Pennine Way (above Edale),

Peak District

17th - 19th August 2007 



Setting out on the walk, just above Edale Rail Station & Moorland Centre, approaching Edale Church.


Edale Holy Trinity Church.


The path leading up from Nags Head, the official start of the Pennine Way's most southerly point at Edale.


  This was the trip I invited my niece, Michelle, to come along to. I took days leave for Friday and waited for her to drive up. She ran into traffic on the way up from South Bromley, so we did not leave as I had originally anticipated, though, to be fair, I had probably been dawdling myself. The venue was the North Lees Campsite just outside the town of Hathersage, on the edge of Derbyshire. We also encountered more traffic en route, running into late Friday afternoon peak traffic ourselves, consequently only arriving around 19h40, with enough light to pitch the tent. We found the Xerox tents quite easily, each tagged and penned with a "Xerox" inscription. My tent still sported an orange tag from our previous visit, the current tags being yellow. The mess tent was in its customary position, yet there was no-one to be seen, all down in the town, we suspected. Michelle and I made our way on foot down Birley Lane into Hathersage. Walking all the way up the main road, checking the pubs and restaurants, we ended up at the Scotsman's Pack at the top end of the town, where we had a drink. We settled for a curry at the Indian restaurant and then made our back up the hillside to the camp in the dark. There being no street lighting and the mature trees on either side forming a canopy, it was impossible to see the road at times in the sheer darkness, which made Michelle quite jittery, probably a symptom of having grown up in South Africa, as I had done.  Luckily I had a tiny torch, which I used when required. The next morning we met the rest of the crew. The group was small, with Martin Lighten and Bob Gaskell at the helm. Michelle had decided to join the members who had elected to walk Stanage Edge, just north of the camp, which I had done previously. This could probably well be said for most of the rest who drove to Edale. Edale is best known to serious walkers as the start (or southern end) of the Pennine Way, and to less-ambitious walkers as a good starting point for day Peak District walks.

Vanda crossing the bridge, just before commencing the ascent to the Kinder Scout plateau.


The ascent along the Pennine Way, the plateau can be seen in the background.


As keen photographers, Vanda and I always seem to end up way behind the group.


The sheer beauty on the hillsides of the Peak District landscape.


Peak District heather.


  The Pennine Way is a National Trail in England. The trail runs 429 kilometres (268 miles) from Edale, north through the Yorkshire Dales and the Northumberland National Park, to end at Kirk Yetholm, just inside the Scottish border. The path was inspired by similar trails in the United States, particularly the Appalachian Trail. The Pennine Way has long been popular with walkers, and in 1990 the Countryside Commission, a statutory body in England, reported that 12,000 long-distance walkers and 250,000 day-walkers were using all or part of the trail per year. The popularity of the walk has resulted in substantial erosion to the terrain in places, and steps have been taken to recover its condition. As for all good intentions, I think that Martin would have liked to have done Kinder Scout, but the weather conditions on this particular day prevented this. The peak district is conventionally split into the northern Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and whose geology is gritstone, and the southern White Peak, where most of the population lives and where the geology is mainly limestone-based. Kinder Scout is a moorland plateau (and mountain) in the Dark Peak of the Derbyshire Peak District.  Part of the moor, at 636 metres above sea-level, is the highest point in the Peak District and the highest point in Derbyshire. We left the car park, walked up to the Moorland Centre, where Martin popped in to check on availability of the Fieldhead campsite, as an alternative to North Lees at Hathersage. We then passed Edale Church, built in 1885-6 until we reached the Old Nag's Head, a former smithy dating back to 1577, widely regarded as the official start of the Pennine Way. The route lead up a stone path until we reached a track leading off to the right, that led down to a bridge which crossed a stream. From here we took a zig-zag path that steadily led us up a steep incline until we reached the plateau.

Martin Lighten, John Adams & Bernard Gardner, XHC members.


The hills are alive with the sight of smiling faces; Vanda wonders what possessed her in bringing a rucksack full of cameras along.



Vanda and trailed at the rear, constantly taking photographs of the beautiful colours produced by the landscape covered in heather. having reached the top, here we swung left and followed the ridge in a westerly direction. The weather deteriorated and soon we were enveloped by a thick mist swirling from the valley below, and a biting cold, with gusty conditions. The precise route we followed, where we finally decided to abandon tackling Kinder Scout, came about when we arrived at a junction which could have taken us there, save the poor visibility, the cold and inclement weather. Instead we took a path that descended back into Edale. As it turns out, in any event, in less than six months we would be returning to "conquer" the Kinder Scout plateau.

Click on map - 18th August Walk from Edale car park to the plateau, the dark brown mass to the left being Kinder Scout




Peak District rock formations, resembling gargoyles, in a kind of eerie way.


We returned to the Old Nag's Head, where we had a drink or two, which seems to restore some comfort from the aching limbs and the cold. Michelle had enjoyed her walk with those hikers who had walked along Stanage Edge.  Short of exercise, I think it had done her the world of good. After a much-needed shower, it was time for a barbeque. Events got quite jovial and in fairness, we probably caused a tiny bit of disturbance in the campsite, which is quite unusual, as we tend to respect the rights of others on all of our walks. I guess it was simply down to the particular mixture of folk, that we truly enjoy one another's company.  Martin best summarised the weekend: "We would just like to add our thanks for a great weekend. I’m always amazed no matter how bad the conditions, especially camping, it always brings out the best in people. I think we can notch the one complaint as testimony to the fact that we had a good time. Many thanks for all the help especially when we arrived on Friday night.  As usual a special ‘thank you’ to John for all the logistics; plus a great tip on the packing up of the mess tent from Peter!"


Vanda braves the swirling cold wind rising from the valley below to the plateau near Kinder Scout..


The mist clears on the plateau, to reveal the stunning beauty of the valley below, back towards Edale.


Commencing the descent to Edale from the plateau, not far from the junction that leads to Kinder Scout.


  After a shower on Sunday morning, we packed up and left. As a result of the continual appalling weather, we couldn't really plan a walk somewhere. I decided to show my niece Michelle a bit of the surrounding countryside, so we drove via Castleton over Winnat's Pass to Buxton, where we stopped for a soup lunch. I had once bought some art at a gallery just off Terrace Road. The gallery had since closed, upon enquiring from the owner of a toyshop next door. When was I first attracted to some of the works on display in the window from local artists in the area and walked in, some years back, a young guy was sitting on a stool picking a guitar. It turned out that he was a folk musician whilst running the gallery as well. His wife was a jazz singer by the name of Janet Galloway. For a few years I stayed in e-mail contact but not for some time now, unfortunately. I drove Michelle to view the plague cottages at Eyam. The Derbyshire town of Bakewell claims to be the home of the authentic Bakewell Pudding (often confused with the more widely known Bakewell Tart, which is very different) and indeed there is a variant (and supposedly secret) recipe still made there that consists of a puff pastry shell with a layer of jam, covered with a filling of  eggs, sugar, butter and almonds. We drove to Bakewell and stopped at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop on The Square and put its reputation to the test.  

Vanda, official photographer.


Contrasting colours of the Peak District landscape blend spectacularly.


The descent to Edale, studying the map en route.


Nags Head, official start of the Pennine Way, and in this case, the end of today's walk.


My niece Michelle outside the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop on the Sunday.


The tale told to tourists is that this dish is an accidental invention of the 1860s, which occurred when a nobleman visiting the White Horse Inn (now called The Rutland Arms) at Bakewell ordered strawberry tart. The cook, instead of stirring the egg mixture into the cake, spread it on top of the jam. The route to Matlock as we left Bakewell around 16h30 was blocked with traffic, probably as a result of road-works, so we detoured, to pick up the highway south, arriving home around 20h00. It had been a break Michelle needed and I was glad that she had come along.


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Links to other websites:

  • Official Pennine Way - website

  • Pennine Way - wiki

  • Kinder Scout - wiki

  • Peak District - wiki

  • Moorland Centre, Edale - website

  • Fieldhead campsite - website

  • Edale Valley Tourist Association - website

  • Kinder Scout Trespass - official website

  • Everyday Cycling - Edale loop - website

  • Kinder Downfall from Hayfield - Trekking Britain website

  • Walking via Kinder Reservoir - didicam69 website

  • The Dark Peak - University of Manchester Hiking Club - website

  • National Trust - Kinder Scout - website

  • Edale in the Peak District - website

  • The Old Original Pudding Shop, Bakewell - website