Kinder Scout (Edale),

Peak District

8th - 10th February 2008




At the Cheesehouse, preparing to leave; Edale Holy Trinity Church; Vanda, Martin and Nadine.


  Kinder Scout is a moorland plateau 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. It is accessible from the villages of Hayfield and Edale. Kinder Downfall is the highest waterfall in the Peak District, at thirty metres. It lies on the River Kinder, where it flows west over the edge of Kinder Scout. The waterfall was formerly known as Kinder Scut, and it is from this that the plateau derives its name. Although usually little more than a trickle in summer, in spate conditions it is impressive. In certain wind conditions (notably when there is a strong west wind), the water is blown back on itself, and the resulting cloud of spray can be seen from several miles away. Below the Downfall the River Kinder flows into Kinder Reservoir. The rock formations which characterise the edges of the Kinder plateau are formed from a type of sandstone called Millstone Grit. This was laid down in river deltas around 300 million years ago. The way these rocks have been eroded by water, ice and wind has given rise to several distinctive features. The blanket of peat which covers much of the Kinder plateau was formed as a result of extensive waterlogging which began as a result in a change in the climate and tree clearance by early settlers about 6,000 years ago.


Leaving Edale, on a path leading up to Grindsbrook Clough.


Nadine enjoying a bit of sunshine on the ascent up Grindsbrook Clough.


Higher up, the path crosses Grindsbrook, the stream; A view back down Grindsbrook Clough, as the stream courses the valley back own to Edale.


Nadine, a member of our hiking club, who lives in North London and works as an architect, had asked me via Martin for a lift on this occasion, though she is normally in the habit of journeying by train to our hiking trip destinations. She took the train up Friday after work and I fetched her at Royston station. We were all booked to stay at the Cheesehouse in Homestead, The Farm, South View Lane, Bamford, Hope Valley, not far from Hathersage, where we had stayed on previous occasions. We arrived to discover that Peter Mathews had rearranged the accommodation without consulting anyone. Nonetheless, I was sharing a room upstairs with Martin, Vanda, Nadine and newcomer Clive, I think.

We drove from Homestead to the car park in Edale. Unfortunately, though I had purchased a car park ticket from the ticket issuing machine, I had not purchased an all-day ticket by mistake and upon my return discovered, to my dismay, that I had been given a fine, a piece of paper having been neatly tucked under my windscreen wipers by some observant and officious parking attendant, no doubt. We made our way from the car park up the road past the local church to the Old Nags Head pub (the official start of the Pennine way), as we have always done. A short way up a stone path, we turned off and headed down to cross a bridge which then leads one up to a stile, where several options are presented one. One can take the hillside to the right all the way up to the plateau (as we had done on our previous walk in 2007). On this occasion we swung left and along a path following the stream known as Grindsbrook, that took us up the valley to the summit of Kinder Scout, at around 600 m. There we paused to take in the view and what better way to celebrate than enjoying a nice cup of tea.


View from the plateau of Kinder Scout down towards Grindsbrook Clough.


The rock formations which characterise the edges of the Kinder plateau are formed from a type of sandstone called Millstone Grit.


Stopping to admire the view and enjoy some refreshments; Group photo on the Kinder plateau.


On the Millstone Grit edge of Kinder Scout, Vanda poses against the backdrop of a the blue sky.


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. 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. Kinder Scout is a popular hiking location and the Pennine Way crosses Kinder Scout and the moors to the North. The erosion of the underlying peat has prompted work by Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park to repair it.

The plateau was also the target of the mass trespass of Kinder Scout on 24th April, 1932, a notable act of wilful trespass by ramblers, to highlight weaknesses in English Law of the time, which resulted in a UK-wide rethink of access to the countryside. This denied walkers in England or Wales access to areas of open country, and to public footpaths which, in previous ages (and today), formed public rights of way. From the National Park's inception, a large area of the high moorland north of  Edale was designated as 'Open Country'. Eventually, in 2003, the "right to roam" on uncultivated land was enshrined into law, and this area of open country has been significantly extended. 

Martin is the victim of some caricaturing on my part, using my ultra wide angle fish-eye lens.


View of peat bog, heather and Millstone Grit with which the Kinder Scout plateau is associated - note Kinder Reservoir in the distance.


Negotiating Kinder Scout peat bog; Peter and partner somewhat 'bogged down'; Following the stream that meanders through the peat bog.


The characteristic peat and heather landscape of Kinder Scout, as a result of waterlogging and tree clearance by farmers, 6000 years ago.


Rock formations formed by the weathering of the Peak District's Millstone Grit; Lunching on Kinder Scout; View of Kinder Reservoir in the direction of Kinder River.


The spectacular view of Kinder Scout, covered in heather, looking towards Kinder River and Kinder Reservoir.

A commemorative plaque now marks the start of the trespass at Bowden Bridge quarry near Hayfield (which is now a popular area for ramblers). This was unveiled in April 1982 by an aged  Benny Rothman during a rally to mark the 50th anniversary. The trespass proceeded via William Clough to the plateau of Kinder Scout, where there were violent scuffles with gamekeepers. The ramblers were able to reach their destination and meet with another group. On the return, five ramblers were arrested, with another detained earlier. Trespass was not, and still is not, a criminal offence in any part of Britain, but some would receive jail sentences of two to six months for offences relating to violence against the keepers. The mass trespass had a far-reaching impact, some of which is still playing out today. Eventually, changes in the law would allow all citizens access to public footpaths, regardless of whether they crossed private land. This culminated in the Countryside and Rights of way Act 2000, which legislates a limited right to roam over scheduled access land.

Kinder Low trig point - wild celebrations; Kinder plateau rock formations;  Peter and partner enjoying themselves.


Martin and Clive at Kinder low trig point, discussing how not to get 'bogged down' on Kinder Scout.


Across Kinder plateau via Kinderlow End, detour from Kinder Low rather than the direct route to Swine's Back.


On the descent towards Jacob 's Ladder, one reaches a junction on the Pennine Way near Swine's Back.


View across the valley from Jacob's Ladder towards Upper Booth.


We traversed the peat bog that constituted Kinder Scout. It was hard going and probably not doing the environment much good. The terrain resembled huge mounds of mud as far as the eye could see, with sections of soft, mushy heather near the top of the mound. Sometimes one would encounter a larger expanse of heather, which was preferable in forging a route across the plateau, only for embankments of thick, sticky mud, previously unnoticed, to appear. The general idea was that we would end up somewhere near Kinder Low trig point. Martin (referred to elsewhere on this website as "Our Great Leader", primarily due to his incredible map-reading skills) more than anyone knew where we were. Sliding down a muddy embankment, we located a meandering stream, in reality only a trickle of water, the stone base allowing for easier progress, as it seemed to head in the general direction in which we were meant to be heading. It turns out that Peter Mathews' partner had injured herself during this walk. Clive had wandered off on his own, only to rejoin us later when we took a lunch break as we reached the edge of Kinder plateau. The view of Kinder Reservoir was spectacular. Soon we headed off towards Kinder Low, before picking up a route along the edge of Kinder Scout, until we reached a signposted junction signifying the Pennine Way, in one direction towards Snake Pass and the other towards Edale. We followed the latter, which took us down Jacob's Ladder, also popular with mountain bikers. At some point lower down, as the valley towards Edale comes into view, Jacob's Ladder becomes a virtual staircase to the valley below, whilst a separate route is used by cyclists. A gung-ho group passed us en route.


Descending Jacob's Ladder, where a group of cyclists passed us.


After descending Jacob's Ladder, around this corner and its not far to Edale and that well-earned beer.


Farmhouse en route back from Jacob's Ladder to Edale.


Beautiful pony at farmhouse attracted our attention;  Winnie-the-Pooh Wood carving at farmhouse en route;  "Oh, what I would do for a fresh bunch of carrots".


Beautiful Peak District landscape in the late afternoon sunshine.


Characteristics loose stone walls which are used to demarcate Peak District farm boundaries.


  After our return from having dinner at the pub up the road from the Cheesehouse, Nadine had a surprise in store for us. In the kitchen she prepared Feuerzangenbowle, a traditional German alcoholic drink, sometimes part of a Christmas or New Year's tradition. Feuerzangenbowle is prepared in a bowl, similar to a fondue set, which usually is suspended over a small burner. The bowl is filled with heated red wine mixed with orange juice and spiced with cinnamon sticks and cloves, similar to mulled wine. The Feuerzange is a metal holder for the Zuckerhut (sugarloaf), a conical lump of sugar around seven inches long, which is mounted on top of the bowl. The sugar is soaked with rum and set alight, melting and caramelizing. The rum should have at least 54% alcohol per volume in order to burn properly. More rum is poured with a ladle until all the sugar has melted and mixed with the wine. The resulting drink is served in mugs while the burner keeps the bowl warm. The largest Feuerzangenbowle of all time was prepared in December 2005 at the Isartor in  Munich. 9000 litres were brewed in an oversized copper cauldron. The earnings were donated to charity.  

Feuerzangenbowle - a "sugarloaf" is doused in rum (54% alcohol) and heated into red wine; Nadine in the kitchen at the Cheesehouse in Homestead preparing Feuerzangenbowle.


Farm guests at the kitchen window during breakfast, Sunday morning.



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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

  • Kinder edges from Edale - walk description

  • More incredible Kinder Scout photos - website [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]