Daniel Neilson spends a weekend in Edale exploring the quieter side of Kinder Scout and scrambling up the northern cloughs
Kinder Scout is one of the most popular walking destinations in the country. Its grough-veined plateau, its magnificent viewsover the Pennines and its accessibility by train from Sheffield and Manchester make it so. A pre-war postcard at the Old Nags Head calls Edale ‘the Switzerland of the Peaks’ (who said hyperbole is modern?). As well as promoting bed and breakfast for 5s/6d (27p!), it states: “Nearest inn to the highest mountain in the Peak District, Kinder Scout 2088ft. Moors – Hills – Woods – Streams & Caves”. It was busy then and it’s busy now, even on a cold weekend in February.
During a weekend based at Edale YH, I took in the moors, woods and streams and saw plenty of people, at least above Grindsbrook and Crowden Cloughs, yet for the most part I was alone – on the second day for the first six hours I only saw a mountain rescue team out on exercise.
The first day’s walk, detailed overleaf, is a short hike up Crowden Clough (grade 1), a gentle introduction to scrambling, across the edge east to Ringing Roger, a cluster of rocky outcrops where a good hour can be spent clambering over the rocks, making it as easy or as difficult as you like.
The second walk is a full, and tiring, day across the Kinder plateau to the quiet northern edges of Blackden and Seal, before scrambling down Fair Brook, and walking under The Edge to a grade 1 scramble of Nether Red Brook (a slightly more serious option, but still grade 1, is farther west at Upper Red Brook). This is followed by a navigation exercise across the plateau to Kinder Downfall, where time can be taken on the more serious scrambles here, again across the plateau (with very tricky navigation), then back down Grindsbrook Clough to Edale.
ROUTE 1 CROWDEN CLOUGH AND RINGING ROGER
- From Hope railway station head N through Grindsbrook Booth, turning L onto the Pennine Way heading W.
- Follow Pennine Way to a small footpath heading NW below Broadlee Bank Tor at SK108856.
- Follow path NW alongside Crowden Clough. There’s some good scrambling (never more than grade 1) in the clough or a steep path to the L of the brook.
- At the top follow the clear path E along the ridge. It then heads NE briefly to the top of Grindsbrook Clough (It’s nice to take in Grindslow Knoll first).
- Follow ridge E, fording several streams, to the top of Golden Clough at SK126876.
- Head SE alongside clough to the rocky outcrop of Ringing Roger for some scrambling.
- Drop down onto clear path towards The Nab and zig-zagging back down to Edale.
ROUTE 2 KINDER CIRCUIT AND NETHER RED BROOK
- From the back of the YH follow path beside Lady Booth Brook. Around the 400m contour simply head N to the top of the plateau.
- Take a bearing N to Madwoman’s Stones, a cluster of stones, at SK137881.
- From here, head N to the northern edge of Kinder Scout. Head W, following the path on the edge around the top of Blackden Moor and Seal Edge to Fair Brook.
- Scramble down Fair Brook (path alongside). As it flattens out, walk directly N to catch a parallel path.
- At the path follow it W around Fairbrook Naze and the foot of The Edge to Nether Red Brook (the first marked on the map heading W). There are stiles all the way along to climb over the fence.
- Scramble up Nether Red Brook. The easiest route is to follow the water all the way (grade 1). Alternative and more serious routes can be found all the way along. At the top head in a southwesterly direction to Kinder Downfall – an excellent place for scrambling up to grade 3.
- Follow path SW across Kinder Scout – in actual fact a river bed. Navigating the first part is easy following the wide river bed, but it’s very easy to lose direction about halfway – keep an eye on your compass bearings. In theory you should come out at Cowden Clough. If you do lose the path, simply head S until you reach the edge and walk along the edge E to Cowden Clough.
- Follow path E then NE to the top of Grindsbrook Clough. Scramble down Grindsbrook Clough (never more than grade 1), making it as fun and wet as you like, back to Edale.
- If heading back to the YH, follow the signposts from the Old Nags Head Inn E clearly marked to Edale YH.