Thursday, 10 December 2009

Kinder Downfall from Hayfield Trip Report

I had a planned trip to Scotland this last weekend but a few weeks ago injured my knee ligament playing football so as I had the Friday before the weekend off I thought I'd best go check my knee was okay for it. I decided I would go to the Lakes if I was up early enough or the Peak for something less time consuming. Of course lazy as I am I got up quite late so had to go to the Peak District instead! Other than climbing Snowdon which I do on a regular basis, the Kinder Downfall from Hayfield walk is the one I do most often, mainly because its not only a great place but its only 30 to 40 minutes from my house to the start of the walk.

Kinder Reservoir

I arrived at the Bowden Bridge car park to find I could either park for free on the road or pay something close to a fiver for several hours at the quarry car park, bet you can guess what I did! If it was something reasonable like a pound then I would probably have paid the money as I do like to support the areas I visit, but I refuse to pay such extortionate prices so unfortunately the area loses out instead. I set off along the usual route to the dam and climbed the path to the level of the reservoir. The Kinder Reservoir was deadly still and I managed to get some great shots of the water reflecting the surrounding hills that sweep away from the Kinder Plateau. After a Grouse scared the hell out of me, like they always do jumping out from heather making the usual racket, I got to the gate at the bottom of William Clough where I have always made my way up the popular but well worn William Clough path. I decided instead that I cut the walk short and take the less trodden route via open moorland over Hollin Head to the South West ridge that heads out from Sandy Heys. I've often looked down this ridge from on the plateau path itself as it looks interesting with its random mini boulder field that seems to defend its ridge crest like a set of road speed humps. It was a different, easy and much quiter ascent, I wouldn't recommend everyone go that way as it'll end up a mess but for those of us on the quiet days like this day its well worth doing.

Grouse on Sandy Heys

I followed the plateau path along the edge to Kinder Downfall. By now the weather wasn't the best as I was totally surrounded by thick cloud and could hardly see a thing. My glasses did the usual thing of steaming up and fogging on one eye only which is really really annoying. I could hear the downfall waterfall but not see it which was a shame as I'd never been here when it is in full flow. After the downfall I followed the path to Kinder Low with the cloud breaking eventually the views opened up. I even managed to find a bit of snow still lingering around which always puts a smile on my face no matter how little.

Kinder Low summit cairns

At Kinder Low the skies were open and the day was looking good. I descended via the Kinderlow End ridge and ate my lunch and flask of hot chocolate sat on the rocks on Kinderlow End. I sat and thought of the madness of city life going on in the distance that I was not at all sad about missing as Grouse and Mountain Hares joined me for lunch. I descended the steep path on Kinderlow End and found myself in the usual frustrating situation at the bottom of that descent where the footpath signs and rights of way through the farmland are not at all clear. Disappointing considering how popular the route is. I still get annoyed when farmers and land owners don't make it easier for people to find their way around their land, it would benefit everyone in the equation if they had more signs and signs that actually pointed the right way. To make things worse it was getting much darker so I reached into my hip belt pocket to grab my normal glasses as I'd been wearing my darker prescription sunglasses most of the day, to my horror my normal glasses were not there! I knew that within half an hour or less it would be completely dark and I was already starting to struggle. I completely mis-read the map and ended up sharing large fields with sheep and descending found myself just above a farm called The Ashes where no doubt an angry farmer would be coming 'with his gun gun gun' as the nursery rhymes used to say! I detoured away from the farm and heading over stone walls and fences managed to find the bridleway near Coldwell Clough. I got back to my car in pitch blackness and did the last kilometre back to Bowden Bridge in sun glasses and complete darkness which really wasn't fun. Lesson most certainly learned! Had a great day though as I love Kinder.

I have uploaded the photos from the day here.

Route Map...


  1. Some nice pics there bud.

    I particularly like the top 2 in the post and the one of the rocks after the grouse in picasa.

  2. Kinder is the perfect Day out when the big trips north of the border gets cancelled.

  3. The trip north wasn't cancalled Martin, just delayed until I was sure the knee could handle it. I've just posted trip report from Scotland trip too from beginning of the week! I do love Kinder though when not got the will to go to far from home. J