Day one: Edale to Torside Clough, 12.5 miles
We woke to a drizzly day. The clouds were down over Kinder Scout. It didn’t look a very promising day. After some photos taken at the start, it was up Grindsbrook Clough. There was a mizzly rain and it certainly was a bit of a grind. The path wasn’t too bad, but from what I remember, you had to pick your way through the rocks near the top.
Reaching the plateau, we were greeted with the eerie sight peat grough on peat grough shrouded in swirling mist. Once we hit Crowden Brook we took a bearing to try to find Kinder Gates. As anyone knows who has been across Kinder, it’s hard, mucky work, especially drizzly rain. Amazingly, we suddenly saw Kinder Gates loom out of the gloom. Fortunately there wasn’t much run-off and we walked merrily along the sandy bottom of the River Kinder, which was much easier going than the peat.
On reaching Kinder Downfall, we had lunch. The weather had started to clear and we could see down to the reservoir. Suitably fortified and encouraged by a bit of sun, we made our way speedily along Kinder Edge. Progress slowed appreciably as we tackled the squelchy bog that is Featherbed Moss. Beyond Snake Road, Bleaklow didn’t seem quite as bad until we got beyond Devil’s Dyke.
It was here that we met a couple of lads with pots and pans hanging off their rucksacks, one of whom was wearing Wellington boots. They were aiming for Crowden, but the lad in the wellies, wasn’t in a very good condition. The clouds returned. Fortunately we could see our objective of Bleaklow Head and the Wain Stones.
By the time we reached Bleaklow Head it must have been early evening and we were really tired. As soon as the path improved at Torside Clough, the possibility of a pitch presented itself and we decided to call it a day. It was about 7 o’clock and it had been very tiring day.
Day two: Torside Clough to White Moss, 12 miles
We awoke to another cloudy day. It didn’t look very inviting. We descended to Crowden easily where we met the lads from yesterday, who were giving up. We fervently hoped that our adventure wouldn’t end prematurely. It brought home to me that this was going to be quite a serious undertaking.
As we started to ascend towards Laddow Rocks, it started to rain and the mist came down. The navigation wasn’t too difficult with a path and river to follow, but once we got to Grain Moss, we needed to follow a bearing to Black Hill. Fortunately there were breaks in the mist and we made it to Black Hill. The conditions underfoot deteriorated rapidly as we approached Black Hill and it really was an unpleasant morass of bare peat. I was glad not to be on my own with the danger of getting stuck in the peat.
I think we must have had lunch somewhere around Black Hill. As we made our way to the A635, the mist really came down and again we walked on a bearing. We hit the main road, but we couldn’t tell where exactly we were. So we just crossed over and hoped for the best. A mile or so from the road we decided that was enough. We had wandered slightly to the east of the main route into a confusing tangle of gullies.
As we found a bit of grass, we decided to pitch and wait for the morning to see exactly where we were. Later in the evening, the mist cleared a bit and we could see a glimpse of what we assumed was Wessenden or Wessenden reservoir. It had been another tiring day, tramping over peat bogs and drenched moorland. All in all, it was a bit demoralising.
I see that the Pennine Way has now been diverted to avoid the vicissitudes White Moss and Black Moss. In fact, from what I understand, much of the unpleasant boggy stretches are now paved over, so progress should be much easier than when we did it.