Walking with; Nobody
After the trials and tribulations of a windswept Lake District last week it felt good to be back on familiar ground and to, maybe, just maybe, see Spring finally beginning to stir. Kinder is my “go to” hill, close enough to have a long day out and sleep in my own bed, and yet, wild enough to feel like a proper adventure and different every time I visit.
I set off from Barber Booth, one of a string of hamlets that make up Edale, and followed the River Noe, enjoying the daffodils and budding trees, until I reached Upper Booth Farm. The path follows Crowden Brook through a wooded vale before bringing you out at the foot of Crowden Clough with Crowden Towers and the Kinder edge towering over head. It was a pleasant climb, the gradient rises (for the most part) gently and there was a cooling breeze, none-the-less by the time I’d scrambled up to the foot of the Towers I’d worked up a sweat and an appetite! As I sat and ate the first half of my lunch, I saw my first Swallow of the year, a harbinger of Spring if ever there was one. The good weather had bought out quite a few walkers so I decided to leave the edge and head into the peaty heartland of the massif intent on doing a little “nav work”. It was hard work, in and out of groughs and bashing through the heather, but as well as reaching my eventual goal of Crowden Head, I put up a few Grouse, spied a solitary Curlew and managed to come to the aid of a compass-less father and son who’d strayed a little off route……all part of the service!
Another session of cross-Kinder yomping bought me out at Kinder Low and then onto Edale Rocks for the second half of my lunch and some truly superb views down the valley and across to the Great Ridge. My knees didn’t fancy Jacob’s Ladder so after a brief consultation with my map I continued on to Brown Knoll, detouring to examine the sparse remains of another WW2 plane crash that lay on the Eastern side of the hill. The tops of Brown Knoll reminded me of Black Hill, peat and vast expanses of pale grass waving in the breeze. I located the memorial cairn of John Charles Gilligan complete with the classic biblically inspired walker’s epitaph, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills………” before contouring round Horsehill Tor and dropping back into the valley. The last quarter mile or so had plenty of Spring lambs and that, as well as the Swallow and budding Hawthorns made me optimistic that Spring may finally have made it as far as the Peak District, fingers crossed!
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