Kinder Scout With Dean Read

I was lying in bed after a particularly exhausting week of work when I received a text, a bit out of the blue from Dean Read.  I’d messaged him a few days earlier, commenting on his videos, and suggesting that we meet up and go for a trek somewhere. We’d talked about going walking together before, but for one reason or another, we hadn’t managed it.

Dean has, over the last few years amassed a fantastic YouTube channel with lots of videos of walks across the Peak District and beyond. You can see his work at peakroutes.com and deanread.net.

I was naturally pleased to be going walking with someone who clearly has a detailed knowledge of our local area and also a keen passion for it, as well as a passion for sharing that passion with other people, who might want to know more or who perhaps aren’t able to get out to the higher, more challenging parts of the Peak District.

We settled on a route around Kinder and Dean came up with the final route, being as he knows the area and is the more experienced of the two of us.  Even though I have lived in the Peak District for most of my life, in recent years I’m discovering that there’s still a huge amount of it that I still haven’t discovered fully.

Barber Booth

After a bit of a kerfuffle to begin with I finally met Dean at Barber Booth car park, we climbed over the Stile at the bottom of the road near the railway bridge and headed on up towards  Kinder Scout over the fields.

As we climbed we talked, covering a multitude of topics from walking, vlogging, family, diet and exercise and other topics. Dean is an easy bloke to spend time with, and easy to chat to with for sure, and I felt like I’d known him for ages.

We were instantly immersed in nature after a little lamb came up to us for a snuggle, and then further up the track, we spotted a small Common Lizzard on the flagstones, that was awesome for me as I’d never seen a Lizard in the UK before.

Edale

Looking back toward Edale from the path out of Barber Booth

Edale Head

Edale Head

Brown Knoll & Edale Head

We headed onto the hard flags toward Brown Knoll. The flagstones are a topic that divides opinion, some people like them and some loathe them. As a fell runner I’m really not at all keen, however, I do see the need for them due to increasing amounts of people who are walking and cycling in the area. Without such measures, the erosion would be devastating to the moors. So a necessary evil in my opinion. From there, we continued on towards Edale Head.

Edale Head

Kinder Low Trig

Kinder Low Trig

Kinder Low

As you get up toward the top we passed the top of Jacob’s ladder, I hear a lot about this being a challenging path to walk, I’ll look forward to trying it one day. We pushed on a little further to the Kinder Low Trig. Dean did a bit to the camera and then that’s where we took a break and had some lunch.

From there, we pressed on, heading up to Kinder Downfall, although the day was hot, the views were a bit hazy over toward Manchester. We did get a great view of Kinder reservoir though.Kinder Reservoir

Then, further on, we had a nice view of the Mermaid’s Pool too.Mermaid's Pool Then further on we were treated to the great escarpments of the downfall, there were some seriously big rocks all stacked up rather precariously.

Kinder Downfall & The River Kinder

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Kinder Downfall

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Dean Read exploring kinder downfall

Dean Read exploring kinder downfall

After doing a little scrambling and exploring at the downfall we moved on, up the River Kinder, and marvelled at its unusual river bed. It had literally worn its path through the gritstone. Leaving a course, gritty sand as its bed. I was amazed at how little water was actually flowing so early in the year.
Rover Kinder Panorama

from there we moved through the Groughs, looking at the great work being done by moors for the future All along the Groughs, there were signs of the repopulation work they had done putting back heather and Sphagnum Moss. There were mini dykes holding pools of water helping to form new peat bogs.

Then we reached the official summit, which was actually little more than a lonely tussock of heather on a raised but of peat, no more than about 3 ft across. You could easily miss it if you didn’t have a map or GPS bearing. We meandered on coming eventually to Pym chair. There is another Pym chair in the Peak District, the other being at Goyt valley. Names tend to get re-used around here, just as there are 2 or three “Back Tors”, and several “upper towns”.

Pym Chair - Kinder

Pym Chair – Kinder not Goyt

Woolpacks

Next, we came to the Woolpacks.  The woolpacks are a huge collection of extremely weathered rocks, they look as though they are made from a different type of rock to the Gritstone we see all over the moor. Perhaps someone will set me straight on that but I thoughts they seemed a different type of rock.  Anyway, they are so intensely weathered that they had some fantastic shapes.

this one reminded me of a Baluga Whale

Baluga Whale?

It seemed to me that there just couldn’t be any more treats and surprises. I was wrong.

Crowden Tower & Clough

We came next to Crowden tower with its spectacular views overlooking Edale and the deeply carved gully that is Crowden Clough. We decided to climb down the clough, just for the hell of it.

Crowden Clough

Crowden Clough

I hope that you enjoyed these photos and my account of the walk. If it was a bit too long for you, please feel free to watch the video. There’s a transcription below for those who need it, and the video has closed captions. (subtitles).

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Video Transcription

PG: Hello there, Tideswellman is back out on the moors. It’s been a long time I know, but finally we’ve got some kit that’ll do the job and we are out on Brown Knoll. I’m very pleased to introduce to you, a chap who I’ve been trying to get out walking with, for a long time, Dean Read of Peak Routes.  Hi Dean,
DR: Nice to finally meet you mate,
Pg: Yes, Really good, do you want to tell the viewers, where we are going to go today?

DR: the plan is, quite a rough plan, we parked down at Barber Booth, we walked up to Brown Knoll, and head on up to Kinder, Downfall, maybe across to the summit and then, see what happens from there. It’s gonna be a good day!

PG: so there you have it, we’ll be taking footage as we go along and I hope you enjoy this walk with us.

Here we are at Kinder Downfall, we only have a trickle today, but that does not detract from the awesome beauty of what we are looking at.

Earlier I saw somebody trying to climb up, there. Wow!Good effort! And some others over here, I think they are going to have a more tricky time, as they have taken a more difficult line, unlike us who are on the top.

DR:Easy win!

SO we are here on the top of Kinder river. the downfall is behind us there. If I turn the camera round, you will see the river, and it’s quite extraordinary really as it’s just flowing over the top of stone. Slabs of stone,  and the water level is super low already and it’s only May.

There is hardly any flow at all. I’m not used to seeing the rivers this low, there is still some life in there though, I’ve seen a few water nymphs and freshwater shrimp. There’s some kind of creature skimming around in there, I don’t know what it is or if you can even see it , it’s so small, but there is LIFE!

This is what we are having today, Life, a fantastic walk over Kinder Scout.

We have been walking fora bout half an hour now in these Groughs (Gruffs) . Which are little channels in the peat and they are everywhere, and go off in all directions and in bad weather people who are underprepared have been known to get very lost in them. Thankfully we’ve got GPS and Maps and a bit of experience about where we are going.

As you can see, this brown soil is the “Old Kinder”, Dean was telling me about how “Moors for the future” have been working really hard to repopulate this surface with heather and gorse so you see the green moor we see today. Apparently, it was previously all like the brown soil we saw in the bottom of the Groughs there.

There’s not much variation in the landscape, so you could easily end up walking a good kilometre in any direction with no discernible landmarks. So you have to know what you are doing.

So there it is,
the most impressive (sarcastic)summit of Derbyshire. this tussock of grass and Peat is the official summit of Kinder Scout.

Wind and footsteps noises –
Now for the first time we have a cool breeze, I don’t think we have had a cool breeze in all the time that we have been walking, it’s been pretty warm.

Those of you who aren’t from the Peak District, and who know me or follow on Facebook or Instagram, if you are ever planning a trip to the Peak district, Kinder Scout, Edale, Hope Valley, these are the areas that you really must make a bit of time to visit.  Give me a shout if you are up here, I’ll happily come with you.

As you can see it really is a landscape to die for. *Laughing not sure that’s the best metaphor.

DR: Perhaps not die. To live for!

PG: Now we are coming into an area with all these weird rocks. these are the Wool Packs.

I guess you can see why. Once upon a time wool would have been gathered up and left on moors for collection in big bundles. I guess they do look a bit like…..Whoooargh (FALLS)

I’ll keep that bt in, walking and filming, lol, the pitfalls!

It’s almost like a Neolithic landscape, It looks like stone henge or something like that.

DR: it looks like they have been dropped here from a different universe!

PG: Fantastic

Now we are on Crowden tower. Look at the view, if I can get the camera up high. I’ll go to the edge and you can look over my shoulder down into the valley. The camera never ever does the view true justice to what I can see with the eye.

We are on the final bit of our walk now, this is Crowden Clough, and we are going down there, where the water goes, or should be going there isn’t much today. If you come here at this time in November there is a healthy flow.

I just want to take a second to say, how completely blessed we are, I don’t like to say that often, it’s an overused phrase on the internet but I think we are blessed to live in a place like this, where you can come out a few miles from home and have all this on your doorstep, FANTASTIC!

Down and down and down we go.

This is quite a good climb, particularly for me, Dean’s been on this route before many times, he seems to have handled that with no problem so I’ll give it a whirl.

There you go, we have just come down there. I feel quite happy with that.

After quite a good climb down, we finally found the water. Look at that, crystal clear! And there you are…We are down.

The stream has split off into 2 forks, we followed that one, and we are back down. It was quite challenging!

Walking through the bluebell woods now at the side of the Crowden brook and we have just come down from the clough, we are in the shade at last, out of the exposed Sun as you can see the beautiful bluebell wood and are making our way down to the road. soon we we will be back where we started.

there you go have a look at that old telephone box, it still has a working phone, beautiful, you dont see that very often these days.

And here we are, back where we started. Barber Booth.


Closing comments:

Just walking down now from Barber Booth, I have just left Dean Read, and we have had a fantastic walk. We started around this area, and we’ve been up onto Kinder, as you’ve seen through the video..we’ve done a good loop and down then clough.

I just want to say thanks very much to Dean for showing me that route, we’ve been in touch on social media for a long time and finally, we got to go out together for a walk today. He’s an incredibly knowledgeable chap and terribly humble and it’s been a real pleasure to go trekking with him.

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Oker Hill Trig & Beyond

Oker Hill is one of my favourite local fell running destinations. Oker Hill is a relatively small hill that extends from the side of a larger bank. It sits between Darley Bridge and Wensley, Or if you’re heading on the back road from Matlock, just above the Hamlet of Snitterton.

It has a white painted trig point that makes it clearly visible from both high and low viewpoints around the Darley / Matlock area.

My usual route to the trig starts at the Church Inn, Church Town, Darley Dale, I follow the road around the corner past St Helen’s Church, turning immediate right over the fields past the dog kennels. Follow the path across the first field and you come to a broad arable field on the floodplain.

map-church-town-darley.jpg

darley-dale-church-town2.jpg

darley-dale-church-town.jpg

Head toward the Cricket ground and this will bring you out at Darley Bridge. Head over the Bridge and swing left down the lane called Wenslees. You’ll have the River Derwent on your left, just after the Water Treatment plant, take the stile through the fields on your right.oker-hill1.jpg
Most of the year, this field is boggy, expect wet feet, if you don’t have waterproof footwear. Fell runners do not care about such things, we welcome wet feet.

You’ll come to a small stile, go over and up the next field, it brings you out on a farm track called Flint Lane, Turn right, about 10 meters on your left, take the next stile and go up the next field. This field is steep and undulating. Depending on the time of year, there may be cattle or sheep in the field.  If you have a dog with you, ensure it’s on a lead to avoid spooking the livestock. I have been chased by bullocks in this field so beware.

As you climb to the top of the field there’s a gate on your right, keep going up, under the Hawthorne trees, and you’ll see the land on your left rise sharply. Up and up and you’ll come to what looks like a little ski slope. If you’re fit, you can run up this in one go. If not, you know you need some training. It’s a short but steep hill and when you get to the top you reach the trig point and are rewarded with fantastic views.

south-darley

South Darley Church

oker-hill-trig1

Looking towards Wensley

I really like this little route because it gives you a reward, without killing you in the process. A relatively easy trig with great views, but you still have to make a bit of effort.

oker-hill-trig2

After you’ve caught your breath and taken in the view, head along the undulating path toward’s the big tree, you might spot a rabbit or two if you’re lucky.  At the big Sycamore tree, there is a little shrine, I don’t know the detail behind it, but someone either loved this place or lost their life here.

oker-hill-tree.jpg

Now follow the path past the tree, through the scrub and you’ll come out on the other side of Oker, to your left is an old derelict barn and your way back.

oker-hill-barn

Oker Hill, Head down toward the barn.

Head down toward the barn, you can now turn right into Oker and take the bottom route or head left and you’ll be heading back the way you came, just slightly lower down the hill.
Look for the shard.  The shard is just my name for a sharply pointed guidepost on the path, resembling it’s more modern, London counterpart.

oker-hill-shard-guidepost

All you have to do now is follow the path, you’ll come out at the foot of the steep incline up to the trig. Go back down, retracing your steps and back to the pub for a well-deserved drink.

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Alport Castles

Alport Castles is a geological feature situated in the Alport Valley in Northern Derbyshire.
I first learned of it from an image I saw online. I decided that I had to pay it a visit as soon as I could. When planning Fell run routes, I always try to add a stunning Peakland feature into my routes.

The ‘Castles’ are mounds of gritstone which, are remnants of an ancient landslip. As you head down the Valley you can see them towering over the valley below. In a certain light, the rocky outcrops look like ruined castles.

A Short Steep Fell Race Route

I parked my car on the Snake Pass and headed down the road, turning off at a farm by the roadside. I took the track through the farmyard and followed it for about a mile and a half down the farm track.alport-castles-map

About half a mile into the run, I came across some old farm machinery from a bygone era. It’s hard to imagine that this machinery would onece have been so vital to a farmer’s work.

alport-castles-machinery

All along the hedgerow, there were temporary signs, informing walkers that work was going on to restore and maintain the natural habitats of the valley.

Further down the track, I came to Alport Castles Farm. The farm is beautifully isolated, a real haven for those seeking peace. It was also once the home of a famous Suffragette, Hannah Mitchell

alport-castles-farmThere was a ladder stile here and a path that wandered down to the river. I paused for a few minutes to watch a pair of Chaffinches play in the branches of the trees before heading over the bridge and up the rocky track, toward my goal. The steep path went up and up weaving between two streams. I soon reached a small plateau, before another steep climb curving round to the right. Here an official sign for Alport Castles told me that I was definitely on the right track.

I clambered over a couple of grassy mounds, finding myself in a tight gully strewn with boulders.  I knew this was just the start of the landslip and that the best was yet to come.

Alport Castles

alport-castles1

Alport Castles Boulders

Alport Castles Rocky Gully

The largest feature is called “The Tower”, It’s a large Gritstone stack, Isolated from the rest of the landslip, And there it was. As I reached the top of the gulley the splendour of “The Tower” hit me, it was just as impressive as all the pictures I’d seen.

The Tower

Alport Castles Tower

Wandering up the bank onto a grassy plateau, long tussocks of dry grass made it pretty tricky going. I inspected some of the smaller landslips,  before heading down towards “The Tower”.  The size of some of the stones that had fallen from the cliffside was quite worrying, I moved swiftly, in case one of these monstrous rocks should fall on me and send me to meet my maker.

Alport Castles The Tower

I decided I’d eat my lunch at the top of “The Tower”, If I could manage to climb up there.  It doesn’t look too tall on the photos, but when you are half way up, you realise that a fall might just kill you.

Climbing alport Castles

I managed to get about half-way up when hunger overcame me. I found a nice flat rock and got stuck into my Cheese & Pickle sandwiches.

Climbing up Alport Castles

Whilst I was resting, I sat and watched Ravens soaring overhead. Their distinctive calls were oddly soothing. I have seen a definite increase in the places that these beautiful birds inhabit in the Peak District.

Alport Castles Walk

Eventually, I managed to find a way around the stack and work my way up to the top. From there, I continued to watch and listen to the Ravens, and was lucky enough to get close to one that landed near to me. I even watched them mob and drive off a bird that looked like a Peregrine Falcon, but I couldn’t be 100% sure.

top of Alport Castles

If you fancy a fairly easy walk/run, with a good climb, then I’d definitely recommend a visit to Alport Castles. It has everything. A good firm track, wildlife, birds and fantastic views.

Have you been to Alport Castles? How was it for you, leave a comment below.

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On Stanage Edge

A Poem by Tideswellman. Feb 2015

On Stanage Edge, a great brown sea of Heather and Gorse, the moor, rushes up to Stanage Edge and stumbles over the many heads of the rock face.

The many heads of Stanage Edge

The earnest facade of timeless rock shines out her many colours, standing proud in the cold light of winter, ripe with the shape nature has provided.

Stanage Edge Colours

The wind whistles and whips round, and when she wants to be, is as warm as a country girl, who flirting, tickling here and there, planting warm breathy kisses upon the nape of your neck. Yet when her mood changes, she can be a wild and icy harridan, who could kill a man without pause for reflection, as she screams between the boulders.

Stanage Edge Boulders

Clouds, never far away, hang in the air, waiting to swoop and shroud the rocks in silky mist, forever changing, and rearranging the feel of the landscape.

Low Cloud on Stanage Edge

Here and there, Rusty brooks bring forth the life blood of the moor, Water, a murderous colour stained red with Peat. Like a gentle, liquid knife it slowly cuts through the moor and rock alike.

Stanage Brook

As ramblers struggle over boulders squelch in bright black mud, a Jurassic sound stalks them, the Grouse laugh like naughty children as they play hide and seek with worried, wary walkers. stopping, peering as they try to pinpoint the sound.
Walkers on Stanage Edge

Cuts and crags, nooks and caves call to people curious to know the moor, to try her, to own her, yet the scale of this fortress of wilderness swallows and humbles both man and beast, man cannot own this, nor digest this visual feast.

Nooks and Cranies stanage-gapRobin Hoods Cave - Stanage Edge

Climbers on StanageWith senses overwhelmed a spell is cast that compels the moorland guest to return for pilgrimages uncounted.

Stanage Edge will make you return again and again

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On Stanage Edge by Tideswellman

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Stoney Middleton Fell Race 2014

Stoney Middleton Fell Race 2014 was the third race that I have missed through injury.
I can also say that whilst I’m gutted about not being able to run at the moment, I’m secretly happy that I didn’t have to run in the 30+ degree heat that we’ve been having this summer.

Whenever I’m not running, and can get to the race to support Tideswell RC, I take my camera along and try to snap team member and other runners in action. Sharing is caring and all that.

The Mother of all Hills

I thought I’d check out the route before the race kicked off, as I wasn’t familiar with the route and fancied finding a good vantage point to take pictures.

The route looks fairly gentle, to begin with, that is until you hit Stoney Middleton “High St”, I’m sure it got its name because, well, it’s high, very bloody high.

My little car found it tough going so Bing a frail human being huffing and puffing up it in the beating sun would be pretty tough going.

Running Groups Well Represented

The race itself started on Stoney Middleton playing fields. All the runners started arriving and there were plenty of running clubs represented. The ones I knew were,

  • Tideswell RC
  • Buxton RC
  • Goyt Valley Striders
  • Steel City Striders
  • Fat Boys
  • Totley
  • Ripley
  • Matlock
  • Sheffield
  • Dark Peak

A few of the teams were kind enough to let me take pics of them before the race.

The Race got underway from between the football goalposts.

Runners line up at Stoney Fell Race

Lining up

Stoney Fell Race Starts

The race begins

A quick loop up the length of the field and down to the style to exit the field. Runners started off quick, to be first over the stile and to get a bit of a start for that hill.

runners at Stoney Middleton

Runners rush to reach the 1st stile

Due to the high number of runners though, the race was at a standstill within a minute as there was a near instant bottleneck at the narrow stile.

Bottleneck at Stile

Bottleneck at Stile

This part was the only negative for me, but these things happen, and without issues like this, races would have nothing to improve on in coming years.

Within minutes, all the runners were off up the main road and heading toward “The Hill of Doom”. God pity their souls.

Being crocked, I wandered up the path and over the nearby fields to find a couple of decent vantage points for photos. Eventually, I settled on a nice spot down in a cool Valley just before the runners had their final ascent. I had a friendly marshal for company, and proceeded to prattle away to her whilst we waited for the pack to arrive.

Sadly, the pics were not the best, I must have had the camera on the wrong setting, but they are passable. So here they are.

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Related Links

* All the photos can be found on my flickr Gallery here.

* Fell Running Fox – Stoney Fell Race Blog