I mentioned in a very recent blog post how I have a great passion for seeking out new routes in the Peak District. I really enjoy finding a spot on the map where I haven’t visited and then trying to plot a nice route to get to know that area a little better. Today’s route was plotted for that very reason, I have walked the Northern Edge of Kinder Scout a handful of times before but i have never approached from the Ashop Valley side. I decided it was high time that I paid it a visit so I plotted a nice route in ViewRanger and off I went to explore.
I met up with Andy at the car park just west of the Snake Inn on the Snake Pass, the weather was cloudy but the sun was breaking through to cast a great light on the rich pine forest across the road from us. I have been past this spot before and always thought it would make a nice place to start a walk, I wasn’t disappointed at all as the walk through the forest was thoroughly enjoyable. It reminded me of a picture I’d seen just days before of a river in Canada, all that was missing was the jumping salmon and the hunting bears 🙂
The walk up Ashop Clough is pretty easy going, the cloud was dropping and lifting so we kept getting glimpses of Kinder every now and then. I spotted a few spots that would be perfect for a future wildcamp, there are some nice flat patches of grass at the river’s edge that I would like to return to. The weather at this point took a turn in a more wintry direction, we were now walking in a blizzard of hail and snow and the visibility reduced down to about 25metres or so.
The path begins to climb and weave from one side of the stream to the other, as you get closer to Ashop Head you reach a section that has been paved with stone and the sign post for the Pennine Way began to appear out of the mist. it was at this point where we consider a change of route, we thought it might be a nice change to walk over towards Bleaklow as I haven’t walked that section of path before. After a very short deliberation we choose to stick to the original plan and head along Kinder. If you view the YouTube video I have attached to this post you will notice I talk about “The Change to the Change of plan”.
Up we went, the final short incline of the day toward the summit plateau of Kinder Scout. I Noticed that I had some 3G signal so I decided to stream a little live footage to Bambuser as we were climbing upwards.
The Northern Edge of Kinder Scout is a very interesting route indeed, there are places where the path disappears and you have to make you own way. The best thing is to stick as close to the edge as the bog will allow. Sometimes it becomes a real effort to walk in the knee deep peat along the edge so the only thing for it is to create your own path. The going was good today though and the snow was making it a day to remember, every day in the Peak District is a day to remember but you get my drift (snow pun intended)
All of a sudden some very ominous looking dark clouds were beginning to roll in from the west, the snow which was falling nicely turned into vicious marble sized hail and the wind was whipping it sideways into our faces. It felt really extreme for a while there. The fun turned to seriousness when a flash of lightning quickly followed by thunder prompted us to find shelter under the nearest rock formation. Luckily we were near the edge so it was just a matter of climbing down the cliff a little when we spotted an overhang to shelter under. I will admit that my heart was racing a little in the anticipation of getting fried by another bolt of lightning 🙂
Thankfully the passing storm’s bark was worse than its bite as there was only the one rumble of thunder, the hail had turned to snow but it was still coming down very thickly. We decided it would be as good a time as any to have a lunch break and we sheltered away from the weather under the overhanging rock.
Lunch break over, we climbed back up the cliff to the edge path and continued on our way towards Fairbrook Naize. I recorded another section of video, then sent out a tweet so our Followers on Social Hiking didn’t worry that we had been killed by lightning 🙂
In no time at all we were turning the corner at FairBrook Naize and heading towards FairBrook itself. We went off piste just short of the waterfall and made our way down to the path which meanders along with the river. It was rather slippery in places and I made sure I gave my full attention to the job in hand, Karma had come back to bite me as I had fallen over earlier in the day. I deserved it really as I had got an iPhone in each hand at the time and wasn’t paying attention. I was tweeting on my 4S and checking the map on my 3GS, I ended up falling on my arse and it was rather funny 🙂
The walk down FairBrook was over quickly as we chatted our way down the valley. I recorded a quick video update at the bottom before we continued over the bridge and into the forest. The path weaved around under the trees and came out just before the Snake Inn, we were very tempted to call in but we decided to push on back to the cars. We walked along the Snake Road back to the car park and only saw 1 or 2 cars. The road had been closed by the police because of the weather and I can imagine that the conditions were pretty bad the further up you got. We got back to the cars in no time at all and met another gentlemen at the car park, he had sheltered in a disused farm building during the worst of the blizzard and had heard the thunder too. He lived over at Glossop so would have had to go over the top of Snake Pass to get home, I hope he got back ok without any drama.
Another great walk, in a great area, with great weather and great company. I was really pleased that we got some snow today as I had managed to miss it earlier this month. It felt like a real adventure while we were walking up top in the blizzard, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Let’s hope we get some more snow before winter gives way to the dampness of spring. Thanks for reading, viewing and listening folks… It may be a couple of weeks until i can get out again due to work commitments but I’ll blog again soon. TTFN 🙂