Reunion: return to Kinder Scout

I spent a few days this week in the Peak District with my old friend Jeff Loffman, a poet and fellow walking enthusiast from Kent.   Its been 30 years since we walked the Pennine Way together, the famous 268 mile trek from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland.  In hindsight we were foolish to walk it in only 14 days - yes, it was pretty exhausting, but more importantly we never had time to linger and enjoy some of the wonderful places you pass through on that journey.  Still, we have lots of great memories - we did a lot of laughing as well as moaning about blisters and pulled muscles, we survived and were both a lot fitter by the time we reached the famous Border Hotel which marks the very end of the Pennine Way.

One of the best memories for me was the very first morning of the walk, setting out from the Youth Hostel in Edale early on a bright sunny morning and crossing the little bridge across the River Noe to make the long, increasingly rugged climb up Grindsbrook Clough to Kinder Scout. Oddly enough, neither Jeff not I ever re-visited Edale after that day - that is, until last year when I watched some Youtube Vlogs by Dean Read, a true enthusiast for the Peak who has the magical ability to infect you with his passion for the place with his videos - I very much recommend them and also his many other communications, all easy to access at www.deanread.net.   Thanks to Dean I started re-visiting Edale and surrounding areas, eg Mam Tor and the Great Ridge, Castleton, Hope etc, and climbed up to Kinder by several different routes.  I got fantastic photo opportunities as well as some great walking.  My friend Jeff is actually a big fan of the Peak District and he and his wife Marion have taken holidays there for many years, but they spend their time in the White Peak mostly, with Tideswell a favourite spot to stay.  Eventually Jeff got fed up of me posting endless shots of the Dark Peak area, especially Kinder, and decided that he wanted to re-visit in person.  So we hatched a plan to put up at the excellent Castle Hotel in Castleton this month and repeat the route up to Kinder as a celebration of the third years since we walked the Pennine Way.

We originally planned to do the Kinder walk on the monday and then the Great Ridge - Castleton to Lose Hill and across the Ridge to Mam Tor - on the tuesday.  However, I planned to film our Kinder walk and the weather on the monday was atrocious, with heavy rain and a howling gale, with not chance of even a selfie when we reached the trig point on Mam Tor.  We both managed to slip and fall in the deep mud, leading to mutual hilarity, with us both lying on our backs and laughing at ourselves - the trouble was that we had no chance to clean our muddy clothes properly overnight so when the tuesday dawned dry and sunny and I was able to film our reunion on and with Kinder, we both make our appearance hardly looking our best!  There was still a howling gale on the higher ground, and Jeff looks pretty buffeted in the final scenes as he reaches the top of Grindsbrook Clough - of course, this helps with the drama!  The Grindsbrook route hasn't been the official start of the Pennine Way since the 1990's, when it was replaced with the Jacob's Ladder start, but it was OUR beginning all those years ago and what a pleasure it was to go back.  I hope you enjoy the movie, Reunion: Return to Kinder Scout...