Monday, 5 October 2009

Edale to Glossop via Crowden Head Trip Report

My good lady was off to see a mate at lunch time on Sunday and then on to her parents who live in Glossop so I planned my walk around her plans. My plan was to get dropped off at Piccadilly train station in the morning, get the train to Edale in the heart of the Peak District and walk up and over the Kinder Plateau then down into Glossop in time for tea at the future in laws. All went to plan and I had a cracking day on the hills!

Sheffield train in Manchester Piccadilly Station

Got up Sunday morning and the weather was great! I was dropped off at Piccadilly at around 10:15 to find that I had missed the earlier Sheffield train and was an hour and a half early for the next one. I had time to waste and there was one piece of shiny new gear that was still on my wish list that I knew I could get in town so I headed out of the station and into the city centre. I can tell you, walking around the Manchester Arndale shopping centre in full hiking gear with poles hanging off your sack gets a few funny looks! Dixons was open and had the Gorilla Pod in stock. This week I was going to purchase the camera mount for my Pacer Poles, then I thought to myself what is the point when I can do the exact same thing with the Gorilla Pod and have the versatility that comes with one. I tested the Gorilla Pod yesterday and was really impressed with the many situations you can use it in and also the way in which it clips on and off my camera so quickly, its very light too and just hangs off your sack. In a week or two I will do a proper review of it. So after buying the Gorilla Pod and visiting WH Smiths to get a copy of this months TGO Magazine I headed back to the station and got on the 11:45 train to Sheffield stopping at Edale.

Grindsbrook Clough

The train was full of outdoor folk as always, which brings a comfortable feeling to the journey. Its a journey I love to make and a journey that city dwelling Mancunians have traditionally done for decades. An easy journey took us out of the bustling city and into the country side where folk smile and ask you how your day has been. On route I saw a Buzzard circle the train above Strines railway station which put a smile on my face. I absolutely love the buzz that suddenly starts as the train speeds through the long and dark Cowburn Tunnel as all the outdoor folk start to get their bags ready in anticipation of getting off at the beautifully located Edale railway station. A short pleasant road walk from the station takes you to the village centre. From the village I went ahead and then turned right going down and over Grinds Brook bridge and started the long slow ascent up Grindsbrook Clough. Unfortunately the big dark cloud I'd seen in the distance from the train window had suddenly made its way above me and was now throwing down a squally shower but it was soon over and I didn't even need the waterproofs. I've never taken the entire route up Grindsbrook Clough before and was really impressed, the final rocky scramble at the top was great fun!

Crowden Head

I reached the top of Grindsbrook Clough and the edge of the vast Kinder Plateau. I have often done walks that incorporate the edge path of Kinder Plateau and sometimes ventured a little way in simply to experience the peat and get a photograph of the fascinating Mountain Hares. I have never attempted to walk across the plateau or find one of the many hard to find spots on the boggy wilderness. I took a compass bearing from the top of Grindsbrook Clough, and using the leapfrogging technique, which in good weather is a lot easier on Kinder as you can use peat hags that are further away, I managed to find the wild and desolate cairn at Crowden Head. The peat bogs were horrendous at times, my feet sinking all the time. My Pacer Poles were a huge help at keeping me on my feet though they often sank too, if I use them up there in future I would take the larger baskets on them. I left Crowden Head with another compass bearing, this time I wanted to get to the River Kinder.

River Kinder

I have only experienced the River Kinder from the Kinder Downfall to the Kinder Reservoir. As I reached the River Kinder the horrendous boggy terrain turned into what I can only describe as the equivalent of a sandy river behind a Cornish beach in summer. It was like I'd gone from hell to heaven. The River Kinder on its kilometre long run before it drops over the Kinder Downfall is an absolute delight. Standing at the Kinder Downfall as I have on numerous visits in the past I would never think of following it upstream across the plateau as I always presumed it would just split up into many smaller tributaries and disappear into the dark peat like the other streams. Instead the river is stunning and actually gets wider in parts as it follows a wide sandy course sheltered on either side by a huge wall of peat hags and groughs

Myself lunching by the River Kinder

Following the course of the River Kinder I then came across Kinder Gates where two huge gritstone rocks stand on either side of the river giving the spot its name. Eventually I reached the Kinder Downfall and watched as huge black clouds made their way across Cheshire towards me and gave another short downpour. I walked the usual route along the plateau edge path passing Sandy Heys, the views from here open up across Greater Manchester and Cheshire. I love searching for the many landmarks in view, from left to right on a good day like yesterday you can see the huge Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, Beeston Castle on the Sandstone Ridge, Manchester Airport and Runway, the high mountains of Snowdonia, the huge cooling towers of Fiddlers Ferry power station by the Mersey Estuary, the higher buildings and cathedrals of Liverpool, the Granada regions TV mast on Winter Hill, the South Pennines and of course the whole of Greater Manchester and Manchester City Centre.

Aircraft Wreckage on Mill Hill

I descended from the plateau and went up Mill Hill then headed across an easy path to Burnt Hill, passing the plane wreckage of Liberator B-24J 42-52003 of U.S.A.F. 310 Ferrying Squadron which crashed here on the western side of Mill Hill on October 11th 1944. My next target was Harry Hut, easy to identify with its bright white trig point but there seemed no obvious route, I took a direct route across some of the thickest healthiest heather I had seen all day, it was no wonder that I'd seen more Red Grouse here than on any other part of the walk. Heather especially when it is thick can be very dangerous as it hides many streams or holes underneath its thick cover. About half way across to Harry Hut my left leg literally disappeared down a large hole, immediately I could feel a little pain but nothing to worry me, but the worrying thing was the crack noise I heard. As my leg went down the large hole my pole took all the weight of my body and went down its own smaller hole, it was bad news, I dragged myself out of the hole and picked up the carbon Pacer Pole to find it had snapped on the middle section, I took extreme care at this point as it was still slightly attached and I realised straight away that the most important thing was to keep that attached and try my hardest to gently release the tightener inside so I could get the whole of the damaged section out without leaving the tightener inside otherwise that would render both parts useless and in need of replacing. I managed to get the tightener part out which means only one part needs replacing.

Harry Hut summit trig pillar

A Mountain Hare, first of the day surprisingly, darted away from me as I approached the summit of Harry Hut and as I got to the summit I got a phone call from Nicky to let me know that tea would be ready in less than an hour. I explained I was just on my way down into Glossop and she came with Max from her folks house and met me half way so by the time I had gone over Worm Stones I could see her ascending towards me. It was a fantastic day out, the highlights were the River Kinder which is just heavenly before the Kinder Downfall and the scrambly section at the top of Grindsbrook Clough. In the crossing of the plateau from Grindsbrook Clough to Kinder Downfall I did not see a single person for hours. If you wanted to do this walk then get the earliest train possible from Manchester Piccadilly to Sheffield, get off at Edale, do the walk then get a train from Glossop back to Manchester that evening. I will write up this walk for the website at some point.

I have uploaded the photos from the day here.

Route Map...


  1. I've found the PacerPole attachment really useful as you get height that can be quite difficult to achieve with the Gorilla Pod. It's nice, sometimes, to get rid of the grass from the foreground!
    Nice pics, BTW. Do you realise they claim to have been taken on 5/2/08?! Some were a little dark on my screen [I suppose it is the Dark Peak] and sadly the feather wasn't entirely in focus. Ouch! who am I to talk?

  2. I will show you piccies on my review of the Gorilla Pod later in the week. I reaslised that I could easilly attach the Gorilla Pod to the top of the Pacer Pole when it is stuck in the ground at the same height as the Pacer Pole attachment would have been, in fact higher if anything, byt wrapping it round the handle and it worked brilliantly. It was this thought that made me realise with the Gorilla Pod I had both options plus more. See piccies in future post.

    Aye that'll be me being lazy and not setting the date on my camera after having the batteries out for too long... ooops!

    I know what you mean about the dark ones, they just looked better than the over exposed ones and I didn't manage to get an inbetween unfortunately. I also only have a netbook at the moment and really need to get a decent sized and lit screen for processing images on.

    That ruddy feather would not stop moving! ;-)