Saturday, October, 2011 – 20.3 miles (plus walk back from pub to YH!)
The beginning of the Pennine Way (although we had walked Crowden to Black hill in August and decided that the Pennine Way was a good choice for our next long distance path).
October half-term, staying at the Youth Hostel in Edale. It was a lovely, autumn morning and we left the hostel, walking along the footpath a mile or so to Edale village. The Way itself starts along a shady path next to a stream then crosses fields and farms, heading along the valley. It was slabbed pretty much all of the way, indicative of the heavy use it gets!
We then turned into the hills and headed up Jacob’s ladder, stony steps up a stream onto the heights of Kinder Scout. it was very strange and bleak – almost a moonscape! – dry, sandy with scattered rocks. We were quite surprised that the Way wasn’t especially well waymarked but it wasn’t hard to see that you carried straight on, following the edge.
As we went on and it was more exposed, it got pretty windy. We crossed Kinder Downfall, and got a little bit of spray blowing back up towards us. We reached a crossroads of footpaths but decided to carry on. The final part of the path was flat and slabbed across the peaty moorland, to the Snake Pass road, visible in the distance for quite a way. Happily, you could see it getting closer!
We returned the way we had come. The late afternoon light at the top of Kinder Scout made we wish I could stay longer or come back to take photographs. Good job I didn’t as it was getting closer to dusk by the time we got back to Jacob’s Ladder (having slightly missed the route through a worn rocky part – we thought it didn’t look right and the GPS confirmed it!).
Descended Jacob’s Ladder, slowly and carefully (tired legs by this time) and then headed back to Edale in the growing darkness. We were quite glad of the light stones on the route and used trekking poles just to check where they were stepped. The worst bit was the final part, along the tree lined path into the village, as that was almost pitch black, and we did use our poles like white sticks!
Thankfully to the pub for a hearty dinner, then back to the hostel along the road.