February 16th:

There was a good turn out of 12 for the walk as follows:

Crowther, Eastwood, E.Shawcross and guest John, R.Shawcross, Cotton, Pierce, Clowes, Browne, Brown, Johnson, Chatburn. D Grayson came for tea, Chatburn did not.

The walkers met at Hope station the plan being to take the train to Chinley and then walk back to Hope via Kinder. Joint leader Cotton was surprised by several extras who had replied to his Tiscali e mail which he had not been monitoring. Fortunately joint leader Pierce later used his culinary skills to stretch out the meal.

It was a lovely winter’s morning, and from the train we could see traces of snow from a recent snowfall, so all looked well for a good winter walk. The conductor on the train was generous to joint leader Cotton. As having said he would collect the fare for his ticket as he came back up the train as he didn’t have the right change on coming back he said he wasn’t going to charge Cotton and resolutely ignored the barracking from the DPC walkers who had paid for their tickets.

We took slightly the wrong route out of Chinley and had to take a footpath which crossed some quite rough ground before getting back on track for the route towards South Head. As we got high up to the track leading to South Head looking back we could see that Crowther seemed to be struggling in the vanguard on his own below. Johnson, Cotton and Shawcross E dropped back down to see how he was. Whatever it was, Crowther was clearly not going well and Johnson kindly offered to accompany him off the hill and said they would meet us later for tea which they did and Crowther by then seemed fine.

 

Cotton and Shawcross caught up with the others at Edale Cross and here there was a parting of the ways for the leaders. Cotton had always had in mind, if conditions were good, to cross Kinder to Kinder Downfall returning via Crowden to join the route to Hope again - whereas the planned route took the Jacob’s Ladder path to the valley at this point. Pierce conscious of his duties as a leader and preparation of tea, decided to stick to the planned route accompanied by Browne whereas the rest of the group set of for Kinder Downfall.

By now the weather was lovely, bright sunshine under which the patches of recent snow on Kinder gleamed. The good weather had brought out quite a number of walkers on the hill. As we approached Kinder Downfall we could see that there was a good flow of water over it and the brisk wind at the edge was creating a good blow back of the river. After taking lunch near the Downfall we followed the Kinder River up to Kinder Gates and from there we took a bearing to bring us over Kinder to Crowden Tower. Conditions were quite beautiful. Whoever it was who said they were not coming on the walk because it was the same ground on Kinder as the January meet missed some superb walking. In any event the February walk only crossed the January walk at a couple of points, and anyway I don’t think you can ever go on Kinder which is a wonderful unique mountain too often.

There has been a lot of work done on Kinder to stop erosion with the construction of numerous small dams and re grassing so that we found ourselves walking at some points on terrain more like park land than the rough Kinder hags and bogs we are used to. A steep descent below Crowden Tower took us back in to the valley and we re-joined the original route at Upper Booth. We walked down the valley until we climbed once more to Back Tor and Lose Hill before the final descent to the Cheshire Cheese and Hope. By now the younger members at the front had long ago disappeared into the distance and joint leader Cotton at the back was coming off the hill in the gathering gloom and did not arrive back at the hut until after 6.30 pm which allowed his joint leader Pierce to comment quite fairly - thanks for leaving me to do all the work.

Some beer and an excellent tea were enjoyed and rounded off a superb winter’s day on the hills.

For those interested in the statistics the walk was 24.2 km, total ascent 812 m minimum elevation 162m maximum 632m.