Sunday, 17 July 2011



It's hard to believe that this is to be the last walk of our 'season'. School holidays put an abrupt end to our walking although we'll both be putting one boot in front of the other albeit separately and in different locations.

So, for our Grand Finale we meet up in Edale. It's a choice spot for high summer walks because of the long days, the large choice of routes and - hopefully - good weather. Today we seem to be in luck as despite a few dodgy clouds looming on the way here we seem to have lost them and the sun is shining out of an impressively blue sky. I'm even wearing shorts - scary!

We've decided to head up Grindsbrook and discuss our route as we walk. Normally we take the popular track up to the head of the Clough then make the steep climb up to the top, and once we even went up the Grindslow Knoll route (never again), but this time as we stride into the meadow after crossing the bridge over Grinds Brook and clambering up the steep steps at the other side, we choose to turn right on the path that climbs up towards The Nab, Ringing Roger and the edge of the Kinder Plateau.

The grassy path starts to climb immediately and we're soon feeling warm, and not just because of the sunshine. Soon the grass gives way to an eroded path which, in turn, leads us to a gate in the wall. Once through this we're really on the long haul upwards. The path has been laid over with stones because, no doubt, of severe erosion and we consider that a pretty good job has been done. The 'steps' are fairly even and of a reasonable stride length which makes climbing up so much easier. The path takes a sharp left and we continue to follow it as it zig-zags its way up the hillside. Naturally we keep stopping to admire the ever-widening view over Edale and the Great Ridge beyond.

When the path suddenly becomes easy, rather than be elated we tread suspiciously, and sure enough our suspicious thoughts are confirmed. Ahead lies the steep, eroded and rocky clamber up Ringing Roger. Of course, we could go around, there is a lower path, but we're making excellent time and aren't feeling even slightly weary, so onward it is.

Naturally, it isn't too easy. The erosion and loose stones make it a bit of a challenge, but it's well worth the effort and soon we've made it around the top and onto the path leading to the head of Golden Clough. Standing on the path overlooking the deep valley of Grindsbrook below, feeling the wind in our hair and the sun on our faces is one of the magical moments that makes us get out walking whenever we can.

It's only a short haul up to the very top now, and again the path has been paved against erosion though not as sensitively as at the bottom as some of the steps are high, others low making you walk unevenly. Still, it's a little matter once we're on the top and walking across Nether Tor.

The path is level and almost sandy with tiny pebbles of quartz scattered all around. The views are spectacular and some of the rock formations amazing. There are huge slabs of almost flat rock, then tortured, wind-sculpted monuments.

When we arrive at the superb rock formation called Hartshorn we manage to squeeze down out of the wind and threatening clouds to sit for lunch whilst enjoying the dizzying view.

Since it's our last walk the buns are really special and summery: shortcake pastry, creme anglaise and fresh strawberries. Funny how we go silent when we're eating something so nice!

The clouds are moving fast, changing from dark grey to white to grey again, so it's off with the sunglasses and on with a fleece as we leave our lunch spot and continue on our way. We've decided by now that we're going to go the for complete horseshoe. After all, going down the rocky wall at Grindsbrook Head isn't something we were particularly looking forward to and we don't reckon we'll lose much, if any, time going the slightly longer route.

The path meanders a bit in places to avoid having to cross deep water run-off from the plateau, although at time time of year there is barely a puddle or two to negotiate. We have to do a little bit of rock climbing (OK so we'd not picked up the 'easy' path but hey, no problems) and we're soon at Grindsbrook Head. No, we're definitely not going down that way.

As we walk around the top of the Head and photograph the mushroom shaped rock the sun comes out again and the grey clouds have disappeared. Wonderful.

It's an easy enough walk up to Grindslow Knott although PC decides to skirt around its side rather than go straight over the top, but the views from the top are amazing. There's a whole 360 degree panorama that no amount of photographs can do justice to. There's also splendid views of the far ridge we've just walked too.

Next is the descent, and the first bit can be a bit tricky although we manage well enough (utilizing hands, feet and bums) but it reminds us, as if we needed it, why we don't walk up this way any more. It is steep on the way down, and pretty relentless. Although really it is fairly easy it can make the legs ache.

Soon enough, though, the gateway is in sight and we're walking through the grassy sloping fields towards Grindsbrook Booth. The last section of the path is beneath a canopy of trees, then we're out on the road again and heading down to the car park at Edale.

It's been a marvellous walk to end a marvellous season. Little did we imagine back in the Winter when PC had her hip replacement that we'd be doing anything as good as this so soon. We'd both thought that a route such as today's would be out of the question for at least another year, but we're both pleased to have been proved wrong.

So that's it until September. Over the summer we might be able to get around to putting some more photos on the blog, or some details of older walks (and the Missing Wood), but we'll also be out walking, just not in the Peaks.

Happy Holidays.

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