(For the best viewing experience, left-click the images and maps to zoom in, then use your browser return arrow to go back – go on, it really does work!)
In August 2020 we were looking for somewhere suitable to head for in the camper van – regular readers will know that Chris and I (plus the ever-present Border Collie ‘Mist’) try to avoid campsites, not because we are too tight to pay but because we want to escape from crowds, not join them. Sadly, the actions of some going ‘wild camping’ during the Covid-19 lockdown, had brought criticism from local communities, and no wonder! So, we thought we might be pushing our luck a bit to go off-grid and opted instead for one of the campsites at Edale in the Peak District.
Newfold Farm, previously known as Coopers Camping, was the choice. Now, it has to be said that before he retired, Mr Cooper was one in a million, but for all the wrong reasons! For someone making a living in the hospitality sector, Mr Cooper had a manner that was, at best, eccentric and at worst positively rude! The thing is, the campsite is in a great location, with the hills of Edale Edge starting as soon as you walk out of the village.
So we took a chance, and found the new campsite owners to be friendly and welcoming. The two village pubs were both adopting to Covid rules and there was a cracking walking route out of the village, heading up Grindsbrook Clough – in short, we had all the ingredients for a good couple of days. What’s not to like!
The Pennine Way, opened in April 1965, was the first National Trail in the UK – 268 miles in length, it takes most hikers 2½ to 3 weeks to complete. The Trail starts in Edale, at the Old Nags Head pub, and finishes in the Scottish border town of Kirk Yetholm. The route originally headed out of the village by Grindsbrook Clough but had to be changed due to excessive erosion – now, with less hiking traffic, the worst of the erosion is healed, so we stepped back in time to walk the old start of the Pennine Way.
It soon became obvious that there had been some recent rain hereabouts! The view from the path down to Grinds Brook showed the stream to be full and muddy brown in colour, but initially the valley is wide with the water far below the path. However, as the valley starts to narrow, the path and stream get closer to each other, finally becoming good buddies.
Looking at the map, it was obvious that a stream crossing would be called for eventually, and so it came to pass. The crossing point was reasonably narrow, but Chris didn’t fancy boulder hopping, with the chance of a tumble – the easiest option was to do as walkers in Scotland often have to do, and to wade. The water was warm(ish) and only knee-deep, and once socks had been wrung out we were ready to carry on up Grindsbrook Clough.
Beyond the crossing, the clough narrows even more – just before the top, where the route joins the plateau of Edale Moor and Kinder Scout, the valley splits at a Y-fork. We took the left fork, which I found out later is probably less interesting as an ascent, but this way you suddenly appear at the plateau by a strangely shaped wind-eroded stone. It was also a good place to stop for lunch and a brew.
There were several options on where to go next, but on this occasion we opted for a wander by more eroded stones, before heading over towards Grindslow Knoll. From there, we set our course to the Edale valley, with a final descent down to the current Pennine Way route – as a treat for my birthday we were off for a Covid compliant fish and chips at the Nags Head, but ‘Mist’ was just as happy with the usual meat and kibble.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
Lovely light on those photos – almost look like film photos (and, being a film fan, I mean that as a compliment!). That looks a really nice walk – is it Dark Peak or White Peak?
The heather has been good this year – I got some nice photos of it in the Northern Fells.
You got the wading bit wrong! you’re supposed to take off your socks (and preferably also your boots) first! Then you can dry your feet off on your sock tops and have perfectly dry feet all day!
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Thanks for the photo comments. I’m trying to improve my digital post-shoot editing – there’s really no need for digi photos to be cold and bleak.
Deffo Dark Peak – the gritstone is the clue. And yes, it’s a really nice walk, lots of options for variations as well.
I’m a bit of a wuzz about wading (paddling) through becks/burns/brooks – I’d rather just get in there, rather than stubbing toes on boulders! It’s probably a throwback to Royal Marines training, where you didn’t waste time removing footwear to cross water, no matter how wide. I’ve got to admit though, that dry boots and socks on the opposite side is an appealing prospect 🙂
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When I walked the PW (again!) in August/September the Nag’s was the most impressively covid-compliant pub I went in along the trail. This approach had I think been made necessary by its being also by some way the busiest, Edale was absolutely heaving with people!
I’m told Coopers is now very expensive for tents, but I don’t know as I just kipped out on Bleaklow 😉 There’s supposed to be another campsite further up the road past the Nag’s but I’ve never yet been up there to look.
Walking in shoes rather than boots I just paddle and put up with wet feet.
Another enjoyable post and great photos, thanks.
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Thanks for reading and commenting Andrew. It was good to see that the Nag’s was so on the ball with their Covid management – hopfully everything back to some kind of normal before too long.
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What a lovely read. I adore this part of the Peak District. Kinder Scout is definitely one of my favourites. I think I have almost ventured up every way up there that there is… all except Grindsbrook Clough. I haven’t tried that yet. It is definitely in my sights though and after lockdown I’m going to give this a whirl. Your photos really compliment this blog. You’ve truly captured the true raw beauty of Kinder. Thankyou 🙂
Thanks for dropping in and for the comment. Like you, we live in a beautiful part of the UK with hills nearby but we often go out searching for new places. When the lockdown eases we will be heading out to the Peak District again, as well as our local hills. Here’s to many more days in the high places.