With a fortuitous bit of timing PC is home for a brief spell before I go on holiday and we're able to get out walking. Not our usual day, which is probably why the sun is shining!
We're meeting in the car park at Edale and there are already a lot of cars here. But the weather is promising and, something we tend to forget, this is a tourist area and the holidays have already begun for some.
We are dog-free today so only have ourselves to plan for. After a moment of deliberation we decide to go for the longer parking charge, we want to enjoy our walk, not be rushing to get back before the traffic warden.
So we set off, coat-free and fleece-free for the first time this year (though we do have them packed!) We walk up the lane and admire the church before stopping at the little shop to buy some water. Typically we had both forgotten to bring extra.
Then it's onward, following the road to the end before veering right and down the wooded slope to the bridge over the trickling Grinds Brook. Up the steps at the other side and we're into the open with a view of our route ahead.
The main path continues straight on but we take the less distinct path to the right, rising steeply up the grassy slope to the stile adjacent to Heardman's Plantation. We pause briefly before setting off uphill on the zigzag path climbing up The Nab. It's really quite hot now, the sun is very bright and we're glad we bought the extra drinks.
We decide to sit on the rocky outcrop for a while just enjoying the view over The Vale of Edale. This is a day to savour so there's no point rushing. Besides, there's plenty of walking ahead, and a breather (plus a nip from PC's secret flask) does no harm!
We set off once more and the path is generally much easier, which is good as it is getting rather hot. Who'd have thought, sunshine in an English summer!
As we approach the base of Ringing Roger we can see a steep, maintained path of steps and rubble up its shoulder. It doesn't look particularly appealing and we're sure we didn't go up that way last time we were here. After a brief map consultation we confirm that we take the narrow but gentle path which contours around the base. This brings us to a shorter, simpler climb onto the ridge a little to the east of Golden Clough. We turn left, clamber up to Nether Tor, and pause. The views are spectacular. A little hazy from the sun, but wonderful nonetheless.
Apart from a few undulations the climbing is behind us, so we can walk along with ease, enjoying the views down the valley and across to Grindslow Knoll.
Naturally, this walking works up an appetite, but the wind is gusting quite strongly by the time we reach Hartshorn and Upper Tor, so we mooch about a bit until we find some comfy (relatively) rocks shielded by heather and peat where we sit down for lunch. It has clouded over now, so we pull on our fleeces for the first time today.
Sandwiches, coffee, and buns - these are apple crumble buns, a bit like a Chelsea bun but with only a few raisins and not enough apple or crumble topping, but they are soft and suitability stodgy and go down extremely well.
Yes, there is a temptation to linger, but we still have a long walk ahead, so we set off again. From here the path does meander a bit more, and there are a couple of trickles of water, to cross.
We meet three young women and pause briefly to chat. Each is carrying a baby, snuggled, asleep and well protected from the sun. We admire the stoicism and determination that has brought these young mums out hiking. Babies and young children can be very hard work, and even a trip to the shops can feel like an expedition with all the preparation required, so all credit to these young mums, long may they continue.
From here we go through a gate (yes, all the way up here) and it's fleeces-off time. We wander off the path to have a look at a rock formation and to get a view down a steep sided Clough. And, admittedly, to allow three quite loud walkers to pass us. Once they've gone we continue, only to see the three of them sat on the rocks ahead blocking the path over the next ford (ie, trickle of water). Fortunately on our approach they decide to move on and we are left alone.
This is the to the north of the final push up from Grindsbrook Clough and the water is one of the major tributaries to the Brook. The rocks are flat and wide, and the peaty brown water is too tempting. Making sure to tuck our gear away from the crossing point we remove boots and socks and indulge in a paddle. Bliss!!
We're able to spend quite a bit of time here, the sun is warm and the water isn't too cold. No one comes along, so once we've dried off and donned boots and rucksacks again there is no one to witness our ungainly hoisting of ourselves up the steep sided rocks up to the path.
From here it's pretty easy going again. We detour a few yards to cross the top of Grinds Brook easily, then walk around to the mushroom stone (our name). There are a few people up here, most have probably come up Grindsbrook Clough, but there's plenty of space.
We aim now for Grindslow Knoll and as we do we spot a pristine rail ticket on the floor. I pick it up, it has today's date on it. Ahead of us there are three men so, since they don't hear us call, I volunteer to run up to them (yes, run). When I reach the last man who has paused to take photos with his phone he discovers he'd lost the ticket from his phone case. So luckily, man and ticket were reunited.
We carried on, rose over the top of Grindslow Knoll and looked around for a potential Kinder Downfall route - for sometime in the future, not today.
Then begins the arduous descent of Grindslow. It isn't particularly bad, but it is something we have never really embraced with enthusiasm. It's constantly watching your every footstep for loose rocks and rubble, with some awkward areas to negotiate. Once the worst is over it does ease quite a bit, before becoming rubbly again. And wow, is the sun hot now.
At last we reach the gate leading into the final grassy sheep-grazed slope. The three men who had been some way behind suddenly overtake us, as does a couple with dog. We saunter, reluctant to relinquish the last of the walk.
We head back to the car park, resisting the lure of the pub, and feel that deep satisfaction of a great walk completed. To say that I have caught the sun would be an understatement, though PC has undoubtedly only topped up her envious Mediterranean tan. This has been a great, unexpected interlude in a summer we expected to be devoid of walking, and we have managed it on a near-perfect day.