Kinder Downfall, barely a trickle

The view back to Kinder Downfall, barely a trickle

Kinder Reservoir in the distance and the ‘Mermaid’s Pool’ just right of centre

Kinder Reservoir in the distance and the ‘Mermaid’s Pool’ just right of centre

The frozen stream became a barrier to progress, and I slithered about 100 metres upstream rather than go skidding off a frozen rock.  The view back to the Downfall was an anti-climax, with just a trickle of water going over the edge, but there were compensations in the great view to the west, looking down to the ‘Mermaid’s Pool’ and Kinder Reservoir.

Kinder Scout trig point (633 metres) ….

Kinder Scout trig point (633 metres) ….

…. with Border Collie ‘Mist’ posing as usual

…. with Border Collie ‘Mist’ posing as usual

Heading south on the Pennine Way

Heading south on the Pennine Way

The dog and I carried on south along the Pennine Way, visiting the trig point at Kinder Scout on the way.  Near Edale Cross it was time to leave the Pennine Way and to head back to Hayfield.  All the paths I had followed had been well frozen, making a great change from the mud that is usually found along the route, but blue skies and sunshine on top of that had been an unexpected bonus.

Time to head for home

Time to head for home

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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10 Responses to #216 – “I’ve sunbathed on Kinder, been burned to a cinder…” (from ‘The Manchester Rambler’ by Ewan McColl)

  1. Andrew says:

    Classic walk!

  2. I visited the Peak District (visiting a friend who lives in Glossop) for the first time last autumn – unfortunately I didn’t take my camera so didn’t bother to blog it. But I really liked Kinder Scout. We did Bleaklow the next day in less good weather and I just found it a muddy mess really and didn’t enjoy that anything like as much.

  3. LensScaper says:

    What a beautiful day for this walk, Paul. I remember walking round the Kinder plateau many years ago, It was a great day out.

  4. Very beautiful hike! I’ll go in the summer 😉

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