Distance: 15.0 miles
Ascent: 3570 feet
I didn’t trust the weathermen. Metcheck, the Met Office and MWIS all predicted a beautiful and sunny day, with temperatures reaching 14C. I packed my winter kit. It turned out they were right. So I spent most of the day in shorts and a t-shirt, lumping around a ton of gear.
We jumped out at Hope station to an already warm world. We immediately headed along the footpaths for the summit of Win Hill, removing layers as we went. As we passed Edge Farm the humidity really began to rise, and on the final stretch to the summit I was beginning to wonder if we were about to get a storm. An unseasonal start to an unseasonal day.
After a brief rest on Winhill Pike we walked along Hope Brink for a time before taking a turning left to walk down through the woods to Hagwater Bridge. Here the sunlight penetrated through the trees, reflecting off the new growth moss giving everything a very eerie and surreal feeling. Several of the hollows had a very ‘Lord of the Rings’ feeling, however my pictures didn’t capture the moment, as is often the case.
Looking up Edale
We crossed over the Snake Road and walked up the Bellhag Tor. From there the grassy path soon gives way to a flagstone path. However this is one that has been in place long enough to allow plant life to re-seed the peat and blend the stones with the landscape more. It’s good to know that positive things are finally coming from all the conservation work. We made very quick time across this section of moor, the great swathing colours of the differently yellow grasses making the journey pleasing on the eye.
Before long we reached Alport Castles, this being the first any of us had visited. We ate beneath Little Moor before going to have a brief look at The Tower. We left climbing it for another visit (to make sure I go out of my way to come back soon!) and followed the path down to Alport Farm. From here we walked down the track to the Snake Road before following the road for 700m. We then turned off down a path to start the ascent of Blackden Brook.
This was another first for any of us. And what a path this is! The sides soon become steep, and the path quickly narrows, repeated crossing the brook in order to find a way up onto Kinder. As you get higher it feels more like and amphitheatre, steepening all the time. As there has been a lot of rain recently all the waterfalls into the clough were in full flow, giving up quite a spectacle, but also quite a challenge as the brook itself was rather full. The final stretch is a scramble onto the plateau, a brilliant way to end a path that has catapulted itself onto my list of top routes. I intend to return after a dry spell in order to go scrambling up some of the less orthodox routes out of the clough. I cannot recommend this route to others enough.
Down Blackden Brook
We then headed due south to meet the path on the southern edge of Kinder. Surprisingly the plateau itself was on the dry side, something I wasn’t expecting given the amount of water rushing down Blackden Brook. From there we walked west and headed down to Edale station via Grindsbrook and a stop in the Nags Head.
Alport Dale and the Howden Moors
All along this section it felt more like a late summer evening that a February afternoon, typifying a very unusual (weather wise) but highly enjoyable day.