Kinder Circuit from Glossop

It’s been a while since I’ve done a trip report. Recently I was up in the Peak District and had the opportunity to do a circuit of Kinder Scout, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. On a previous walk, I had found a good place to park just outside Glossop. Overnight parking can be a bit awkward in the Peak District, but this spot was ideal as it is discreet and gets you out on to the moors quickly. After parking and checking my gear, I was on my way, walking down a green lane leading to Bray Clough.

Lane leading to Bray Clough

Soon I was out on to the moor and passing a shooting hut (which had a rather unsavoury insult scratched onto the door). I followed a track south east along side a series of grouse butts up to a flagstone path, making a note that there was a small cairn at the junction, so I wouldn’t miss the turn off on my return, unlike last time I was here! Looking back, there were some fine views back over Glossop and out to Manchester.

Glossop

Just before I reached the junction with The Pennine Way, I passed the wreckage of a crashed plane. Looking on the internet, it might be a B-24 Liberator that crashed in 1944. If so, fortunately, the two man crew survived. The path at Mill Hill is rather different from the one I encountered in 1978 on my Pennine Way walk. Back then it was appallingly wet mossy bog. Now it’s a flagstone path most of the way.

Kinder Scout

The views opened out to the imposing mass of Kinder Scout and the valley of the River Ashop, another place I want to explore if I can. It’s a good path to Kinder Scout. Although the path up is quite steep, it’s easy and I was at the top quickly. I could now see down to the Kinder Reservoir and as far as Axe Edge, near Buxton. The reservoir level was quite low reflecting the recent drought.

Kinder Reservoir

Not surprisingly, I started to encounter more walkers as I neared Kinder Downfall. As I was getting hungry, I stopped for five minutes to have a snack and take in the views. I didn’t hang around too long as my target was to get to Seal Stones to camp that night, which was another nine or so miles. Kinder Downfall was a little bit of a disappointment as there was hardly any water, not surprising I guess after the dry summer we’ve had.

Kinder Downfall

At the Downfall, I filled up my spare water bottle despite the water looking brown and unsavoury, in case water was difficult to find later in the day. The next point of interest was the trig point at Kinder Low where there were quite a number of people. I didn’t bother to go to Edale Rocks but cut the corner off to Noe Stool. The ground was quite dry, so there was no bog trotting.

Pym Chair

I soon hit another flagstone path that led to the impressive tor of Pym Chair. Unfortunately it was here that I was followed by a rather loud American lady but I was soon into the almost alien landscape of the Woolpacks. I was starting to get hungry so I decided to rest and have the lunch, which had the bonus of losing the aforementioned lady. The rocks provided a useful seat and shelter from the cool breeze.

Wool Packs

After lunch I continued around the impressive amphitheatres of Crowden Brook and Grindsbrook Clough.

Grindsbrook Clough

Once I reached Ringing Roger the day walkers disappeared. On reaching Crookstone Knoll, I could see the end of the Derwent Reservoir where the water level looked quite low like the Kinder Reservoir .

Win Hill and Derwent Reservoir

After Crookstone Knoll the path became a little sketchy in places. Even though the Snake Pass road was down in the valley, it felt more remote and wilder. In the distance, I could see Seal Stones, my intended camp spot and Fairbrook Naize.

Seal Stones and Fairbrook Naize

Despite rain earlier in the week, everywhere was fairly dry, so I was a bit concerned about getting water for camp. I was relieved that there was still a bit of water flowing at Blackden Brook. It was brown with peat but it would have to do, so I filled up my water carrier and carried on to Seal Stones.

Seal Stones camp

I couldn’t see any decent spots by the path at Seal Stones. Before moving on, I thought I’d have a little explore away from the path. I was glad I did as I found a nice level spot, clear of most of vegetation, and slightly sheltered behind a mound. It turned out to be an almost perfect spot as the clouds broke to let through some evening sunshine.

Seal Stones at sunrise

I had a good night’s sleep and woke just before sunrise. There was a brief 15 seconds of very light rain, then the clouds broke and a glorious red sunrise flooded the landscape. After breakfast, just before I packed, there was a squawking noise in the distance. I looked up and there was the V of a flock of geese flying high in the sky eastwards. I took a picture but it didn’t come out well.

Fairbrook Naize

I was packed by eight o’clock. By now the clouds had largely cleared although there was a chilly westerly breeze. As usual, distances are deceptive and it took me longer to reach Fairbrook Naize than I anticipated but it didn’t really matter much. There was even less water in Fairbrook than Blackden Brook.

Rock near Nether Red Brook

From here, it was familiar territory as I had been this way about a month before. It was a really nice walk and it was early enough that I didn’t meet anyone.

Northwestern end of Kinder and Mill Hill

On reaching the Pennine Way, I passed a few walkers on the way to Mill Hill. Then I cut West and then North to retrace my steps to the car. However, there was a sting in the tail as about fifteen minutes before I reached the car, I tripped and hit my head on the path really hard. I was lucky not to be knocked out. I had a nose bleed and a cut on my nose as well as a very sore knee. After staunching the blood with my handkerchief, I seemed to be ok and went back to the car. The next day it looked like I’d been in a fight as I had two black eyes! Fortunately I didn’t have any symptoms of concussion. The moral is to concentrate even when you’re on an easy path.

Hey, ho!

This year is turning into a bit of a disappointment. A couple of weeks ago I had been planning to do a trip to Dartmoor for four nights, then I got covid. It was like a bad cold but I recovered quite quickly. Then I thought I’d go up to the Peak District this weekend. Now the Peak District National Park has closed Access Land due to fire risk. It looks like it’s going to be another disappointing year for backpacking trips.

Some gear stuff

I thought I’d add some gear comments from my “Sneaky Camp” post. I’ve added a couple of mods on my Notch Li that you can see from the picture above. I’ve added a pocket just below to mesh vent and above the existing pocket. I cropped an old Alpkit stuff sack. Attaching it with safety pins means I can move it around if I want. Ideal for tissues, hand sanitiser, penknife or other light items. Unlike the Tarptent pockets, items don’t fall out! Also in the picture you can see I’ve added a shock cord and cord lock which attaches to the trekking pole (a suggestion from a member of Trek-lite forum https://www.trek-lite.com/index.php?threads/tarptent-notch.5007/page-11 ). It pulls the inner tent out slightly and helps to reduce flapping on the inner tent.

Next up, instead of laying the rucksack in the porch, I hung it from a loop of cord at on apex with a mini karabiner. It keeps the rucksack out of the way, giving a bit more room in the porch and stops it getting wet. I also put some of my gear in a waterproof rucksack cover in the porch (the fluorescent yellow material in the picture) which keeps things tidy and dry.

Lastly I used my Sea to Summit Ultralight insulated sleeping pad and a short fleece cover (zebra pattern https://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/myog-fleece-sleeping-mat-cover/) which I made ages ago for another mat. The S2S at 482g is not “ultralight” but it is comfortable. I have the woman’s version which has a slightly higher R value than the standard version but is slightly shorter. However, it’s just about long enough for me. The fleece cover adds a bit of warmth and comfort, especially with a quilt. The S2S mat is a bit thinner than many other mats but in a way it makes it more comfortable as you don’t bounce around and it’s more stable when you kneel on it. It also takes less pumping up. The S2S has a “pillow lock” system which attaches a S2S pillow to the sleeping pad. I use the S2S Aeros pillow and pillow case which works really well.

Sneaky camp

I managed to get out for a sneaky camp on Monday night. The forecast was some heavy rain. I managed to pitch before the rain but in the event there were only a few light showers. Looking at the rain radar, it passed further south. However, I was able to take some moody cloud photos. It was good to use the Notch Li again. I’ve done a couple of things to it which I will share in another post.

Dales Daunder

As some readers will be aware, TGO Challenge legend, Alan Sloman, arranges a pre-TGOC walk every year as a warm up to the Challenge itself. Covid interrupted these for a couple of years, but things have now got back to normal, so the Daunder as it is known was revived. There’s not much of a story to tell, so I’ll just post some pictures. This year we went to the Yorkshire Dales starting at Dent then walking to Ingleton via Whernside. On the second day we walked back to Dent via Ingleborough.

Day 1: Dent to Ingleton via Whernside (19.7km, 669m ascent)

Second breakfast at Dent and a late start

Picturesque Dent

Walking up from Dent

View north on the ascent of Whernside

Whernside Tarns

Ingleborough from Whernside

Sink hole on Whernside

Lambs near Ingleton

Day 2: Ingleton to Dent via Ingleborough (25.8km, 1,041 ascent)

Ingleton

Path up to Ingleborough

Whernside from the top of Ingleborough

Looking back to Ingleborough

Pot hole on western side of Ingleborough

Winterscales Beck

Ribblehead Viaduct

More lambs

Little Dale

Waterfall near Greensett Craggs

A last look at Ingleborough

All in all a fine trip. The second day was quite taxing, but enjoyable. We were lucky with with the weather althought there was a strong cold wind, which is why we skipped a wild camp. It’s a long time since I’ve walked in the Yorkshire Dales. I think I’ll go back and do a bit more exploring.

Hooray!

The last time I went on a backpacking trip was July last year in the Lakes. I’ve done some quick overnighters since but not proper backpacking. Next week I’m going with friends to the Yorkshire Dales for a three night trip. We are going to start at Dent, staying overnight at the camp site. The last time I was in Dent was in 1979 doing the Centurion Walk!

The next day we go over Whernside to camp at Ingleton. The following day we head back north over Ingleborough, which I’m looking forward to as I’ve never been there. We will probably do a wild camp on the northern side of Whernside, before returning to Dent the next day. Let’s hope the weather plays ball!

Knee Strength

It’s been a frustrating winter as my plans to do some overnighters have been thwarted by poor weather. Over the past four months or so, I’ve been concentrating on building up my knee strength and stability. My knee injury just under three years ago demonstrated that I can no longer rely on my natural strength and fitness. As we get older we lose strength and condition. I’ve reached the age where I need to do something about it.

I found some BUPA videos on YouTube by chance. I’ve been religiously doing the bodyweight squat and glute bridge exercises and found that they really help. It takes about two months before you feel the strength building up. The other exercise that helps is balancing on one leg with hands by your sides for two minutes on each leg. Worth trying.

Keen Ridge Flex boots

My Salomon X-Ultra Mids have started to leak so I needed to replace them. Instead of getting the new X-Ultra 4s, I’ve been tempted to try out some Keen Ridge Flex boots. I’ve never had Keen boots before so it was bit of a punt.

They are not a straight swap as the Keens are leather rather than fabric, but they should be a bit more robust. The flip side is they might be a bit warmer. The fit is rather different too with a broader toe box. I was concerned there might some heel lift but the heel retention system is excellent, probably the best of any boot I’ve had.

Despite being leather they are very flexible with “bellows flex” on the toe. That said, they do feel a bit more like a boot than the X-Ultras, which are more like a trainer. The stability and comfort is good, although I’ve only used them on short, easy walks so far. I don’t know how waterproof they are but being leather and having a membrane they should be pretty good until the membrane fails.

The broad front foot makes a big difference in terms of comfort especially with thicker socks. I suffer from a mild case of Morton’s neuroma and have found that allowing my toes to splay out helps alleviate it. The mid height gives good ankle mobility. I have started not using the top set of cleats which makes it even better, especially as the heel retention is so good.

The only quibbles so far is the cleats are a bit small and fiddly. Securing and locking the laces takes a bit of care. Not a deal breaker, but could be better. For choice, I’d rather have deeper and more widely spaced lugs on the sole. The sole pattern gets quite clogged with clay. Hopefully this is less on an issue in the hills.

Overall, I rather like them. I can’t make a definitive judgement until I’ve used them on a proper trip but first impressions are good. Keen also made a fabric boot, the Tempo Flex, which I might get for warmer weather. As I said, I’ve never had Keen boots before, but I’m impressed so far.

Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Keen and bought these boots with my own money.

Grand Scandinavian Tour videos

I would love to go backpacking in Scandinavia. Unfortunately that’s unlikely to happen. However, I enjoy watching videos of trips on YouTube. Recently a video popped up of a Norwegian guy who has done a grand tour of many of the best places in Sweden and Norway. He’s only part way through publishing the series, but I’m hooked.

Here’s the trailer for the series:

Here’s a stunning section of his night on Stor Svuku in Norway:

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