Walk up Kinder Scout from Edale
Route Summary: Classic walk to the Kinder Scout Plateau from Edale
Classic walk to the Kinder Scout Plateau from Edale
|17.55 km||519 m||6 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Edale
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Walk up Kinder Scout from Edale Route Map and GPX DownloadDownload file for GPS
Walk up Kinder Scout from Edale Details
Kinder Scout is a popular hill in the Peak District, with the best walking being around the edges. This walk up Kinder Scout from the village of Edale ventures deep into the spongy peat moor in search of the highest point on Kinder Scout.
The Route up Kinder Scout from Edale
1 The walk up Kinder Scout starts from Edale, and the initial idea was to follow the Pennine Way as long as we could before crossing back over the plateau towards Edale and down again. Instead, the straightforward pull up to Grindslow Knoll seemed a lot easier. Starting from the official starting point of the Way at the Old Nag’s Inn, the path starts off good and easy. To reach the Knoll, we had to veer right along a less obvious path across fields. However, there’s a signpost that tells you where to go and the path crossing the slope ahead is pretty obvious.
2 It’s a steep pull along an eroded path, but it’s over before you realise. The good thing about the walk is that you only need to cover about 300m and you’re on’top’. Flattening out, the path only really gets you in the final few minutes when you’re nearly on top and you need hands in a couple of places. That then, is really all the significant ascent over for the day. The beauty of the area is that once up, you stay up.
3 Grindslow Knoll provides a good viewpoint of the whole plateau, and along the edges. Following these gives reasonably easy walking, but crossing the plateau is another matter entirely. To reach Kinder Low, there’s an easy path that you can follow, with a junction left or right at the top of Grindsbrook Clough. You can go either way, with left being the quickest. Right will take you all around the plateau and is a good 25-30km day. This is also an option if you go left, but at least you get Kinder Low under your belt by going left.
4 The track is generally good, and the gritstone crunches satisfactorily underfoot. What you encounter as you follow the path are massive boulders, eroded by wind to look like half sucked jelly babies (I had to get that one in!) This is one walk that would be just as good in the mist, with the shapes of the stones melting into the fog. Today though, the weather was clear and made route finding easy.
5 The path takes you over an interesting stream and falls above the Crowden Brook, with the gritstone proving to be comfortably grippy in the wet. The Woolpacks are a whole collection of these boulders, where you can easily get a little sidetracked and lose the easier path. Crawling and ducking under these precariously placed boulders, you hope that they’re more steadfast than they appear. Of course, in between the boulders you’ll find the peaty mud the area’s famous for and no doubt get plenty on your boots.
6 The path will take you along the edge and eventually to the top of Jacob’s Ladder, where you meet the Pennine Way and turn right. I decided to follow a faint path from Noe Stool (SK082 869) and straight into a peat grough. Now these appear very intimidating at first glance, but tend to have good footing at their base. Even though as you get nearer the source, the sides close in and you feel you’ll have to clamber up a steep peaty slope. Luckily, it led directly to the trig at Kinder Low, which was a welcome sight.
7 The tide was out when I reached Kinder Low, fortunately, and also deserted. While there were many people on the edges, it seems that the summit was ignored. The Pennine Way was followed now, along a proper edge towards Kinder Downfall and above Kinder Reservoir and Mermaid’s Pool if you can spot it. It’s a strange type of walking, with the moorland to your right and a drop and view to the left, more like coastal walking than hill walking. I’d hoped there would be more of a torrent at Kinder Downfall as last night had rained so heavily, I kept checking the floor of my tent for flooding. I also wanted water, but all I’d passed was far too brown to risk. It’s just tannins from the peat, but I wasn’t going for it. So while i wanted to walk around the entire plateau, I followed instead the good path along the River Kinder deep into the Kinder Scout plateau.
8 The seaside feel became even more pronounced, walking along the sandy river. There was an occasional path, but the river was easier to walk on. I was just hoping the path was taking me the right direction as you could only see peat walls to the side. Looking at the GPS log (and the map) it appears that the path was taking me around and back on myself and I missed the junction of the path at SK088 883 marked with a large cairn in the river so started heading back towards Kinder Low rather than over Edale Moor.
9 As luck would have it, this took me directly over the’proper’ summit area of Kinder Scout, with the GPS reading 638m. According to the GPS log I was about 100m east of the high point, but I was stood 100m west of a small cairn which was probably ceremonially the summit. Neither was higher than where I stood, so I was satisfied this was the summit. It was nothing but peat though, with re-seeding of grasses in some parts.
This was more like walking in snow than anything else, and I followed some other footprints that hopefully took me back to the area above Edale. Only once did the bog threaten to suck my almost new boots off. Peak peat most definitely ages boots though, and they no longer look two weeks old.
10 It was a relief to hit the path again, and I had to pass through the Woolpacks and around Crowden Tower again. I didn’t want to descend the same way I came up, so continued along above Grindbrook Clough and sharply’inland’ towards the moor to avoid a ravine. Hartshorn was soon passed as were plenty more interesting rock formations, before the track down to The Nab was taken down. Thirst being paramount now, the final path was taken quickly and the steps jogged down to get them out of the way (losing my expensive Ortileb map case in the process). The ground finally yielded to grass, and soon the Nag’s Head was thankfully reached! Well worth a few pints.