Friday 28 October (11.35-1730)
Distance: 13.9 miles (the Garmin Gadget said 3100 feet of ascent; the map suggests significantly less)
Having left home under clear blue skies, promising a fantastic day for a walk, increasingly sizeable patches of fog were encountered as we made our way north. Was the sun going to win over the fog by the time we reached Glossop? We gave it every opportunity by being waylaid by a completely unnecessarily fat-boy fry-up of a second breakfast as we passed through Buxton. By the time we reached Glossop the sun had won, making everything look autumnally attractive as we wandered up to Doctor’s Gate:
Having followed the flags of the Pennine Way past Mill Hill there was the steep staircase to tackle to get us up onto the Kinder Plateau. I remember walking down here on our LEJOG and commenting that I was glad we weren’t heading up it. In reality it’s easier in ascent. It may cause me a bit of puffing and gasping, but climbing it is definitely gentler on the knees.
Mick thought I was really dawdling up here. What he didn’t notice was that I’d stopped to take this photo!
The north edge of Kinder Plateau was our chosen side, as Mick hadn’t been that way before. It is surely not possible to walk around this area without marvelling at the shapes of the rocks, and this was no exception:
I would have missed this ‘cosy’ little man-made bivvy site, which took advantage of the overhanging rock, if Mick hadn’t pointed it out. Fortunately no-one was in residence when I stuck my head in for a look.
A while later Mick said “That was an owl!”. I looked at him as if he was daft (well, it was mid-afternoon and not an owl-hooting time of day) and said that it was clearly a sheep. Not two minutes later what should fly across the path right in front of us, but a barn owl. Seems like Mick may not be daft after all…
Things were significantly damper underfoot than they had been in June (which is hardly surprising considering how little rain fell in March, April and May). All of the peaty, boggy wallows which now littered the path were sufficiently avoidable to avoid sinking by more than an inch or so, and the benefit of the recent rain (it had certainly rained quite a bit on Thursday) meant that the streams were flowing. Even so, the last stream of any significance that we were going to pass before finding a pitch was Blackden Brook so we stopped to fill our bladders. I drink my tea weaker than that peaty water looked!
At this point I should probably digress onto one of the purposes of this trip. Having been in correspondence with Tor and Lande about their intended trip to the Peaks this weekend, we had hoped that by walking a similar route in the opposite direction we would bump into them at some point. The plan seemed like a good one until around abouts Blackden Brook when I suddenly realised that the route that I’d plotted for our own walk was quite possibly not the route the Tor and Lande were going to take. A little detail that I should have checked in advance, particularly as the only bit of the route in doubt was the bit where we were hoping to meet them.
The best thing to do, we decided, would be to head over to Rowlee Pasture before looking for a pitch. The problem was that we didn’t have enough daylight to cover another five miles, and I didn’t want to be scouting around for a pitch in the dark. The next best option was to stick with Plan A, camp on the Kinder side of the valley and get up silly-early in the morning to try to get over to Rowlee Pasture before Tor and Lande moved on.
With the west end of Kinder being mainly a bed of heather, we dropped down off the side a bit to find a pitch. The spot we chose would have been visible to a number of farms across the valley, if it hadn’t been for a conveniently placed shooting butt.
The pitch looked perfectly reasonable as we threw the tent up about half an hour before darkness. However, crawling inside, I discovered a big lump and dip by Mick’s knees (or, more precisely, where Mick’s knees would be spending the night), so we moved the tent forward a couple of feet. On reflection, I should have kept quiet about the lump and dip as, come bedtime, I realised that by giving Mick a nice flat bed I’d gained a lump and a dip myself (harrumph!).
Being the party animals that we are, by just gone 9pm our books were away for the night and eyelids were being rested.