Kinder Scout: Touching the Horizon

October 19th, 2022

Back in October this year I was asked by the editor of Derbyshire Life Magazine if I would like to share my thoughts about Kinder Scout in Derbyshire for their December edition which would feature in a section called ‘My Favourite Walk’. Here is my edition with some additional content explaining why Kinder Scout is extra special to me and what I believe makes a great walk here in this location.

There’s a world out there!

Grindsbrook Clough and the Vale of Edale with the Great Ridge in the background. Edale, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

My first time visiting Kinder Scout was in December 2019. It hadn’t exactly been planned for the day I went but after hours of tossing and turning with an inability to sleep due to racing emotions, I had pulled myself from the safe confines of my bed, donned my winter hiking clothes and finally braved my first sunrise adventure. What an adventure it had turned out to be…

Despite it only being a short hike from Edale village up to Ringing Roger, it had re-awakened something within me that had lain dormant for years. I remember clearly the doubts in my mind that had formed as I boarded that first train out of Sheffield, the growing anguish as the train edged nearer to the Peak District of whether I would actually go through with it. I had never gone hiking in the dark alone before, yet I knew of others who had and just seeing their experiences had spurred me on. Walking through the village of Edale I had nearly turned back, conscious of the strange sounds and shadows which darted all around. Yet heading up the Nab and then the hills further on, the pale moonlight making everything appear light, my fear had evaded me and I knew in that instant that the risk was worth it.

The Nab. Taken from near Ringing Roger overlooking Grindsbrook. Edale, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

I only just made the sunrise by 10 minutes. Standing at the top of Ringing Roger I could barely breath with the strong wind taking my breath away with every turn I made. My hands were so numb with cold that I could barely make my fingers press the relevant buttons on my camera to capture the images and my cheeks stung terribly in the gap where my scarf left my eyes visible, but as the sun began to rise from the direction of Hope and cast its magnificent light in the direction of Grindsbrook and the vale of Edale, it was like a whole new world was discovered for me. Never had I ever seen before the colours and textures in a landscape like what I saw that day. Rich indigos, purple and reds were vivid in the beginning and quickly turned to orange, gold and pink which in turn threw brown and russet shadows on the ice covered hill tops.

I gazed in amazement, unable to tear myself away for the 15 minutes that the colours were at their most striking. When it was over, I realised in that instance, that life passes us by so quickly that if we blink we might just miss it. This just now was a prime example. When people ask me why Kinder Scout is special to me when there are so many other beautiful places within the Peak District, this is the reason why. It is the place where my senses were reawakened, the place I came back alive…

Why is Kinder Scout one of your favourite Derbyshire walks?

Kinder Scout is breath taking in every possible way and is a world of wonder just on its own. It is such a vast area that many different walks can be created, each giving a totally new adventure despite still being within Kinder Scout. There are so many routes people can take up onto the plateau with varying degrees of difficulty ranging from rocky pathways, hillside climbs, steep steps to full waterfall scrambles that I am literally spoiled for choice.

The Kinder Plateau. Taken from the top of Golden Clough and overlooking Edale and the Great Ridge with Hollins Cross and Mam Tor in the distance. Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Although it is not always an easy climb up, once on the plateau it is relatively straightforward and if I am feeling up for it, I can make a full day of hiking by walking the whole plateau in full circle. The choice being mine, is as exciting as it is invigorating.

The old rickety footbridge at the bottom of Golden Clough if heading along Grindsbrook. Kinder Scout, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

The variety of scenery is amazing and no matter which route is chosen, there is always a stunning view at every twist and turn. My experience changes with the passing seasons when a range of different colours and textures are thrown into the mix and I have hiked Kinder Scout in winter as much as summer, often taking similar routes. This in itself changes the scenery and landscape a great deal, ensuring that I do not become bored of the locations despite seeing the same place more than once.

A waterfall scramble route up Fairbrook Clough. Kinder Scout Northern Side, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

What is it that makes this part of Derbyshire so appealing?

For me, it has to be that it is literally right on my doorstep. I am fortunate that Kinder Scout is located nearer to Sheffield than some of the other more difficult to reach places. My favourite places within the Peak District National Park are definitely the Dark and High Peak areas. The colours in the landscape are more rigorous and I love hiking to high vantage points and rock formations. No scene within the Dark Peak is the same for me and I feel I get so much more choice of place to walk to get great satisfaction.

A cave on the summit of Ringing Roger. Southern side of Kinder Scout, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

This part of Derbyshire gives people the freedom to be able to mix up a walk and take detours if we suddenly change our minds. Everything is within relatively close distance of one another other. My preferences in location are based on how therapeutic it’s qualities are for me as a hiker and Kinder Scout definitely gives me a great sense of that.

Taken from the Kinder Plateau overlooking Kinder Reservoir and Hayfield, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Is there any part of the Kinder Scout area that you particularly like visiting or seeing?

The southern and western sides of Kinder Scout appear to be the most popular with areas such as Grindsbrook, Grindslow Knoll and Crowden Tower being hot favourites. When glancing out across the landscape from here, clear views all around are that of the Vale of Edale, the Great Ridge including Mam Tor and Losehill Pike. Further round I can see Rushup Edge and Lords Seat.

Taken from the top of Grindsbrook Clough with views of Grindslow Knoll and the Great Ridge, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

The Woolpacks and Pym Chair are two other fascinating locations and although popular, are some of my favourites. The site around here is a site of special scientific interest mostly due to its magnificent rock formations which have been shaped and sculpted over the years by ferocious weather. I still have yet to properly explore as there is just not enough time in one day but what I have already seen blew me away. The boulders form many shapes and are unique in themselves. Some even look distinctly like people or animals and are visited by many who travel long distances just to see the spectacular sight of the Woolpacks. It really is that impressive.

The Woolpacks, Kinder Scout, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

However as much as this side of Kinder Scout is appealing, it is the Northern side that I favour the most. Seal Stones and Fairbrook are some of the least trodden parts largely because they are harder to reach due to the long walking distances and generally more difficult terrain. When visiting here, it is so much more secluded that I might only see a handful of people in a day rather than the droves of people on the southern side.

The Northern edge of Kinder Scout with views over the Snake Path, Black Ashop Moor and Bleaklow Moor, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Views from the northern side include Alport, Bleaklow and Snake Woodlands among others which are all close and within walking distance to the A57 Snake Road.

Curious rock formations at the Woolpacks, Kinder Scout, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Rock formations spotted here are that of the famous boxing glove stone, Fairbrook Naze, two turtles facing each other and what appears to be various fish and birds perched on rocks. They most likely all have specific names which unfortunately I am none the wiser but imagination certainly comes to life here and that is one of my favourite aspects despite the scenic views.

Boxing Glove Stones, Kinder Scout Northern edge, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Who do you tend to go walking with?

The majority of my walks are done solo as it’s a great opportunity to clear my head. I am comfortable in my own company and hardly ever feel lonely or unsafe. In saying that, I do walk with my best friend at times which is becoming more of a regular thing since I introduced her to the Peak District. My Sons have also joined me from time to time. Either way, I nearly always have a great adventure.

An interesting rock formation here of what appears to be a seal and a turtle. Northern edge of Kinder Scout, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

What do you look for in a good walk?

A good walk for me is always about the scenery. It doesn’t necessarily have to be from a high vantage point or over a long distance but if it is not either of these then the location must have something I find interesting. This can be nice trees, plant life or vegetation, history, wild animals, architecture, nature or even water. I prefer to be creative when I plan my walks and mix it up to include a bit of everything if possible. For example, I like to plan a circular route of Kinder Scout with the first half hills and rocky edges and the latter, a lower route through trees and woodland.

Fairbrook Naze, Northern side of Kinder Scout, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

I enjoy eating out at country pubs both during and after hikes and also take picnic and dehydrated food on occasion too. It really makes no difference to my walk as long as I eat somewhere. The Old Nags Head at the start of the Pennine Way in Edale serves fantastic food.

The Old Nags Head, Edale, Derbyshire.

I am a lover of all seasons and so hike all year round in any weather. My favourite time of year for hiking is Autumn due to the rich russet, brown and red tones in the landscape and the dark moody skies and mist.

Are there any other places that you particularly enjoy visiting or seeing?

Derbyshire and the Peak District is a truly fabulous place to explore and Kinder Scout is one of many places I choose. Other areas of interest to me include Dovestones and the Trinnacles, Saddleworth Moor, Howden Moor, Alport Castles, Mother Cap on the outskirts of Hathersage, Padley Gorge and Curbar Edge in Grindleford, the Roaches in Staffordshire and the Goyt Valley. All these are special and have individual qualities of their own which make them unique and memorable. The Peak District National Park no matter the time of year always has something for everyone and opens a door into a world where opportunities are rife and possibilities are endless.

Grindsbrook Clough (right side fork), Kinder Scout, Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Thankyou to Derbyshire Life Magazine for giving me this opportunity. I really enjoyed writing this short piece and focusing on one of my truly favourite locations within the Peak District. Kinder Scout really is one of the best gems of the High Peak with a vast scope for creating adventure. I never get tired of visiting.

For anyone who has never visited Kinder Scout before, I thoroughly recommend you give it a go.

Once again, Thankyou for reading. Hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you a prosperous, safe and Happy New Year. Lucy xx

4 thoughts on “Kinder Scout: Touching the Horizon

  1. Really enjoyed your thoughts about Kinder – it’s a place that means a lot to me for exactly the same reasons. All my trips there are also on the train from Sheffield so your opening remarks also echo my feelings first time I ventured there – trepidation around what adventures lay ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou Grant, it is definitely my go to place. Not that far to walk either from the train station really and no matter what, you’re almost guaranteed a great adventure come rain or shine. There’s something special about it. I aim to walk the Kinder Scout Skyline later in the year too. Thankyou for taking the time to read. Lucy


    1. Hey, Thankyou Carl for stopping by. It’s always nice to hear your comments and feedback. I am so looking forward to seeing what you have planned in your upcoming adventures. I’m sure they will be epic! It’s great to see your channel up and running again on YouTube and I should think so too! The place wasn’t the same without you. All the best, Lucy


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