Mill Hill, Kinder and Kinder Downfall

Welcome to the first blog for Peak Rambler’s Ramblings third year. I’ve not long posted a look back over the second year’s blogging in my post Peak Rambler’s Ramblings; 2 years old, Twitter CB and a Stag Do!

Initially I wasn’t going to write up this walk, but after achieving one dream, to see Kinder Downfall in its element, where the water travels UP a waterfall, not down, I had a change of heart.

I’ll explain a little more later about how the water goes UP the waterfall and not down….

But first, I must give a clear warning when attempting this walk.

When attempting this walk in these conditions, ensure you are properly kitted out and have the right knowhow to complete this walk in complete safety.

This walk involves some off-path walking. If your navigation skills are not too good, or you have doubts on your navigation, then it would be wise to reconsider your walk.

GPS can be a very good tool, but if it fails, could you comfortably navigate using map and compass?

The weather conditions could result in you or any member of your group incurring injury or worse due to the strong winds that we experienced on the day.

If you want an idea of what I carry, see the blog I wrote “ What’s in my pack? ”.
If you have any doubt, then give it a miss and try another day, when the conditions are more favourable and suitable to the skills, experience and ability of you and your group.

Also, be prepared to turn back if the going gets tough, for Kinder and Kinder Downfall has been there a very long time and will still be there long after we’re gone.

Kinder can be a very inhospitable place when the weather turns nasty, and you don’t want to become one of its casualties/

Right, now that’s over, I’ll add one thing, I want you to be safe so you can read more of my blogs, and of course, any others that you may be following…

Sunday 24th February 2014, nothing particularly significant in the date, other than I achieved a dream, that may seem insignificant to many, but a burning desire to me, to see Kinder Downfall where the water actually goes up the waterfall and not down.

Shaun dropped me a message earlier in the week leading up to the weekend, to say he was free, I’d set aside Sunday for a wander, so it was agreed, and that was the day.

I was to go out the previous week, but Mother Nature had other ideas and took my fence down, along with a good many others.

I will add at this point, my fence was nothing compared to what many folk had suffered across the UK in the storms that had battered Britain for most of the winter so far. My heart goes out to them all, for many will not be able to move back in to their homes for a long time.

I recall Boscastle back in August 2004, where many couldn’t return home for close on a year!

Boscastle before the devastaion of August 2004

Thinking about that still sends a cold shiver down my back, for exactly a week before Boscastle became victim to the weather, we as a family, my son only six at the time, were visiting Boscastle and the very car park that was washed out, was where our car was parked!

Much of this route I had covered in two earlier walks; Mill Hill and the Liberator Sunday 29th July 2012  and Kinder, Kinder Downfall and the Sabre….. January 2013.

The recent weather, plenty of rain along with very strong winds had provided superb opportunities to get and see Kinder Downfall, so the date was set, though both Shaun and I were carefully watching the weather.

In the interim, I had contacted Neil, who happened to be free, to see if he was available to join us, so the time and meeting point was confirmed, the lay-by on the Snake Pass where the Pennine Way crosses.

The route was follow the Pennine Way south west to Mill Hill, then head west from Mill Hill summit for a short distance, then back track to Mill Hill summit and pick up the path that takes us on to the Kinder Plateau.

We visit some more aircraft wreckage, the Sabre F86 wreckage, then head east for Kinder Downfall.

On arrival, the forecast was for strong winds, gusting to 40+ mph and showers. Boy, the wind was strong, but nothing unusual for such an open and exposed part of the country.

We got suited and booted, putting waterproof trousers on and suitable weatherproof gear,  and then set off southwards along the Pennine Way, a solid stone clad path, often nicknamed the “Yellow Brick Road” towards Mill Hill. This part can be a long and laborious stretch, but, there is lots of scenery to bleak and open enjoy. It’s also a good stage to monitor the conditions on Kinder Plateau straight in front of you.

"....southwards along the Pennine Way, a solid stone clad path,
often nicknamed the “
Yellow Brick Road...."

A word of caution, for those who’ve walked the yellow brick road will know what I mean. The stones underfoot can be very slippery when wet, which is more often than not, so walk carefully.

Here you can make an early decision to continue or abort. An early abort decision gives you the opportunity to try another more weather friendly walk in safer conditions.

Do NOT wander off path while walking to Mill Hill, for Featherbed Moss gets very boggy and bogs can be very dangerous places to get caught in.

Boggy ground either side of the path on Featherbed Moss

I myself got caught on the North York Moors and had to get above the water table to complete the walk. You can read about my wander on the North York Moors in A Heartbeat Walk from Aidensfield on to Howl Moor, where I had a wander around Heartbeat Country.

Eventually we reached Mill Hill summit, walking in to a head on wind. There is another stone clad path off Mill Hill, which I advise to use, for the Liberator wreckage is spit over two sites, close together.

Looking over to Kinder's west side from Mill Hill summit

However, we took the slightly muddy path to the left of the stone clad path, walking off-path for about 500 mtrs to the first site of the wreckage. Once you reach the wreckage you see what looks like a wing, lying in a fairly shallow grough.

The wreckage here is one of the very few where the crew walked away!

The crew of the Liberator B24;
2nd Lieutenant Creighton R. Houpt Pilot
Staff Sergeant Jerome M. Najvar Flight Engineer

The story is the aircraft, a Liberator B24, with a two man crew; on 11th October 1944 at 10:32, was being flown from Burtonwood, near Warrington, to Hardwick at an altitude of 2800 feet.

While in cloud and turbulence, 2nd Lt Houpt spotted a small gap in the cloud and noticed the ground was actually only 150 feet below them!

Full power was applied to try and pull the aircraft clear of the ground, to no avail, resulting in impact with Mill Hill.

The two men, both injured, managed to get free from the wreckage, walk down Mill Hill and from a nearby pub, managed to contact Burtonwood and alert the base to the incident.

There is no memorial plaque at either of the two wreckage sites, nor are there any poppies or Remembrance Wreaths.

We then set a course to the second wreckage site, which entailed walking back uphill marginally for about 300 mtrs, to reach the site.

Here you will see some of the fuselage and engines.

Liberator wreckage

Liberator radial engine

After a brief wander around the area, we then set a course back uphill for Mill Hill summit.

Once back at Mill Hill summit, we then took the path downhill to the south west, crossing the point where the path from Kinder Reservoir and Bowden Bridge meets and continues towards Black Ashop Clough. Our course was to ascend to the Kinder Plateau straight in front of us.

This is a short but steep ascent and can be slippery in wet or icy conditions.

Looking at the west side of Kinder and the short steep ascent

The first cairn you reach, on the Kinder Plateau

Once you reach the plateau, there is a large cairn, marking the start of the plateau, though there is still some ascent to complete.

Not long after passing the cairn, you will see some fencing on your left and some weather eroded peat channels, where some of the Sabre wreckage can be found.

This again requires some off-path walking.

It was on 22nd July 1954 two Sabre F86 aircraft after undertaking exercise ‘Dividend’ collided with and crashed into Kinder Scout in the Peak District.

Six aircraft were lost were lost in this exercise.

The wreckage covers the Kinder plateau and Black Ashop Moor, to the north side of Kinder, below. The wreckage covers an area over a half mile in distance.

The two pilots named below, were from 66 Squadron, flying out of RAF Linton-on- Ouse were killed.

They were;
F/O James Desmond Horne (XD707)
F/Lt Alan Green (XD730)

Its only when you see wreckage like this, do you start to see Kinder in a different light…..

Some of the wreckage from one of the two Sabre F86 jets that crashed

Some more of the wreckage from one of the two Sabre F86 jets that crashed

We wandered around looking at the wreckage in the immediate area, though there are large chunks which can be seen down in Black Ashop Clough, somewhere I’ve yet to visit.

We then return back to the path and turn left heading in a south easterly direction. From here, it is all reasonably good pathway with some steep drops on your right!

The wind was very strong at times, almost blowing us over. Fortunately, the wind was blowing from the side where the steep drop was, or it could have been interesting at times.

Lunchtime was not too far away, so we found a small sheltered spot, among the rocks and had an early lunch before continuing onwards.

We followed the path round, eventually taking a sharp left turn to continue walking towards Kinder Downfall. Soon after taking the left turn, you pass another cairn.

Remember there are still some steep drop offs to your right!

A steep drop off to the right as you walk along the path to Kinder Downfall.
This photo was taken in low cloud January 2013

If the wind is almost blowing you over, towards the edge, it might be worth reconsidering your route or even aborting and turning back!

As you walk along the path, you pass through a kissing gate, and then continue to follow the path, where very soon you will see Kinder Downfall appearing in the distance.

Kinder Downfall was clearly visible this time, the uplifted spray was clearly visible, unlike the last time I was there, where it was a trickle and I almost walked past it!

" pass through a kissing gate...."

A fantastic view as we approached Kinder Downfall

As we got closer, it was time to consider putting hoods up!

The spray was doing its best to get anyone and everyone soaked!

I had stopped to take some photos, while Shaun and Neil carried on. By the time I’d joined them, Neil had collected water from the River Kinder and filtered it through his Sawyer Squeeze filter, then Shaun had the Jetboil on the go and we enjoyed a nice brew, before returning back to the start.

Filling the Jetboil with water filtered through the Sawyer Squeeze.
Lovely clear water and an enjoyable brew...

Kinder Downfall

Kinder Downfall
We had a good vantage point to take some photos and video, all of which are now online. The phoos on my Flickr account can be viewed here Peak Rambler Photosets; Kinder Downfall and the video here Kinder Downfall video on YouTube.

The Sawyer Squeeze water filter is incredibly easy to use, just collect the water in to the supplied container and squeeze the water into the Jetboil ( YouTube video Sawyer Water Filter and Jetboil). Those who know how brown the peat filled water of the Dark Peak is will appreciate how clear the filtered water was!

Now why was the water at the waterfall going up and not down?

Well, if you haven’t worked it out yet, it was all due to the strong wind on the day! The direction, South Westerly and speed, a forecast 40 plus miles per hour, all contributed to carrying the water back up the falls, along with the added rainfall giving the falls, often a trickle, a decent amount of water to disperse upwards.

For my regular readers, will know I have a Kestrel Anemometer, but for some unapparent reason, decided to unread on this day. The max recorded gust was 28.8 mph, but I wasn’t convinced.

My first suspicions came about earlier, when I took a reading and expected it to be 12-15 mph, but it only recorded 8mph!

After a subsequent test the following day confirmed it was under reading, I couldn’t find any reset procedure. Just as a warning for those who have Kestrel devices, there is NO RESET button on the back of the Kestrel device!

So I tried the most simple reset procedure, take the battery out for a few hours and try again. All seems to be ok, so if ever I’m in doubt again, the a battery reset it will be

I’ve digressed..

After a short break, brew and photo session we looked at our route back. There really isn’t much choice; it was to back track the outbound route. Cutting across the plateau wouldn’t save anything (see the map at the end) along with the fact it would be boggy.

Hoods up, and off went departed, backtracking the route around the edge of Kinder back to Mill Hill. This was going to be fun, for outbound after Mill Hill, we had the wind mainly at the side or behind us, now, it was in front or still to the side. But, the better side, blowing in from the lower ground and over the plateau, still at times almost knocking us off our feet!

We soon reached the kissing gate, and not much later the cairn, was approaching. For us, the cairn was notification of the right turn we would need, was approaching. Though the path was clear enough, it could serve as a prompt in poor visibility conditions.

We followed the path right, continuing past the Sabre wreckage we had visited earlier and then soon after the next large cairn appeared, just before the steep descent down from Kinder to the point where the path between Kinder Reservoir and Bowden Bridge, crosses to Black Ashop Clough.

A reminder again, the rocky path can be slippery in wet or icy conditions.

Descending from Kinder towards Mill Hill

Our route was to head for Mill Hill summit and pick up the yellow brick road across Featherbed Moss and back to the cars. For this last stretch across Featherbed Moss, the wind was behind us virtually all the way.

It was a good day, although we had some brief heavy showers, the weather was very much on our side.

But ! It could have be worse, I’ve been on Kinder (and Bleaklow) when the rain is horizontal and visibility is extremely poor. These are conditions where I’ve turned back in the interests of common sense and safety.

Map showing the route from the Snake Pass, to Mill Hill inc the Liberator wreckage
on to Kinder to see the Sabre wreckage then to Kinder Downfall

I carry snow goggles with me, which I mention in my What’s in my pack? blog, even when there is no snow. If I’m confronted with appalling weather conditions, they will help give some visibility without the rain beating in to my eyes.

Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler

Twitter              @PeakRambler
YouTube          Peak Rambler on YouTube

Links to some of the areas I’ve mentioned and written about here but not covered in the blogs mentioned;

Peak Rambler’s Ramblings....; 2 years old, Twitter CB and a Stag Do!

Well, Peak Rambler’s Ramblings.... is two years old and I’m still blogging about my walks, though mainly in the Peak District, but some are in Snowdonia, and yes, if I was having a mid-life- crisis in my write-up for the first anniversary of Peak Rambler’s Ramblings, then I guess I still am going through that crisis.

Yet another fabulous year for walking, with some interesting and varied weather, some spectacular snow days, sunny days and even a really good wet day to test not just waterproofs, but also test a water filter with some really peaty water, and then drink it!

Oh, and I mustn’t forget, the Stag Do……

Before all that, I just want to wind the blogging clock back a bit further than the last twelve months.

All this came about sometime in 2011, the sixtieth anniversary year of the Peak District National Park, where a group of us, virtually all on Twitter, met one weekend at Monsal Head, to commemorate the Peak District National Park’s sixtieth birthday.

Some of those guys were bloggers, some keen photographers, others, shared the one common thing that we all had, a love of the great outdoors.

The guy who organised the weekend, Terry Abraham, alias Terrybnd, started out making short videos of the Peak District, some of the many fabulous places to stay and visit, has come a long way since those days, now making some fabulous in depth videos of other parts of Great Britain.

One such video, is the Cairngorms in Winter, with Chris Townsend. A really fascinating video and another due to be released video later this year, about the Lake District.

I’m digressing, because here I want to just pick up on the Twitter part. I guess you’re wondering where CB comes in to his, read on and you’ll see…….

Twitter, like Facebook and Google+, are great mediums for getting to know folk and communicate, often within the safety of your own home. You find people that share the same interests as you, or even gone through similar life scenarios like you. You communicate with them, and then you get to find more people who also share similar backgrounds or interests and before you know it, you build up a nice circle of friends using the current state-of-the-art communications system.

From there, you will meet some of them; have a social, a meeting or whatever.

Well, this was exactly how that meet at Monsal Head back 2011 went. We got to know each other via Twitter, or one of the many outdoor forums that were around at the time.

That got me thinking, that was just how CB, otherwise known as Citizens Band Radio used to be. You would talk to total strangers via two-way radio, get to know them, meet them, often at an organised event, called an Eyeball, and from there, many great friendships were established.

Now that was a long time ago, CB was almost state of the art communication back then in the late seventies and early eighties, only becoming legal in November 1981 by the then Conservative Government, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher.

CB was all the craze in America during the mid to late seventies, brought about by the film Convoy and the spinoff hit and title theme “Convoy” in 1976 by CS McCall. CB started life out as a means of communication for the long distance truckers over there, when eventually it then found its way in to the UK, illegally. However, after a few years of campaigning, it was eventually legalised, but not the same system as in the USA.

I’ve digressed. I happy to say that I’ve managed to keep in touch with the vast majority of those who I met at Monsal Head and have made many more friends since then.

A couple of things that have changed, well, moved on, I’ve bought a GoPro Hero2 video, which I’m currently still on ‘L’ plates with using it. So Peak Rambler now has a YouTube page. Once I’ve mastered videoing, there will be a few more videos there.

Anyway, enough of that, let’s take a look back over the last twelve months of walking.

Now this was an interesting weekend. For me, along with some of the others, it was our first experience of a bunkhouse.

We stayed at Pindale Farm, just outside Hope, in virtually perfect reach of the Dark Peak, in winter.

Unfortunately for me, I had just been put on shifts the week leading up to the weekend, which meant I was going to be arriving late. The journey was interesting, for all the major routes from home, had suddenly become accident ridden!

But, we had a fantastic walk from Edale on to Kinder, round and down Jacobs Ladder.

A wild wintry walk around the Kinder Plateau

As we started our descent down Jacobs Ladder, we encountered two lads walking up Jacobs Ladder with mono cycles, with the intention of cycling down!

You can read all about that day, here in A Peak Winter Meet, a Bunkhouse and Kinder

Yet more playing in the snow, but not quite so exposed, but just as cold, in fact, with the bitter easterlies that day, much colder!

Here my snow goggles were put to good use along with my newly purchased Kahtoola Microspikes back in February.

Close to Highshaw Clough, Derwent Moor, with my snow goggles and some proper deep snow!

You can read about the day’s experiences in Derwent Moor to Highshaw Clough from Cutthroat Bridge

This walk covered some old ground, Bleaklow and the B29, again, in the snow, but this time the route extended the route out towards James Thorn where the few remains from the Royal Canadian Air Force Avro Lancaster KB993 that crashed there.

Looking over to White Clough from the James's Thorn

This was one walk I had been planning to return to for some time, Stanage Edge, a spectacular place and extremely popular with walkers and climbers alike.

A lot of rock climbing takes place on the gritstone edges and then there’s Robin Hoods Cave, a place which you could imagine the hero hiding in, with some spectacular views from a naturally shaped gritstone balcony overlooking Bamford, Bamford Moor, Offerton Moor and Eyam Moor.

Robin Hoods Cave on Stanage Edge

Due to a change in circumstances that day, my intended return route across Bamford Moor at the end of the walk was cut short.

This is another walk that has been on my to do list for quite a while, and I finally managed to make it.

Froggatt Edge is very similar to Stanage Edge, a gritstone edge, again, frequented by climbers with a moorland plateau to walk across.

One of many small stone circles on Big Moor

Actually, the moorland plateau, Big Moor, lead on White Edge and White Edge Moor, then we circled back around Barbrook Reservoir, now drained and disused, visiting four small megalithic stone circles.

“…. And a Stag Do!”

What an end to a title……

I’m not going to say too much about that bit you’ll have to read my blog to find out more.

This was covering some old ground, but instead of snow, we had rain, and lots of it. But it was a great day and Barney had brought along his Sawyer Water Filter. Boy was I impressed with how clear and drinkable the water was, that had been collected from a very peat filled fast running stream!

Looking down in to Danebower Quarry, long since abandoned

This was a very pleasant, steady walk through the White Peak, for a change. The walk started from Monyash, where we picked up the Limestone Way and then diverted to Arbor Low stone circle.

Arbor Low is one of many childhood haunts for me and is always a pleasure to visit, along with Gib Hill, some 300 metres to the south west.

Arbor Low Stone Circle

From there, we backtracked to the road, heading for Yougreave, where we would pick up the Limestone Way again, to walk through Bradford Dale, then on to Lathkill Dale, for our return to Monyash.

This is the Carneddau almost at its wildest. This was an area where I spent many hours doing my day time navigation training whilst I was a Scout Leader.

It was great to revisit many of the points we used to navigate to, and also to enjoy the peace and tranquillity, away from civilisation.

Llyn y Coryn, not far from Crimpiau

A warning though, much of this was off-path and not to be attempted unless your are confident walking off-path with limited navigational features.

This was the first day of a weekend of camping and walking. We camped at our favourite site, Park House near Monsal Head, with the first of two days of walking, along Stanage Edge.

This time, we did the route in reverse to my earlier walk, and we covered Bamford Moor first, then Stanage Edge from Crow Chin.

Lunch stop on Crow Chin, Stanage Edge

Though a circular route had been planned, I’m always open to suggestions, and our return route was back along Stanage Edge, descending by Stanage Plantation, then taking to road back to our transport back to the camp site, via Hathersage and its outdoor shops….

The Monsal Trail, great for and easy no hills walk, following the old Midland Railway line between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell, through some spectacular White Peak scenery, one I’ve been intending on doing for some time.

Our route started from Monsal Head, walking through Monsal Dale, across the A6, Great Shacklow Wood, bypassing the village of Ashford in the Water, in to Bakewell walking alongside the River Wye, then picking up the Monsal Trail just above The Brooklands.

Monsal Weir, River Wye, Monsal Dale

Entering Entering Headstone Tunnel, Monsal Dale

It was particularly poignant for me, for it as covering ground I used to walk on as a child and also the last time I walked through Headstone Tunnel was after the line had been closed, but before the tunnel was finally closed off for safety reasons.

This was the perfect end to a weekend of camping and walking, and a big thank you to Shaun who planned and organised the walk.

Eyam is a place that has fascinated me from childhood, particularly after watching a TV series called The Roses of Eyam, all about how Eyam quarantined itself off from the rest of the world, to prevent the spread of the Black Death!

Approaching the radio mast on Eyam Moor, visible from Castleton, Stanage Edge and Win Hill.

With all my walks, I plan the route and work out timings first, and this was no different. However, I had to cut the desired walk short at the planning stage, so I could spend time in Eyam itself, wandering around many of the key places relating to this self-exhalation they imposed on themselves.

Were they brave or fool hardy?

Mompesson's Well, a valuable trading point while the village of Eyam quarantined its self during the plague
I’d say brave, for it must have been very hard, especially with the limited medical knowledge they had at the time. Added to that, many families had to bury their own family members, who had died of the plague, themselves and not using the village church or churchyard.

To think that in many gardens, will be the bodies of those who died of the plague!

Eyam Moor was a lovely walk, even though I cut it short, with fabulous views across the Peak District, Stanage Edge in the East, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge to the North West!.

One last thought to leave you with, the nursery rhythm “Ring A Ring A Roses”, a lot of claim has been put this this coming from the plague. Many nursery rhythms were born out of historical events, even though there may be some poetic licence in the writing and later changes over time.

Riley's Graves, a reasonable walk to the east of Eyam

I have covered this on my blog, though it’s not conclusive, though I like to think so.

I will return, to complete what I never managed to walk on Eyam Moor.

This walk was a long overdue walk. I was on holiday in North Yorkshire, intending on either walking the North York Moor or Yorkshire Dales. However, I pulled a muscle in my back and walking, even moving was painful, so it never happened.

I did however manage a short walk around Derwent and Howden Reservoirs late October prior to my North Yorkshire break. But the time I had available between the walk and my holiday was days, so that never got written about.

The famous Salt Cellar, one of many weathered Gritstone formations on Derwent Edge

Anyway, Derwent Edge, this was covering old ground again, with friends, but this time the return was via Ladybower Reservoir and not back tracking the moor.

Derwent Moor has probably some of the best, if not the best, weathered gritstone formations in the Peak District.

This is my final blog for this second year, where I joined a small group of fellow walkers from a walking forum, for a wander from Bamford, through Hope on to Win Hill and back to Bamford via Thornhill.

Approaching Win Hill in the cloud!

Thank you for reading and following, once again it’s been another enjoyable year of walking and blogging as much as I’ve enjoyed the walking and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them just as much.

I can never find enough time to get out and walk, but one thing is for sure, I grab every opportunity I can.

I would like to say thank you to you all, for taking the time to read and also to those who have passed comments either via Twitter or to the various blogs I’ve posted. It’s been a pleasure receiving your feedback.

Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler

Twitter               @PeakRambler
Photo Album     Peak Rambler Flickr Photo Album  
YouTube           Peak Rambler on YouTube

Links to some of the areas I’ve mentioned and written about here but not covered in the blogs mentioned;