Sunday, 9 March 2014

#55 Kinder Low to Mam Tor

16.28 Miles
1048 Metres Ascent

“I want to go for a walk”
“Ok, could do Barton Hills?”
“I want something hard work”
“Peaks are nearest, but its 3 hours away?”
“I’ll drive”
“Really?  Ok I have a 13.5 miler in mind”

So the day was planned.  James volunteered to drive and I came up with something a decent length with a healthy amount of up’s.   I guessed about 5 and a half hours of walking, which is a decent amount for us.

As usual James was late, but the drive up was pretty painless.  The heavy rain seemed ominous but I had faith in the weather forecast, that the rain would clear but strong winds (30mph gusts) would remain.  We parked for free outside the Nags Head and set off along the Pennine Way.

The climb up Jacobs ladder was hard work, as expected, but I felt a lot better and took a lot less breathers than in the past.  In fact by my standards we positively sailed up!  We decided to make a small detour up to Kinder Low and were rewarded by great views across Manchester.  The cloud had risen and apart from the wind, it was great walking weather.

We headed down Oaken Clough, where the path had partly been ‘repaired’.  This was quite frankly the worst walking surface of the day.  Uncompacted loose stone just isn’t nice to walk on, especially with the size of the stone.  The unrepaired section, whist rough, was much nicer.

After a quick sandwich stop on the bridleway up from Coldwell Clough, the climbing returned.  Nothing as steep as Jacobs ladder, but a few thigh burners none the less.   The Pennine Bridle way was a good track, as expected and meant we could get some miles in at a decent pace.
From the Pennine bridle way we linked up with the path up and along Rushup Edge.  A longer but steady climb was rewarded by some great views across the valley.  The wind had picked up a bit and was strong enough to knock you about a little. 
The original plan had us heading down and back to Edale before Mam Tor, however we couldn't walk all this way and not do one last hill?  For some reason I have always struggled with the steps up Mam Tor, and usually need a few breathers.  With the wind at our backs I did it in 3!
A group on the way down warned us that it was gale force winds on the top and we would have to crawl!  We managed to walk it, but it was by far the strongest wind I have ever walked in.  Both of us are on the wrong side of 18 stone, and despite this we were still blown about and ended up hugging the trig point.  Ollie Bobs (the dog) was on the lead as James was worried he would blow away!
We dropped down to Hollins cross and took the bridlepath back to Edale.  The walk was longer (by 2.5 miles) than planned but was well worth the effort, even if I am now a little achy! 

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