Being the cliched individual that I apparently am, I wanted to kick off my year (at least) of adventures in symbolic fashion. Yesterday, that’s exactly what I did – with my very own microadventure to climb Kinder Scout in the Peak District.
I left home at 7am to make the 2 hour drive north, aiming for the small village of Edale (well known as the starting point of the Pennine Way). From there, I’d mapped out a 14 kilometer loop up to the Peak District’s highest point and back down again. While you’d be right to suggest that I wouldn’t be scaling dizzying heights in the Peak District, with Kinder Scout clocking in at just 2,087 feet (636 metres), there were other reasons why I chose this mountain for my first climb of the year.
It was in 1932 that ramblers from the north of England set out to willfully trespass and climb Kinder Scout. This was in protest of the fact that access to many areas of open country in England and Wales were being restricted by wealthy grouse shooters. This act of civil disobedience arguably led to the passage of the National Parks legislation in 1949 and the establishment of the right of walkers to travel through common land and open country. This freedom to roam is what grants us the freedom to walk in our high places today. It’s because of this that I couldn’t think of a more fitting place to kick off my year of adventures.
At about 9.30am I set off from the town of Edale with my OS map and a couple of litres of water. It was a crisp -3°C. Having climbed much higher peaks, I had very limited expectations. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised at the views I was able revel in during the walk. Below are a selection of the photographs I took on the day:
Decent blue skies for January. Setting off with temps of about -3°C:
Grindsbrook Clough – a 40 minute scramble:
Frozen falls near Crowden Tower:
The below photo was actually taken from Surprise View. I stopped there for a short 3km walk as the sun was setting on my drive back to Leicester:
While hardly a challenging route, it was a decent way to spend a few hours. With no associated costs (except the cost of petrol), anyone 2 hours or so from Edale could attempt this route on their day off from work. You could also grab your sleeping bag and bivvy for a night under the stars. This is the very essence of the microadventure. You don’t have to do something grand to have an adventure – it can be short, cheap, local – yet exciting and rewarding. Get outside.
For those who are interested, my route was roughly as follows: I walked through the village of Edale, past Grindslow House and followed Grindsbrook upstream. The next 40 minutes was a scramble as I hauled myself up the narrow valley of Grindsbrook Clough. This is actually quite a slog and requires some deft footwork – it also means the entire climb is done within the first 90 minutes. Eventually, I emerged onto Edale More and walked another km or so to Crowden Tower (weird rock formations are a major feature of this walk). I passed Pym Chair before cutting across to reach the summit of Kinder Scout, then back to Noe Stool and Edale Rocks, before following the Pennine Way down through Jacob’s Ladder for a 3-4km walk back to Edale.