I arranged to meet Chris and Simon at Fox House at 09:50 this morning. I was confident of getting there on time since there are two buses scheduled to travel towards Fox House, the 65 to Buxton and the 214 to Matlock, both scheduled to leave at exactly the same time, from the same stand at the bus station, and taking the same route to Fox House....obviously scheduled to arrive there at the same time too...09:50.
The Buxton bus showed up first and I arrived at Fox House on time. Chris and Simon were a bit late; I had to wait ten minutes for them.
Chris drove us to the starting point for the walk and we parked as near to Mam Nick as we could. We walked westwards along Rushup Edge: I don't know why it's called an edge, since to me, it doesn't seem like an edge at all; more like a less spectacular continuation of the Great Ridge.
After about a mile and a half we turned right and crossed open moorland and headed towards Brown Knoll. I have read online that the crossing of this moor (which isn't named on the map) can be very boggy at times; well, today it wasn't. The path was easy to follow, and the mist had even lifted a bit, so I didn't need to rummage for my compass.
We ate our sandwiches at the trig point; both Simon and myself commented about the amount of cotton grass here.
It wasn't far, nor much of a climb until we reached the Kinder plateau; There was one section where we were exposed to the western wind and Simon mentioned that he wished he'd brought his gloves. It was really rather cold here, and quite unpleasant...it was much warmer and more sheltered down in the groughs a few minutes later.
We walked along the route of the Pennine Way for a few minutes before forking to the right to pass by some well-known rock formations; Noe Stool, Pym Chair, and the Wool Packs. The latter looked particularly otherwordly in the swirling mist, intermittently illuminated by the sun straining to poke through both the cloud cover and the translucent light.
The groughs were beckoning us, and so we headed into the maze which is Kinder Scout. Chris lead the way; I suggested that whenever he needed to decide which way to go, he should choose to walk to the left. We had fun getting just a teeny weeny bit lost; we found an area which had been re-seeded and gullies that had been blocked in some systematic way, to prevent further erosion I suppose - I like the effects of the erosion though.
A large rocky outcrop eventually loomed into view; we were back at Pym Chair. We re-traced our footsteps and then descended down Jacob's Ladder; in places I held on to the top of the wooden fence to steady myself - I was surprised at how smooth and worn the wood actually was. I suppose many thousands of people must have done the same thing over several decades.
Before reaching Upper Booth we took a path which led us through some lovely pastoral countryside to Dalehead; no doubt the scenery would have been stunning, if only we could have seen beyond about a hundred yards.
Just beyond Dalehead we entered access land, and since we didn't fancy climbing right up to the top of Rushup Edge using the footpath which ascends at a very steep angle, we located a path of some sort which eventually ended up at the bottom of Chapel Gate, a well maintained track; which is closed to traffic at the moment though.
I took a photograph of a tree which was only about the same size of me; it reminded me of a bonsai, or an image on a Japanese woodcut print.
The final section of the walk was the climb up the road to Mam Nick, and then the last few hundred yards back to the car. I was soon struggling though; my thigh muscles were refusing to work, and I ached all over; Simon was struggling even more so, and looked quite unwell, and so Chris and myself decided that I would wait for Simon at the lay-by not too far from the top whilst he would go to the car and drive down to pick us up. Simon was very relieved...and I wasn't complaining.
Chris soon arrived with the car; it was parked no more than half a mile away on the other side of the hill. Simon and myself got in, and because it would be a difficult place to turn round, being near a blind summit and a sharp bent, we decided to drive down into the Edale valley and then continue towards Hope...where I arrived just in time to catch the bus.