Kinder Scout Plateau is the highest point in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park, rising to 636 metres (2,087ft) above sea level at its highest point. In 1932 Kinder Scout Plateau was historically involved in a change of land accessibility law when the mass trespass occurred on the Edale side of the plateau. After the mass trespass event on the 24th April 1932, the “right to roam” law came about, granting free access on uncultivated land.
Our adventure began at one of my regular haunts in Derbyshire, Snake Pass and Ashop Valley which I’ve previously described in an earlier blog, Wanders around Snake Pass which gives a wider view of the area. Directions to the start of our hike; Follow the a57 Glossop to Sheffield road “Snake Pass road” and parking is near the Snake Inn, the post code to use with a satnav or google map is S33 0BJ
This is a stunning area of natural beauty that just exudes tranquility by the bucket load, with azure blue skies, billowing clouds and just a light breeze, the temptation to head up for a hike to Kinder Scout Plateau could not be resisted. My family and I arrived early enough to have a full day out hiking, our drive along the Snake Pass road was as always a pleasure, scenic views, hills and sheep, the road snaking through the pine trees….just idyllic!
Once we had parked up, booted and packed up plenty of water we were off for a leisurely hike through the Ashop valley. We headed out through the cool fresh pine plantation then in true tradition stopped for a family game of Pooh sticks at a small concrete bridge over the river, in our case it was more like Pooh cones since there are pine cones galore around here. Pooh sticks is a little game invented by Winnie The Pooh, a character created by the author A.A.Milne. The game was first mentioned in the book, “The House at Pooh Corner “where each player takes a stick and throws it into the river on one side of a bridge and the winner is the player who’s stick flows under the bridge fastest. (I didn’t win, if you were wondering!)
After our game of Pooh cones we decided to step up the pace a notch and hike through the lush wonderland that is Ashop valley, after all we still have plenty of distance to cover before the end of the day.
We were following the river Ashop which Max the dog enjoys paddling and lapping from to keep himself cool, but always closely under control so as not to scare the sheep. Our journey snakes through the valley up and down as the track follows the gorgeous natural curves of this 7000 year old land. Heather is abundant here along with moorland grasses and bracken in a rugged open landscape that attracts wildlife like a magnet, and there have even been sightings of wallabies here, most recently up by Fair Brook Naze.
Hidden out of view is an oasis like feature on the moorland track, a dark tea coloured pond, the typical colour of the water up here in the dark peak area. The colour comes from the dark peat that the streams filter through before reaching the rivers and ponds. I personally think this would be a wonderfully relaxing spot to break out the picnic, get out the flask and dip the toes in the refreshing cool water here. But alas we needed to move on after a short stop.
We arrived at the wooden bridge that leads across the river by the side of a ruined stone shooting hut, it all looks so dramatic and almost romantic here, there’s another place to rest and ponder. I get the feeling I could spend an eternity just daydreaming here. But it was Just a pause…..and we were away again!
Up and onwards the trail took us toward a much more rough and dramatic landscape. Peat bogs and gullies are what you need to be kept aware of around here, so I wouldn’t stray from the path, some are more obvious than others. The tufts of heather are more pronounced up here and as for the path, well let’s say it changes with the weather, it’s best to pick your way along. As for the sights up here, well they’re phenomenal, on a good clear day you can see the un-spoilt moors stretching out for miles around and the rocky dark edge of Kinder Scout Plateau was beckoning, taunting us to hike up further.
The stile was ahead and with it the next uphill climb, there’s no easy way of doing this, just dig in and upwards till you reach the top of the gritstone edge. It’s too easy to stop and just admire the fantastic views of the weather beaten gritstone tors and the mass expanse of peat and heather moorland here and hell is that one splendid excuse for a rest! Boy did I use that excuse a lot! “Oh don’t wait for me I’m just stopping to take another photo!” 😉
Kinder Scout Plateau, we had arrived at our destination, the North edge, all I could muster was, “wow!” The photos I’ve shared here hopefully capture the majestic views, the calmness and the feeling of wonder at this natural creation.
The hike was satisfying, a real pleasure even though the last stretch is indeed a leg stretcher and a lung opener and those views are worth every step without a second of a doubt.
Unfortunately the weather began to turn, dark and menacing clouds were forming overhead and bringing with them a chill in the wind, a complete turnaround from the earlier blue skied sunny pleasure. We had to make the decision to ascend back down into the valley.
The kids did us proud, they completed the challenge of this adventure and made it up to the top of the North edge of Kinder Scout. We took a steady stroll back while keeping one eye on the weather.
A magical day filled with fun memories, adventure and a couple of challenges along the way just to keep us on our toes. Kinder Scout Plateau is like some kind of rugged fantasy land that rolls out for miles and can be accessed from Edale, Hayfield or indeed from the North side as we had done. Speaking of fantasy, there is a legend associated with a small pool on top of Kinder Scout of a mermaid who will grant you immortality if you see her at midnight on Easter Eve.
The ground is rough in places and the weather unpredictable but Kinder Scout has the ability to draw hikers back like no other! It certainly has that effect on me!