Kinder, Kinder Downfall and the Sabre…..

My return to Kinder has been long overdue.

Not just the return to Kinder, but also two long overdue visits were Kinder Downfall and the wreckage of the two crashed Sabre F86 jets.

After a good drive up the M1 and through Sheffield, I stopped off at Ladybower Reservoir, with the morning sun shining on the still unrippled waters, it made for a lovely photo, which at the time of typing this blog, was adorning my desktop as the wallpaper.
An becalmed Ladybower Reservoir

After a photo shoot of Ladybower, I drove along the Snake Pass towards Glossop, to where the Pennine Way crosses the A57, where I parked up in the layby, got suited and booted and headed south along the Pennine Way towards Mill Hill.
The gate leading to the Pennine Way

The start of my walk, the Pennine Way

It’s quite a long walk along what some people have nick named “The Yellow Brick Road”, which if you’ve walked along it, you will understand why.

The photos here, should give you a good clue also.

The Pennine Way, often nicknamed the Yellow Brick Road
What started out as a nice sunny morning, with the forecast suggesting cloudy late morning till early afternoon, I was observing the cloud coming up from the south west, heading right for the Kinder Plateau.
I was observing the cloud coming up from the south west,
heading right for the Kinder Plateau

This meant I might have to review my walk route, for I was going to be heading off path in search for the F86 Sabre wreckage. However, as with all walks, I would continually review the situation making any necessary route adjustments as I go along.

With any walk I undertake, I always ensure I’m prepared for whatever the weather, informing my family of my intended route and area and estimated return time.

But, the fun could come if there were to be a big route change, depending on available mobile phone signal.

It always worth remembering, the hills and mountains will still be there another day, so “if in doubt leave it out”.

I continued along the Pennine Way, enjoying the peace and quiet, Mill Hill getting slowly nearer, when I could hear a commotion in the distance. Stopping to listen, it almost sounded like some form of public event, not nothing alarming. But my curiosity was getting the better of me, there was nowhere really close enough for a large gathering.

The Pennine Way leading to Mill Hill on the horizon
The noise was slowly getting nearer, so I thought, cycle race?

But no, it didn’t sound right, more like a gaggle of geese, but nothing could be seen.
Then, in the distance, was a large gaggle of geese flying in quite a large V formation.

..... in the distance, was a large gaggle of geese
flying in quite a large V formation....

The geese flew over and disappeared in to the distance and the peace and quiet of the Pennine Way resumed.

A nice steady and easy ascent of Mil Hill brought back memories from when I was around that way visiting the Liberator crash site last year (see Mill Hill and the Liberator).

There, I met up with the first of many small groups of people out and about on Kinder. The two couples had walked up from Glossop and going to see Kinder Downfall.
Walking down from Mill Hill, which really isn’t that great an ascent, I dipped down to the cross roads, where the Hayfield – Snake Pass Inn path (don’t try and say that after too much alcohol) crossed, then started to ascend to the Kinder Plateau, properly.

I dipped down to the cross roads, where the Hayfield – Snake Pass Inn path crossed

This part of the route brought back yet more memories, from May 2011, when I started from Bowden Bridge and was beaten back by the weather, from getting to see the Sabre crash site. 

The climb up to the Kinder Plateau

Remember, “If in doubt leave it out”, that was very much a case of leave it out…..

On that day, the rain was virtually horizontal, visibility then was less than a couple of metres, any further progression on to the plateau would have been beyond any common sense.

Was today going to be another day of leaving it out?

I arrived at the plateau, recognising the area where I turned around the last time, but with a far greater visibility than back on that grisly day in May 2011.

On that grisly day in May 2011, the frustrating thing was, I was only about 400 metres away from the coordinates I had obtained for the Sabre wreckage!

The cairn at the end of the climb.
I digress.

So I continued to follow the Pennine Way, which circumnavigates around the Kinder Plateau, until the point I needed to veer off and start wreck hunting.

I had located on the map, my back stop, the stakes, which turned out to be a fence, erected by for the National Trust with regular styles to facilitate the open access.

my back stop, the stakes, which turned out to be a fence,
erected by for the National Trust with regular styles to facilitate the open access

Using a combination of bearing and pacing’s, I started to locate some of the wreckage. Sadly, I didn’t take the coordinates of the engine, or I would have found that along with all the others which I had the coordinates for.
A mound, with rocky features, was my outer limit
according to the data I had acquired for the Sabre wreckage
I could have used the GPS, but I prefer where possible, to use good old map and compass, keeping my hand in on the navigation skills.

It was a fantastic atmosphere, but very humbling, low cloud, on the plateau and aircraft wreckage strewn around ….
This was the first bit of wreckage I came across, after crossing the Stakes

This and the next photo, were following areas of wreckage
I came across, but after crossing back over the Stakes

The story of the two F86 Sabres was, they had been on exercise from Linton-on-Ouse. While climbing to gain height, they crashed, leaving no survivors.
My blog wouldn't be complete without the Kestrel's appearance
It was a cool 1.7ºC wind chill
My Kestrel has been nicknamed Kes, measured a maximum wind speed of 18mph

My blogs wouldn't now be complete, with an appearance of my Kestrel wind anenometer. After comments and talking to many people, I've named the Kestrel, 'Kes'. Which is also the name of an old film directed by the late Ken Loach, called Kes, a very sad story about a 15 yerar old boy, Billy Casper (played by David Bradley) who finds a Kestrel and takes it home, trains it and it provides the only love and affection in his life.
I won't tell you any more about the story, but it is a sad story, with a sad ending.
Any way, back to Kinder.
Lunch time was fast approaching and I love my food. So I needed to find a wind sheltered area, to eat my lunch. There was some protection from the wind in the groughs around the wreckage, but I felt I could find better if I returned to the path and looked among the rocky outcrops shown on the map that I would pass.
So I set my compass for south and returned to the Pennine Way that circumnavigates the Kinder Plateau.
Be wary of steep drop offs close to the edge of the path.
Once on the path, I headed in a south easterly direction, following the path with the intention of getting to Kinder Downfall, after finding a suitable lunch stop.

While walking the path, I came across a few more small groups of people walking and also some fell runners.

I feel it wise to warn those thinking the Pennine Way is an easy path to follow, while it’s relatively clearly defined, there are some extremely steep and sharp drops on the southerly side. So it is well advised to be careful and stick close to the footpath.

Continuing along the path, I found what looked like an ideal sheltered spot for lunch. Though a narrow gap between some stones, a welcome shelter for a lunch stop.
.... an ideal sheltered spot for lunch.....
While enjoying my lunch, I was greeted by an oldish Jack Russell terrier, hoping to share some of my Ploughman’s sarnie. The Jack Russell’s owner was very apologetic, but as far as I as concerned, having had two border collies many years ago.

Lunch over, a quick check of the map and then pack everything away, ready to set off for Kinder Downfall.

As I continued my way, I came across the two couples I met earlier on Mill Hill. They had taken a wrong turn after Sandy Heys on their way back from Kinder Downfall, following the ridge down to Hollin Head. Realising they had taken a wrong turn, back tracked up the ridge and re-joined the path and headed back to Glossop via Mill Hill.
After my left turn, I came across a cairn.

Be aware, there are some very steep drop offs from the path
Though realised where they went wrong and were confident of their route back, I took the time to make sure they were confident on their route back and I bid them a safe journey. I then continued my walk to Kinder Downfall, passing a cairn, many rock formations, finally arriving at Kinder Downfall.

Atop Kinder Downfall

Looking down Kinder Downfall
I had tweeted a photo of Kinder Downfall,
with the words Kinder Downfall. Bit of a tame pussycat today

Even though I had tweeted a photo of Kinder Downfall, with the words “Kinder Downfall. Bit of a tame pussycat today” I wasn’t disappointed in what I saw, which was a trickle compared to some of the videos I’ve seen on YouTube. After all, it was quite high up as far as the water table was concerned and the week leading up to my walk, had been relatively dry.

I would however, like to return to Kinder Downfall on a windier day, to view the water being blown upwards and also after a good down pour.

But that will be difficult timing with having a three hour drive from home in the West Midlands coupled with work and family commitments.

But one day, I will get there and see the water being blown upwards….

Before setting off back to the car, I had a quick look at the map to check my return route, for which I had three options.

I could have headed for the Snake Path on Black Ashop Moor, hand railed the Stakes, or back tracked the route I had just walked.

I decided that cutting across to Black Ashop Moor might just be a little too wet, the Stakes again could also be on the wet side, considering how wet the area was by the Sabre wreckage and back tracking the route I had come along was good solid ground.

Needless to say, I decided the best option was to back track my outbound route.
Before setting off, a time check and considering I took around four hours to get out here, including my wreck hunting stint, I had a couple of hours before sunset, would most likely mean the last part of my route back, Mill Hill back to the car, would be close to darkness. So I decided to get my headtorch out of my pack and place it in a pocket for quick easy access for when the light did fade.

I wasn’t worried about walking in the dark; after all, I had spent many hours training on a plateau by Moel Siabod in Snowdonia, at night for low visibility and night time navigation.

In fact, I was actually looking forward to doing a bit of walking in the dark, even though the bit I would be walking was a clearly marked path.

So off I went, back tracking my outbound route, which, I expected to take a couple of hours to get back to the car, because I wouldn’t be going off track looking for any other sights.
But I was going to be prepared, irrespective, for completing the walk in the dark.

I walked through Sandy Heys, past a small cairn not too far from the point where I needed to turn right and head for Mill Hill.

No sooner had I started the route back towards Mill Hill, than the large cairn at the edge of the Kinder Plateau appeared. But I was still just on track to complete the days walking in the dark.

As you descend from Kinder, you'll come across a forked junction. You need to take the right fork for Mill Hill. The left fork takes you back down Willaim Clough, Kinder Reservoir and to Bowden Bridge and eventually Hayfield.

No sooner had I started the route back towards Mill Hill,
than the large cairn at the edge of the Kinder Plateau appeared

I had not seen or heard a soul since leaving Kinder Downfall, until I had descended from the plateau joining the cross roads where the path to Hayfield – Snake Pass Inn path (it’s always easier to say second time around) crosses my path to Mill Hill.

you'll come across a forked junction.
You need to take the right fork for Mill Hill
I met up with a couple, who looked relatively well equipped, heading for the plateau. We stopped and had a quick chat and I let them know of the conditions on the plateau, so they could reassess their route, should they choose, wished them a safe journey and then continued for Mill Hill.

On Mill Hill summit, I did look back to see if I could see the couple, especially as one of them had a nice bright orange jacket on. But alas, the cloud had really come down thick and there was no chance of seeing anyone, no matter how bright the clothing was.

the cross roads where the path to Hayfield – Snake Pass Inn path

Approaching Mill Hill Summit

The yellow brick road back to the car was straight ahead, meandering across Featherbed Moss.

This would be almost the last point at which I would be able to obtain any electronic communication with civilisation, so a quick text home, to say I’ll be back at the car in an hour, apart from the lack of a mobile phone signal, those who have driven along the Snake Pass, will know generally mobile phone signals are poor, so I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone until I got in to Sheffield.

Mill Hill Summit

Looking out to my route back to the car from Mill Hill Summit

I would also add, you shouldn’t attempt to use a mobile phone while driving and I often find  a suitable spot to pull over safely and make the call.

I started the last leg of my day’s walking, probably the most boring bit and the light was fast fading, but not enough to warrant the use of artificial light just yet.

The light had faded just as I was in the last ten minutes of my walk. Though my eyes had nicely adjusted to the faded light, I decided that safety was paramount and reached in to the pocket for my headtorch, placed it on my head and switched on.

I did have a bit of an idea, to try and photograph what it would be like in the dark both without and with illumination from the headtorch. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold the camera steady enough to get a decent photo and not having a tripod in the car, just made it impossible to take a long exposure shot.

The Pennine Way as seen using my headtorch

But I did however manage to get a photo of what it looked like under the illumination of my headtorch.

The Pennine Way in daylight

 It was a perfect day, just a shame I have that three hour drive home.
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler


  1. Good post. Kinder is great for walking isn't it especially with all that mist and cloud. You had a good long walk. The "Yellow brick road" is a bit of a pain and is hard on the old feet, but the alternative in the past was horrendous, so it seems to be the lesser of two evils. The Pennine Way Rangers do a great job of both making and maintaining the southern section of the way. Thanks for the post.

    1. The overall distance was just over 11 miles,

      Yes, the Yellow Brick Road is a pain and can be hard going on the feet, particularly that strech being so long and monotonous.

      Even worse, it can be very slippy to walk along. Of all those I spoke to, asked if I'd had the same problem as they had, slipping on those large stones.

      But as you rightly say, it would be a lot more hazardous otherwise and certainly before those stones were laid.

      I forgot to add a photo of a stake, which marked out the original route.

      Copy and paste the link to the photo in your browser and you can see what now looks like a stump, in the water!

      Refereence the rangers, they do an absolutely superb job, many of them are volunteers.

      Folk like that I take my hat off to.

      Many thanks for reading and also taking the time to comment.


  2. Replies
    1. It was a superb day out.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.


  3. Excellent weather for navigating in! There's lots of Sabre wreckage strewn across the top isn't there?

    Tell me, are you planning on going to this meet at Pindale in February? Although I've heard it's still on, I haven't heard of anyone who's actually going yet! (I have closed my twitter account so that could be why I haven't heard much!)

    1. For me, the weather was just perfect, a good opportunity to put in to practice, safely that is, the skills I've learnt from ML's.

      I get the impresson the Sabre wreckage covers quite a vast area. Hardly suprising when you consider two jets gaining altitude, speed and then colliding.

      There is also Sabre wreckage down in or very close to Ashop Clough. I believe one of the jet engines is still down there.

      Regarding the Winter Meet, yes its still on and has been a topic on Twitter for the last couple of days.

      Its a pity you've closed your Twitter account. There is quite a nice group of us who exchange tweets, laughs and all good bits of info.

      I'm hoping to get there, but commitments might get in the way! :-[

    2. Yes there's quite a large chunk of wreckage down in the Ashop Clough, but it's a few years since I've been so I can't remember exactly what was there, but it's definitely the biggest section.
      I've wondered about opening a Twitter account again, but was a bit put off when I started receiving a few 'not-so-nice' direct messages after my account got hacked.
      I am planning on going to the winter meet though, so it would be nice to me meet up with you and the others there. I'm taking my tent, not staying in the bunkhouse.
      If you find out where people are meeting up on the Friday evening (pub or wherever?), would you mind letting me know please?
      Feel free to e-mail me at home. (I'm assuming you will have my e-mail address attached to your blog somewhere, but if you don't, let me know on here 'cos I've got yours in my blog settings.)
      Cheers, Chrissie

    3. I would be happy to let you know as much info as possible.
      I don't appear to have your email, so if the email has 59 as part of it, then please email me. If not, it'll get blocked at the first hurdle....

  4. Great post Mike, really enjoyed reading it. You've got to love Kinder on a murky day :-) thanks for resharing

    1. Thanks Dean, it was a fabulous day, even though it was full of low cloud and some sowers.