Sunday, 23 May 2010


What a fantastic day. Clear skies, sunshine and temperatures well into the 20s. It couldn't be better for our walk.

We love coming to Edale but our outings here tend to be restricted. Long days are needed because we have a long drive to reach here and can only make it when school timetables and extra-curricular activities allow. Today luck was on our side.

The car park at Edale is spacious, with loads of room first thing in the morning, so why does someone have to park right beside me? I give them one of my special looks, but I don't think they notice. This is a pay and display car park but today there's no ticket machine. It had, apparently, been stolen to be replaced by a poor woman cooped up in a shed peering out glumly at the sunshine. Perhaps she'll be able to get her own back later by doling out parking fines to those who have outstayed their ticket times.

We pay our money and set off, not even having to bother pulling on jumpers or coats - a most unusual occurrence. Walking through Edale village we catch up on a week's worth of news and gossip, and spy some bluebells in the hedge bottom. No doubt the sunshine has brought them out making us wonder if our bluebell foray in a couple of weeks will be over before we start.

At the end of the road we veer to the right and descend into the cool wooded gloom to cross the bridge over Grinds Brook before climbing smartly up to the other side and into a wide open field. This feels like the start of the walk with the large slabs of stone underfoot to point the way - and prevent excessive erosion.
The temperature is creeping up and as we pause to drink from our water bottles we see the deep scar of a path running down from Grindslow Knoll. We can't remember it being so prominent last time we'd walked here.

This first part of the walk is gentle enough, the slight incline sufficient to warm up the muscles without too much effort. We amble through a copse of trees then cross the small bridge straddling the stream that falls down from Golden Clough. There's a path here, straight up to Nether Tor, but we reckon it must be pretty tough on the leg muscles. We allow a couple to pass us, him with the rucksack, her unencumbered, and I note with envy that it doesn't work that way in my household, quite the opposite, Equality certainly has some downsides.

Here the path is relatively smooth as it follows the brook, albeit on a higher level, and with the continuous steady uphill slope that is so much a part of this valley. The brook is beautiful today, the fresh green Spring growth around it, small frothy waterfalls and deep, inviting plunge pools - especially tempting as the temperature continues to rise.

At the first rough, rocky section we take the obvious path to the left which leads to the brook. Mistake. After scrambling, clambering, rock hopping and swapping from side to side numerous times we manage to recall having been on a higher, easier right hand path in the past. We hadn't spotted it - we hadn't even looked for it - so we're forced into doing impressions of Lara Croft instead.

Eventually we reach an easy section again and, looking back, are surprised at how high we've actually climbed with relatively little effort. Here the brook widens as it cuts through a section of shale. Huge slabs of rock are laying in the water looking very welcoming. However, this is where the walking becomes a little harder.

We're climbing obviously now, and there are rocks and boulders to negotiate. We decide to put on sun cream, a sensible precaution, then carry on upwards. We allow a young couple to pass us, they've been following us quite a way, and PC decides to try the route they've taken although discovers that it isn't quite as easy as she thought. Taking consolation we decide that they probably won't find it half so easy when they have another 25 years on their backs!

We keep pausing, not for breath (although that is a bonus), but to enjoy the ever widening views down the valley which we know will be lost soon. The heat haze doesn't help photo quality, but we know it all looks spectacular.

Soon we hit the part that turns into an unrelenting upward scramble. PC abandons her walking poles as they keep getting in the way; hands are needed here, and we forge on up. It isn't quite as bad as it looks, or as we remember, and every step takes us higher and closer to our goal. As I reach the plateau PC follows behind with the immortal words, "Are we there yet?" Yes, we are, and it's wonderful.
We stop to admire the view then walk on to the aptly named Mushroom Stone before striking away from the path to find somewhere to eat lunch. There are quite a few people up here today, hardly surprising. The weather, the views and the sheer exhilaration are not to be missed. Thank goodness we can come in the week, though. On a good weekend it must be like a motorway service station up here.

We eat our lunch, meagre by any standards, followed by fresh cream doughnuts. It's so warm that the jam in the doughnuts has turned runny, but they're delicious nonetheless as well as providing the necessary calorific intake to give us the energy we need.

We could sit here all day, and it's tempting to lay our backs onto the boulder behind us and drift off, but instead we consult the map to gauge how far it is to Kinder Downfall.
far to even consider today or in the near future as it will mean an early start and late finish. We decide we'll do it when all the girls have left home for university or whatever. That means in another four and a half years or so. We're patient. We can wait.

Despite the desire to linger we press on and the rise up to Grindslow Knoll at 601 m doesn't seem to take much effort - must be because of the doughnuts. Our reward, of course, is the ever expanding panoramic view around a full 360 degrees. The downhill route lays ahead and despite its rock-free grassy slope we're not looking forward to it. It's steep and we know, from experience, it's a killer on the knees. Still, it's the only way to go and we set off, reluctantly leaving the high places behind us.

We're passed by a couple of men, and some more angle down off of other tracks.

We debate how infrequently we see women out on our walks unless they are accompanied by men. Men alone, in pairs or groups are in abundance, but not women. It's sad.

The path turns rough and rubbly, making it slippery underfoot, but we've soon dropped down to the gently sloping field that leads us back to the village. We pause, quite astounded, as on old aircraft flies overhead very low. We watch it go up the valley and out of sight, unable to recognise it, of course. A little earlier we'd have been above it.
We head back to our cars, slower than on the way out. We're tired, but extremely satisfied. It's been a brilliant walk on a perfect day; one to treasure.