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Assault on Kinder

There are numerous ways to to get onto Kinder Scout from the south. From Eyam there is an established route or the Pennine Way to Jacob's Ladder and beyond or the less well known route via Crowden Brook. This was the shortest route and for that reason alone was good enough for us.

We thought the best place to park would be Upper Booth . This consists of two houses and what looked like a very pleasant camp site. There was one of the old red telephone boxes and we assumed this wouldn't be one of BT's most profitable sites. There was a small parking area with a sign that said buses turning. Unfortunately, the sign didn't suggest what day of the year the bus was due, so we decided to risk it and parked up. Our task was to follow the Crowden Brook to its source on Kinder Scout . Sun shining, equipment loaded we set off.

The Crowden Brook was in full flow and very picturesque. As we walked through numerous fields we saw some very large stone barns which were in good order and quite frankly seemed wasted as barns. Could they be put to better use if grants were made available and planning issues were overcome? Highly unlikely in today's climate. After about a mile we entered Crowden Clough. The landscape changed dramatically from open fields to moorland and a deep imposing valley staring at us.

The Crowden Brook was now considerably narrower but the trail was still laid out in front of us. At this point the incline was hardly noticeable as we criss crossed the brook. In the distance we saw a fellow walker coming towards us. This guy was fully prepared for anything. His kit was impressive and contrasted with our own.

Outer clothing consisted of waterproof, breathable lightweight jacket and trousers, ours was jeans and T shirt. Footwear was standard issue walking boots, ours was trainers. Accessories consisted of gaitors, rucksack, hydration bag, headwear, walking stick and map, we managed the map. I then remembered one purchase we had made that our compatriot didn't appear to have-a see through map pouch that hangs around your neck. Unfortunately I'd left it in the car so no points there.

Onward and upward that was the motto of the moment and it was only when we stopped for a breather that we realised how much distance we had covered and how far we had ascended. It was quite envigorating and seemed to give us extra impetus to reach our goal. By now the clouds had started to gather and it cannot be stressed enough that the weather in this part of the Peak District National Park can change very quickly. It was, however, still very humid and without a drink we looked at the Crowden Brook and wondered whether we should risk a taste. Thinking back to our science lessons at school there was only one section of biology that was recalled so if having a sip of water was to send us crazy then so be it.

The foot path had by now disappeared. The climb was steep and quite frankly loaded up with expensive camera equipment not for the faint hearted. But at last the summit was in site Sherpa Tensin eat your heart out! I don't know what it is, but whenever I climb up a hill I always expect to find a MacDonalds at the top. Sadly, I am always disappointed, but today it looked like a number ten bus had just pulled up. There were people everywhere coming from every direction, except ours that is. This was the point of convergence for all paths-from Edale , Jacob's Ladder and Kinder Downfall .

Having taken a number of photographs and bumped into two ladies from my village we set off for Kinder Downfall . Kinder Downfall is the highest waterfall in the Derbyshire Peak District, formed where the River Kinder meets the edge of the moorland plateau. We knew roughly which direction to go in but couldn't find a defined path. In this line of work we have been to many places and the level of signage has varied considerably. If there was footpath signage up there and we missed it then fine. I suspect there wasn't however, and this isn't the first time we have been left following instinct rather than a planned routeway. Following a deep dyke it was clear that we had some distance to cover and with heavy cloud cover closing in we decided discretion was the better part of valour and set a new course for Jacob's Ladder .

On the edge of Kinder Plateau there are not enough adjectives to describe the natural beauty and you feel there is no finer place in the world. I have lived in Derbyshire for a long time and can only now appreciate what it really has to offer.

There were a number of people following our route but as usual we decided to take a "short cut" and go direct to Jacob's Ladder through the The Woolpacks and The Cloughs. It is essential that you do not follow our irresponsible attitude. Stick to the proper routes for your own safety. In truth our route probably saved us an hour or so but it was not without the odd moment.

At the pack horse bridge that signals the start of Jacob's Ladder the ground rises steeply to the west of the valley up the old pack horse route. The climb up Jacob's Ladder is short but steep. This effort is very rewarding, as the walk along Rushup Edge offers the most splendid views of the Vale of Edale . We would return another day to experience it for ourselves. On the path back to Upper Booth we passed an information centre at Lee House and then sanctuary the car and not a bus in sight.

Look at our panoramic photographs to see for yourself
Kinder Scout
Crowden Brook.

Chris Sabian, Peak District View - 2006-10-09 22:15:54

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