Kinder Scout Circuit

I was lucky to find somewhere to park the car outside the Nag's Head in Edale on a Bank Holiday Saturday.  The weather forecast was for a blustery day with occasional showers, so I decided to brave the holiday crowds in the Peak District for a circuit of the Kinder Scout plateau.  Kinder Scout is the nearest significant hill from home and is a great place to escape the office for some space and fresh air.  My route took me across the fields to Crowden Clough, I always enjoy this route because it's quiet and has plenty of interest with a very short scramble at the end onto the plateau.  The sun was shining as I set off, but by the time I arrived at Crowden Tower glorious Kinder Scout clag had set in reducing visibility somewhat!

On through the Woolpacks, where I got stuck in the peat a couple of years ago (another story!), the wind had picked up considerably.  Is there ever a calm day on Kinder?

I was hopeful that the strong wind and rising temperatures as the day warmed up would clear the heavy mist.

 By the time I got to the trig pillar at Brown Knoll, the mist had thickened and the northwesterly breeze had taken on gale force speeds.
Ever optimistic, I pinned hope on the fact that it might clear by the time I reached the Kinder Downfall.
Dropping down from the trig pillar onto the western edge, suddenly the mist was gone.  I could see the water blowing back as I approached the Downfall.  This area is a focal point for a day's walking on Kinder.  Arrive any time after 10am on a weekend and there will be numerous walkers on the skyline or sitting amongst the rocks having a brew or a snack.  Considering this was Bank Holiday Saturday, I had so far seen only two other walkers and was lucky enough to have the Downfall to myself.  It was interesting that I only saw 10-12 people all day on the hill, I had expected to see crowds!

Crossing the Kinder River, I continued on around the perimeter track to the northern tip of the plateau where the Pennine Way descends to Mill Hill.  Swinging eastwards, the escarpment of The Edge is an impressive sight and one of my favourite places to walk in the Peak District.  My next objective was Fairbrook Naze which can be seen from many places in the Dark Peak. 

Close to Fairbrook Naze, the Boxing Glove Stones stand proud right on the very edge.  For me, this outcrop is an impressive jewel in the Kinder crown.
The impressive buttress of Fairbrook is a good place to have a lunch break and there is a fine overhanging rock just around from the point that offers rare shelter from the ever-present winds on Kinder.

The views are extensive, taking in Bleaklow and Black Hill to the north, the Snake Pass, Ashop Moor, Woodlands Valley, he Derwent Edges and much more in good visibility.  The day had turned out to be glorious.  One of those days when you feel you want to walk for ever, and still no other walkers!

Seal Edge has many wind-sculpted rock outcrops and great views across Seal Flats to Lady Clough, the Woodlands Valley and Alport Castles.

The heather-clad moors take on a colourful transformation in late summer with purple, brown and green shades.  I had the company of a solitary raven and a blue hare in it's brown summer coat.  I hope to see him again in all his pure white winter glory!
Looking back westwards at my route, Blackden Rind and Fairbrook Naze stand out.  The rocks on the summit of Blackden Rind make a good vantage point.  Dropping down to the base, there is a good overhang for shelter and a brew.

Black Brook has many cascades in the lower reaches and a nice grotto a little further into the plateau.  This is another good spot to shelter from wind and rain.

I love that brown, peat-stained water!  However, I always take enough water with me for a day walk on Kinder Scout.  It's not a place where I would drink from any streams, there's too much human activity for that.


The trig pillar near Blackden edge seems to stand in a perpetual swamp.  The peat is badly eroded around the base, at least 60cm seems to have gone since the pillar was erected.  My route continued on around Madwomans Stones, past Ollerbrook Clough and then onto Ringing Roger and descending via The Nab back to Edale and the considerable Bank Holiday crowds.  I'm looking forward to revisiting Kinder Scout!

For anyone interested in the images, they were all taken on the Ricoh GRD2 with the wide angle converter, metering c/w between 80-200asa, aperture priority at f5.6, exposure comp. usually set to -0.3 stop,  jpegs saved from 16-bit raw files.

My daysack is an Innov-8 Race-Pro 12 with 2ltr Source wraparound bladder.  I will post a short review of this pack soon.


Paul Williams said…
I love Kinder and your images really capture the nature of it - especially the ones in the mist. Truly beautiful!
Steve Walton said…
Thanks, Paul! I hope we may cross paths at some point on Kinder (if not done so already), as I walk there several times per year.
Dave Hanlon said…
I used to live a stones throw away from here and although I got out into the peaks regularly the pull of other places was too great so my visits were infrequent. Absence makes the heart grow fonder indeed. Reading your account I'd give my back teeth to be out in the peaks right now.

Nice photos. Ever though of taking it up professionaly? :-)
Steve Walton said…
I'll give it some thought, Dave! :-D
I hope you are able to return to the Peaks one day.
Martin Rye said…
"I'm looking forward to revisiting Kinder Scout" - well said that man. It is magic and those photos show why.
Steve Walton said…
Thanks, Martin. I doubt it will be too long before I'm there again!
Anonymous said…
Amazing photos! For info on a much earlier but very significant walk on Kinder Scout, see Andrew Bibby's fascinating article on the 1932 mass trespass -
Steve Walton said…
Thanks for your comments. It's an interesting article, the Mass Trespass has been well-documented over the years and the events leading up to and beyond that day on Kinder Scout reveal much about the State and social attitudes during the 1930's.

Interesting blog, too!
Anonymous said…
Cracking pictures, i love walking in this area, i try to get up there at least once a week.