Classic Kinder walk, and some Gritstone formations

I've been pondering a return to this side of Kinder for a while, and after a chat with a work colleague, decided this was going to be my walk. But, it was in competition with another route I'd been looking at, which is still on my ever increasing tick list!

The route I took, not for the first time either, is probably the classic route that most people take when walking up on to Kinder. Most people start from Edale and ascend via one of the many paths from there on to the Kinder Plateau.

The route I took this time was from Edale, ascending Kinder following Grinds Brook up to Grindsbrook Clough, then a scramble up to the plateau at the top of Grindsbrook Clough. From there, Crowden Tower, Woolpacks, Swines Back and descending via Jacobs Ladder to pick up the Pennine Way at Upper Booth back to Edale.

I arrived at the car park in Edale, just across the road from Edale Station, paid my car parking dues at the pay and display machine near the toilets, got suited and booted, then headed off in to Edale to start my route proper.

The last time I walked this route, well, apart from the last bit after Upper Booth, was back in February 2013 when a few of us met up at a bunkhouse just outside Hope and enjoyed a winter wander along the snow covered route.

You can read about that walk and the weekend in A Peak Winter Meet, a Bunkhouse and Kinder.

The wild Kinder Plateau and one of the many groughs

The very first time I ever walked on Kinder, I was about eleven or twelve at the time, and walked up on to Ringing Roger, and I would guess following the edge around to the top of Grindsbrook Clough to join the route I followed this time around.

Unfortunately, my memories are very vague from that day, but I do remember looking across the barren plateau and thinking “Wow, how wild and wonderful. One day, I’ll walk across that….”. Never did I realise that I would follow those thoughts and aspirations through.

I think the next time, I was about eighteen, and did my first wild camp, using what was high tech then, well, budget more than high tech, an old ex-army canvass ridge tent with a couple of friends.

I don’t think for one moment we ventured far, for the kit was heavy, we were not as comfortably equipped as we are today. As much as we were convinced at the time we had conquered Kinder Scout, I can assure you we were light years away, never venturing far from the edge of the plateau, it didn’t take long before we started our descent, back down Ringing Roger!

The top of Grindsbrook Clough, in the snow, February 2013

Anyway, I’ve digressed with a little personal history, but as lot of water has gone under the bridge since those wild care free days, my skills and knowledge have progressed greatly and I still enjoy these areas, just as much, if not more so with the experience gained.

So, I leave the car park, walk past the station in a northerly direction, heading in to Edale properly, aiming for The Old Nags Head, probably one of the most well-known pubs in the County, particularly for those starting out on the Pennine Way.

Edale Station Car Park

The road past Edale Station and under the railway to Edale

The Old Nags Head pub, Edale
Just a quick piece of advice, the route I’ve chosen can be completed in reverse. But!

Yes, a BIG BUT, Jacobs Ladder, part of the Pennine Way, which I chose as my descent route, is quite an uphill slog!

So if you decide to do the route in reverse, just be aware that it is a long steep path!

It was bad enough descending, as you will find out later, so check out the contours on your map before you make any plans….

The Pennine Way is the path off to the left, level with The Old Nags Head, but my route was straight on, through the village to take up a public footpath to my right towards the end of the houses, going down through a short wooed area, where I take the wooden bridge across Grinds Brook, up some steps and out on to fields following the hardened slabbed path alongside Grinds Brook.

...."through the village to take up a public footpath to my right"....

...."take the wooden bridge across Grinds Brook, up some step"....

Here it is relatively easy navigation all the way up to the start of Kinder, up to  where Golden Clough joins Grindsbrook Clough. Here, it starts to get exciting where the route starts to get gradually more challenging and at times, the path at one point close to an adults foot in width with a chance of slipping in to the water of Grinds Brook if you miss your footing!

...." out on to fields following the hardened slabbed path
alongside Grinds Brook

From here, you are walking up Grindsbrook Clough, over a boulder strewn path, crossing Grinds Brook a few times trying to find a comfortable route up.

It isn’t long before you start to scramble properly, with a mixture of large, medium and small sized boulders to negotiate and a proper steeper ascent all the way up to the plateau!

While I was walking up Grindsbrook Clough, I had the pleasure of chatting to quite a few folk, many while struggling, doing their best to negotiate the route up, through a lack of fitness, skills and poor footwear. It is important that suitable footwear is worn when attempting a walk like this, not just for scrambling, but also for walking along the plateau path, in all weathers, for the weather could, and does change, very quickly. Not just on kinder, but any open route!

Grindsbrook Clough

The scramble up Grindsbrook Clough

Once I was at the top of Grindsbrook Clough, without wishing to appear rude, I let the crowds disappear, so I could enjoy the views peacefully, and then I needed to find a suitable sheltered spot for lunch.

The peaks of Win Hill (L) and Lose Hill (R) in the distance

The top of Grindsbrook Clough

It was also an opportunity to put an extra layer on, for the wind had picked up, though not too cold, but it was enough to get a chill while standing around.

There was a group of two couples; reasonably well kitted out, stopped for a breather and commented how cold they felt. I advised they put on an extra layer while they had stopped and without hesitation, the agreed, got out that extra layer from their packs.

At this point, a few folk seemed to be a little confused which path to take. The compass, in conjunction with the map, was telling them the right way, while their observations seemed to contradict that. They had built up an impression of circumnavigating the plateau edge, which is right to a point. But, if they took the path they thought they should be on, they would end up walking to Grindsbrook Knoll!

The gritstone formation that seemed to get mistaken for Pym Chair

So, everyone finally moved on, I enjoyed the view, looking over to both Win and Lose Hills, and Kinder all around, it was beautiful.

I then continued on my way, walking past what looks like a giant gritstone chair, and met a couple who thought it was Pym Chair.

Pym Chair is some considerable distance further on near to the Woolpacks, not Grindsbrook Clough!

They were intent on walking to Kinder Scout, following a clearfly defined path on the map, asking for advice. I advised them that the route to Kinder Scout is not a clearly defined path and that they would have to walk carefully in a set bearing, taking care not to veer off!

Whether they did or not, I don’t know, but I wasn’t convinced their navigational knowledge or skills were good enough…..

I left them to it, continued on my way, searching for a nice sheltered lunch spot. Finding the right spot didn’t take too long. It was just right, good views, no one around, I could just see the Woolpacks in the far distance, cracking views all around. What more could I ask for?

One couple walking the opposite way approached a bench like stone and sat to eat their lunch. I did suggest they might want to come in to a sheltered area, there was plenty enough room, but they were quite happy to sit where they were, and enjoy the view they had.

Lunch over; it was time to move on, following a clearly defined path circumnavigating the edge of the Kinder plateau, heading for my next destination, Crowden Tower.

Crowden Tower has a special memory for me, it was where my son, then thirteen, made his first ascent of Kinder from Upper Booth, via Crowden Clough on to Crowden Tower, and then across the plateau to Kinder Scout. After some initial teaching, here it was the first proper insight for my son in to a navigational trick: ”Leap Frogging”!

The top of Crowden Brook, and Crowden Tower

Basically, you start fixed at a known location, send someone off on a bearing, get them to line up perfectly on that bearing, then they stay there while you walk up to them.

That exercise is repeated as often as required until you reach your destination, while keeping track of the distance covered by counting paces, which should help to stop you over running the desired location.

Normally you would employ a back stop, a feature that you can look out for that tells you you’ve gone too far by a calculated distance. However, on Kinder’s plateau, those features are extremely rare!

On that day, it was a successful process; we reached the cairn marking Kinder Scouts Summit, and my son was like a dog with two tails, proving a new technique to him and reaching Kinder Scout, on what he would have deemed impossible under normal circumstances.

I’ve digressed again…..

Continuing down towards Crowden Brook, crossing the water, I then climb back up, heading for the Woolpacks, a large area of gritstone formations.

Taking yet more time out to admire the views, grab a few photos, it was bliss, hardly a soul about.

It was good looking back over Crowden Brook, remembering that day my son made his first ascent on to Kinder, as well as looking back over the route I’d had been walking today.

While taking in the views, and of course, taking photos, one young couple stopped and asked if I knew where Kinder Scout was and were they far away?

Hmmm, do I know!

With trainers on, a small pack, map and compass…..

I asked how good their navigational skills were and the young man replied honestly, “Not very, but enough to get me back along this path.”

I advised he didn’t try, explaining that it was a featureless plateau and they would need a bit more than just map and compass.

I invited him to look over towards the plateau, and he agreed it was featureless. Thanking me and accepting my advice, they continued on their way.

Looking over the Woolpacks

The Woolpacks, well, part of....

Incidentally, while I’m thinking about it, almost as soon as I left my lunch spot, I had no further mobile signal until I got past Upper Booth. I’m not out to name and shame any mobile network, more to advise that even in England’s fair and pleasant land, there are lots of places where a mobile signal is non-existent and alternative means to summon help would need to be employed if you became stuck!

This is where whistles and torches come in to their own:
6 clear whistle blasts (or flashes of a torch if at night and in the dark) in succession - repeated at 1 minute intervals until a reply is heard which should be 3 clear whistle blasts (or flashes of a torch if at night and in the dark) in succession - repeated at 1 minute intervals.

You might want to read a blog I wrote; ”What's in my pack?“ where I look at some of the kit I carry in my pack and why.

Continuing on, from the Woolpacks, it wasn’t too long before I reached Pym Chair. It does look a little like a chair, an arm chair almost, a damned BIG arm chair at that too!

Pym Chair

However, not quite as much as the gritstone formation near Grindsbrook Clough.

Leaving this particular set of gritstone formations, you need to exercise a little care and planning, for the route isn’t quite as clear as you have become used to. There is a path on the eastern side, down and around the south side of the stones, to take you back on to the path heading west for Swines Back.

Back on to the path, I was now heading for Noe Stool, another gritstone formation that really does look almost like a rather large stool!

Who needs to go to some of the American deserts to see some fantastic and outrageous rock formations?

We have plenty of those here in the UK, not just in the Peak District, but also Yorkshire, Dartmoor, Exmoor and many more places, too numerous to mention here today.

Continued along the clearly defined path, I headed towards Edale Rocks and Swines Back. Swines Back is where I will pick up the path down Jacobs Ladder, back to Upper Booth.

Edale Rocks is another gritstone formation, about fifteen metres above the path, before you reach Swines Back. Here you get a good view down on to Jacobs Ladder, my descent route for today.

Edale Rocks

Noe Stool
Following the path, out of nosiness, I take a very minor detour, towards the point where you can either continue straight on to Brown Knoll, turn right to Oaken Clough and Edale Cross, or descend down Jacobs Ladder, my chosen route.

...."a good view down on to Jacobs Ladder"....

You may recall I mentioned earlier, that Jacobs Ladder is quite a steep path; you will hopefully see from one or two of the photos here how steep it is. However, there are some splendid views back up on to Kinder looking back along the route I’ve just walked.

Following Jacobs Ladder down, it is not only steep, but there are some sharp turns along the way but the views to the top where I had been walking, were slowly starting to fade in to the distance, behind the peaks of Kinder, called “The Cloughs”.

Continuing the walk down, eventually I reached a narrow stone walled bridge that crossed the River Noe, which unsurprisingly starts not too far from Noe Stool. Crossing that bridge and the footpath almost immediately becomes fairly level, with only a slight downhill gradient.

Jacobs Ladder

...."some sharp turns along the way"....

The bridge on Jacobs Ladder over the River Noe

Following the path, you walk through Lee Farm, where in one of the out buildings on your right, is a small display showing some of the wildlife, landscape and brief history of the immediate area.

Continuing through the farm, you reach a tarmacked single track ‘private’ road, which leads to Upper Booth. It’s private in that the vehicular accesses is for those living on Lee Farm, or have business with the farm It is part of the public footpath, so there is no problems with you walking along the road.

At the end of the private drive, once through the gate you are now on a public road, where you can not only see the road bends to the right, but also goes through a small wooded area.

In this wooded area, there is a bridge taking the road over Crowden Brook, which runs from Crowden Tower on Kinder.

Just before the bridge, there is a gate on your left. The gate gives access to the path that runs alongside Crowden Brook, taking you up through Crowden Clough to Crowden Tower. This was the very route my son and I walked back in September 2010.

The footpath after the bridge over the River Noe

Approaching Upper Booth

The entrance to Upper Booth Farm and Campsite

Just a word of caution, if you haven’t noticed, parking by Upper Booth is extremely limited, to the point of being non-existent, so if you decide to try that route, check out your parking first.

Crossing the road bridge brings you to Upper Booth Farm and campsite, On the entrance corner to the farm, is a sign taking you through the farm to pick up the Pennine Way and head for Edale.

Or you could continue along the road which will bring you round to the station car park just outside Edale.

However, having walked the road before, my chosen route was  to backtrack the Pennine Way back to Edale, for a change of scenery.

It’s quite a straightforward and clearly signposted walk through Upper Booth farm to pick up the Pennine Way. From here, the path was clear and very defined from Upper Booth to Edale.

Once you leave the farm yard, you are then on to a field and looking South- West, you can see some rather derelict farm buildings.  This is Tagsnaze Farm.

What importance is Tagsnaze Farm I hear you asking?

One of the buildings on Tagsnaze Farm is used as the Middleton’s house in the BBC TV series, The Village.

The Middleton's home, from the BBC TV series, "The Village"

Just digressing, I couldn’t find anything explaining the origin of Tagsnaze. However, I did find something on Tags Naze, which basically described It as a settlement near to Edale during the 1700’s.

Continuing along the path, you have a relatively small ascent to the foot of Broadlee-Bank Tor.

...."the path was clear and very defined from Upper Booth to Edale"....

Take in the views as you walk along the path. On the right is the Great Ridge, viewed from left to right; Lose Hill, Back Tor, Hollins Cross and Mam Tor.

This view is similar to the one seen from the Middleton’s house in the BBC TV series, The Village. I say similar, because you actually view it from a different angle, with not being right outside the barn used in the scenes. But I can assure you, it’s still just as impressive.

...."Take in the views as you walk along the path.
On the right is the Great Ridge, viewed from left to right;
Lose Hill, Back Tor, Hollins Cross and Mam Tor

This particular stretch of my walk was interesting, in that I met one group and one couple walking the opposite way, having passed them on Kinder earlier, where they had ascended via Jacobs Ladder and descended via Grindsbrook Clough.

Their comments were interesting, the couple said the walk up Jacobs Ladder was interesting while a couple from the small group said, “Never again up Jacobs Ladder

One thing they were unanimous on, they all enjoyed the walk, whatever the circumstances of the day.

The approach in to Edale

The Old Nags Head, Edale

The steps entering the car park

From here the path is very clearly defined taking you back in to Edale just to the South West of the Old Nags Head. Once you enter the village, turn right and follow the road back to the station car park, and the end of a very pleasurable walk and a fantastic day.

The map showing the route

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

Twitter           @PeakRambler
YouTube       Peak Rambler on YouTube
Photos          Classic Kinder September 2014 on Flickr
Links to some of the areas I’ve mentioned and written about here:
A Peak Winter Meet, a Bunkhouse and Kinder
What's in my pack?
BBC TV series, The Village

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