Monday, 28 September 2009

Edale Skyline Walk

The idea for this walk came to me as I sat on the bus home after the Marsden to Hope adventure.  Why not walk from Lose Hill to Win Hill round the head of Edale?  Notwithstanding the fact that I may have an eye for a good walk, I found it hard to believe nobody had done this in the last 2 million years since the valley was probably carved during the last ice age. After two days of googling for Edale Horseshoe, Edale Circuit and Edale Round  (not continuously you understand - I'm not that sad),  I finally happened on Edale Skyline Walk. That was the one.  It was a fell race.  Well blow that for a game of a soldiers.  I was going to take 2 days over it and camp in the middle.  Then I emailed Mike 'NorthernPies' Knipe to see if he was interested.  "20 miles sounds a bit far for 1 day".  Yes, yes but we're going to camp in the middle, says I, so it's only 10 miles a day plus a bit of climbing.  We'd set off in Hope (and no little expectation) and go in a clockwise direction from Lose Hill to Win Hill on the other side of the village (cos it sounded so much better to end on a winner than a loser).

Some History (sourced from the internet)
Win Hill and Lose Hill get their name from the Battle of Win Hill and Lose Hill in 626. Prince Cwichelm (or Cuicholm) and his father, King Cynegils of Wessex, possibly with the aid of King Penda of Mercia, gathered their forces on Lose Hill and marched on the the rival Northumbrian army led by King Edwin of Northumbria camped across the valley on Win Hill. Despite their superior numbers, Wessex was defeated by the Northumbrians building a wall and rolling boulders down upon them. The Northumbrians were heard to say in that pub that night that it was a 'reight good trundle' (they'd picked up a bit of a Derbyshire accent).

 And so it was that Mike got the train to Hope and I drove out from Sheffield to find him in a pub.  Following a really bad night's sleep on the Laneside campsite under a searchlight with the power of a small thermonuclear device and the noise of trains, quarry waggons and the 7am dustcart, I suggested that we should do breakfast at the Woodbine Cafe.  And we did.  And it was huge and it was good.  Thus it was 10:30 by the time we set off up Lose Hill.  Not exactly a crack of sparrow fart start but then we didn't want to reach our camp site too early anyway. 

From Lose Hill looking west towards Mam Tor

We plodded up Lose Hill, we scampered along the ridge, we got buffeted on Mam Tor and found a sheltered spot at Windy Gap for a snack. Then we plodded some more over Rushup Edge and met an attractive yound girl on Lord's Seat offering us chocolate biscuits.  She was later seen with her boyfriend sinking thigh deep into the only boggy spot on Brown Knoll.  We stopped for lunch at that place where the Brown Knoll to Kinder Low track crosses the Jacobs Ladder to Edale Cross path and all signs point to the Pennine Way.  This place must have a name but I don't know what it is, so in any future blogs I shall refer to it as Bert.  Then we passed a woman with angel wings and then some more, until by the time we reached the trig point on Kinder Low we might have been in heaven.  And in fact Mike was, as he'd just clocked up his thousand'th walking mile for the year and we celebrated with a small sip of whisky, which the Pieman is known to carry at all times, purely for medicinal purposes.

Mike in heaven on Kinder Low - 1000 miles, Angel in one hand, whisky in the other

Kinder Downfall was a 'no fall' and the stream had even less water in it than three weeks earlier when I'd camped up here.  We found my previous camping spot, I moved the same boulder, which I'd previously replaced and we'd set up Akto alley by 4pm.

Akto Alley

The aircraft noise I mentioned in the earlier blog was augmented this time by the sounds of the wind, of motorbikes going over the Snake Pass and of Mike humming to music on his mp3 player. Then suddenly, there was silence - until that is, my tinnitus started up.

Sunday morning was foggy.  Very foggy.  And the tents were covered in lots of dew on the outside and lots of condensation on the the inside.  We were away by 9:30, after putting the boulder back in it's hole, and wandered up the beck admiring the sand backs and canyon walls made of peat. 

Peat Canyoning on Kinder Scout

Aiming a bit west of south we navigated across the watershed without incident and before long arrived at the top of Crowden Clough.  Turning left we ambled some more through the fog passing groups of walkers, each one increasingly witless about where they were and where they wanted to be, until we reached Hope Cross (but only after being slightly witless ourselves and ignoring a perfectly respectable footpath sign in favour of a dubious compass bearing taken from the OS 1:50,000 along what appeared to be a more direct path). 

Mike on Kinder Edge

Me on Kinder Edge

Mam Tor from the southern edge of Kinder Scout
And that just left the easy graded ridge to the summit of Win Hill, some final pics, a laugh at a group of sixth formers setting up tents on a 30 degree slope and a knee-wrecking descent back to Hope where we were revived by a very large pot of tea and a life threatening piece of cake at the other cafe, whose name escapes me (Blue something I think).

Win Hill and a very large trig point (or was it a very small Mike?)

 A damned fine walk in excellent company.  Thanks Mike.

Saturday: 10.1 miles and 2664' ascent (Mike reckons 12 miles and less ascent)
Sunday: 10 .2 miles and 955' ascent
Total: 20.3 miles 3619' ascent

Mike's blog of this walk is here

Monday, 14 September 2009

Hayfield and Kinder Scout (again)

Kinder Scout seems to have become a magnet for me this year and, to overdo the use of metaphor, I find myself drawn to it like a moth to flame for the forth time in 2009 - with yet another trip planned in a couple of weeks time.

This was a short afternoon walk with a friend on, what in Sheffield, started out as cloudy day but was sunny and blustery on the western side of the Pennines.

We set off from the car park at Bowden Bridge Quarry, just up the hill from the village, which to my shame I didn't realise until we got back to the car, was the start of the Kinder Mass Tresspass. 

Plaque commemorating the Mass Trespass of 24 April 1932

It took a bit of bumbling to get out of the valley onto the right path, which at one point had us walking away from KInder Scout instead of towards it and wasn't helped by a chap on a bike who was also lost and stopped to ask us directions.  Isn't it always the case - you visit a new place and someone asks you the way.
 Looking towards Brown Knoll

As it was our target was a bit fluid and in the end we skirted the south west flank of Mount Famine and headed up to Brown Knoll.  From there we ambled along the ridge, shouting to be heard over the noise of wind and watching our speech bubbles blow away across the open moors.  Reaching the fence, we made a turned left at the wobbly stile that leads to the Brown Knoll trig point and headed for the path up from Jacobs Ladder.  Then on to Edale Cross, which we seemed to have walked past without noticing and, pausing for a light lunch, walked back down to the car park via Kinderlow End.  This side of Kinder is new to me and needs some further exploration.  Our route seems to be a popular Sunday afternoon walk.  There were certainly a lot of walkers and mountain bikers to be seen.

Descent back into Hayfield

I am curious about the origin of the name Mount Famine but searches on Google and Wikipedia have drawn a blank - what hope is there for the world when one can't find the answers there?!  There appears to be an annual fell race up it, which someone commented was quite hard.  I thought was the point about fell racing.  If it were easy, even I would do it.

Pleasant walk in good company and fine views of the eastern gritstone edges on the way home.

Some walks pose risks from giant local fauna

6.5 miles and 1450' ascent