An Ideal Buffalo Day

I had planned my traditional pre-Christmas walk around Kinder Scout for 23rd December, but the forecast was bad with warnings of severe weather.  I've spent too many days on Kinder in the past when the weather has been so bad that any real enjoyment gained by being there only comes later with the satisfaction of beating (surviving, even) the elements over a pint in the Nag's Head in front of a roaring fire.
The forecast for Christmas Eve was better, mainly dry but with strong winds.  The forecast was spot on.  It was mainly dry and the wind was steady all day.

Two new items of kit went with me for their maiden outing.  The first and most interesting was my new OMM Cypher smock which didn't get used at all, so I can't comment other than to say that it is a very close fit in comparison to my old Berghaus PackLite smock.  I'm 5'11" with a 46" chest and my XL size Cypher is a good fit for me across the shoulders.  The sleeves are a perfect length but the body is only just the right length for me.  For anyone a couple of inches taller, the XL might be a touch too short.  Try before you buy!  The volume adjustable hood is good and deep to allow a cap or beanie to be worn underneath, has a wired peak and is shaped to give good all round vision.  The Event laminated fabric is quite stiff and noisy.  After using a Paramo Velez smock the Cypher feels a bit like a crisp packet but it is very light weight, so I'm happy with the trade-off.  It goes well with a pair of Kamleika pants to provide a comfortable, close-fitting and lightweight waterproof outer shell. I was a bit sceptical about the Lycra-bound thumb loops in the cuffs, being more used to conventional Velcro adjustable tabs to close the sleeves around wrists and gloves.  The thumb loops worked really well and the sleeves are cut for a close fit.  Time will tell if the Event material and Lycra edge binding is durable enough to last the course, especially when the wearer also uses walking poles.  I would be a bit miffed if the jacket was eventually let down by any such weakness in the thumb loop design.  The last thing I'd want in a £150-£190 smock would be worn-through baggy sleeves that cannot be closed down without using duct-tape! As said, time will tell.  

Half way up Crowden Clough at 8.30am, I pulled on my 25 year-old Buffalo Big Face DP shirt!  The fact is, it didn't rain so I didn't need the Cypher.  Dry all day but that wind coming from the south was bitingly cold, so this was an ideal Buffalo day.

The other virgin item of kit worn all day was my new Montane Bionic long sleeve zip neck top.  Close-fitting and combining merino wool on the inside with polyester on the outside, the Bionic top was a runaway success.  I never thought I would get enthusiastic about a base layer.  Let's face it, they are all pretty much the same: tight in the body and short in the sleeve even if they aren't meant to be, and invariably smelly after a day or two.  One day isn't enough to be able comment on the stench factor of this top, but in every other way the Bionic did all as claimed by Montane.  It's warm, well-fitting, wicks effectively and actually feels good to wear.  Combined with the geriatric Buffalo it kept me comfortable all day, from sitting on a rock watching the Kinder Downfall become an upfall in the teeth of the gale to working hard when putting Crowden Clough behind me, the Montane Bionic is a top quality base layer and can be had for around £29.99 if you do a bit of Googling.

Strangely, on a day when I expected to see plenty of people, I saw only 10 people all day: 6 fell runners and 4 walkers but not one other person along the entire length of the northern edge.  I felt that I had Kinder Scout to myself on Christmas Eve!  My descent back into Edale was via Grindslow Knoll, a tactical move thus allowing Kinder Scout to spit me out straight into the Nag's Head and that pint in front of the fire. Better still, there were no hyperactive children in the bar for once!  A mellow and cosy end to a perfect Christmas Eve.

Good old Buffalo.  Good old Kinder Scout.  Good old Nag's Head.  Good old 2011.  Life is good!

Not as much water coming down Crowden Clough as I expected.  The torrential rain of the previous day seems to have been soaked-up by the peat above.

 This fall just below the short scramble to the top of Crowden Clough always fascinates me

Not a lot of water going over the downfall, either.  The blow-back was nothing like I expected.

Above Fairbrook, reflecting on 2011.  An amazing year for me.  Becoming a grandfather and building on the successes I've created for myself over the past two years. Those who know me well know the full story.  Not smug, just happy!

Low sun drops under the cloud layer as the day draws to an end. 

I'd never noticed this holed rock near Ringing Roger before.  Mental note to self: go back and photograph it properly next time!


Alan Sloman said…

It's great when you get the place to yourself - a rare thing up on Kinder.
I always find that doing the glarey stare of death on noisy pests in the pub does the trick - or asking the parents t control their offspring.
Steve Walton said…
Agreed, Alan! There have been times in the recent past when the Nag's has been more like a Whacky Warehouse than a walker's pub with a long tradition. I'll have to brush up on the 'stink eye'. :)
Martin Rye said…
Kinder mid week can be all to yourself. Well done Steve and happy new year.
Steve Walton said…
Thanks, Martin. A very Happy New Year to you, too.
WalksAndWalking said…
I was looking for some new walks and found your post on Kinder - looks fantastic and your photos really do the place justice. I much prefer walking in more remote places or just getting up very early to avoid the crowds!