Kinder Scout in 1983

Edale Skyline, 9/8/83

Route: “Edale Skyline”: Edale – Grindsbrook – Kinder Downfall – Edale Cross – Brown Knoll – Rushup Edge – Mam Tor – Hollins Cross – Edale (11.5 miles/8hrs). Party: Myself, R.C.E Ball, C. Richardson, M. Briggs 

Up on the train: a HST from Derby to Sheffield then a class 101 DMU to Edale. We noted with pleasure for later that the Ramblers Inn served Theakstons. On up Grindsbrook which was fairly easy though one member of the party was slower. Kinder was bone dry and very brown. Across to the Downfall was no problem at all. The Kinder river was dry; the Downfall was not even damp. We had a nice lunch there with some bouldering practice. Then, onto Kinder Low, Brown Knoll and Rushup Edge. A first-class and [then] little-trod walk across beautiful moorland. [I think this was the time when Rich Ball mentioned the concept of the “sun-soaked corner” – as in find me a “sun-soaked corner” for lunch…] 

Visibility not so great with high summer haze. On to Mam Tor where we saw that for purposes of erosion control, the authorities [or the National Trust] were installing stone stairs from the summit of Winnats up to the top of Mam Tor.  We saw hang gliders. There was a disagreement between Ball and I regarding whether or not we had time for Lose Hill as well. I argued not – and prevailed. We descended to Edale from Hollins Cross.  We rounded off an excellent on the hill with a pint and a pub snack in the Ramblers Inn. A steak sandwich, with chips, and an apple pie, with a pint, was £1.70. We had a few games of darts before joining the 19:33 to Sheffield – a Derby-built DMU.  Mitchell lost his train ticket, making it an expensive day out for him: 

Original return ticket Derby to Edale: £5.50, Single Edale to Sheffield: £1.50, Single Sheffield to Derby: £3.50 

We all chipped in though with a few quid each to cover his loss. Subsequent door-to-door service from Derby station to home, in M’s dad’s Triumph PI Automatic.  I though, had a young person’s railcard, so the train travel cost me only £2.50. 

24/9/83 The 1983 Kinder Walk

Route: The “Kinder Walk” of 1983: Chapel-en-le-Frith Scout hut – Chinley – Throstle Bank – Hayfield – Williams Clough – Ashop Head – Pennine Way to Kinder Downfall – Kinder Low – Edale Cross – Jacobs Ladder – Barber Booth – Chapel Gate – Rushup Edge – Sparrowpit – Dove Holes – Chapel-en-le-Frith Scout hut. 22+ miles, 7 hr 59’ (placed 10th out of 40 teams) Party: Myself, A. Mackervoy, the Burns brothers 

A fast start to the race after a good night’s kip on the floor at Chapel, following the chaos of everyone forgetting various bits of kit. We were fast to the first checkpoint at Throstle Bank, jogging some of the way. Thence across a mist-shrouded moor, with a party behind us that could not catch us up. A quick descent to Hayfield, still running, still smooth progress. Once in Williams Clough, however, the pace slackened and one team got past us. Williams Clough took it out of me – I was dizzy, un-coordinated and slightly exposed by the time we reached Ashop Head. A couple of minutes lying down and some chocolate soon put that right, and then we were up into the clouds onto Kinder. Our time was still good. After what seemed an interminable tramp through the mists and ripping winds across Kinder, we reached the Downfall, which was running higher than I’d ever seen it before – not that we could see it – I was judging by the roar made by the waterfall.

We walked and walked ever southwards, but being forced to the east by a stiff westerly  gale. It was balaclava weather. We were relieved to arrive at Edale Cross. It became apparent that we had lost time, but we could not move much faster. At that point it was already clear that my feet were damaged.  

Jacob’s Ladder is strongly downstairs and that was painful – very painful. Along the valley with team #41 ahead of us, through Upper Booth and past the Derby Mountain Rescue Team bus, where we saw Andy Leonard acting as radio man. We got to the Barber Booth checkpoint at a road bridge under the Hope Valley line, just in time to see team #41 clambering into a car, obviously having dropped out. Good! 

At Barber Booth we learned that six Viking Venture Unit teams and one mixed team had already passed ahead of us – making us EIGHTH. This tremendous news was an amazing tonic, a remarkable shot-in-the-arm. We allowed ourselves a very long rest, perhaps seven or eight minutes. [The mixed team was from Spartan/Phoenix VSU’s]

The next bit up to Chapel Gate we did in a slight spray of rain, and only when descending to the A625 Rushup Edge road did we notice two teams rapidly overhauling us. The first team, an efficient-looking mixed outfit, was team #20, and they remained eighth, just a few hundred yards in front of us, for several miles, before pulling away for a strong finish. The second team, #6, were about fifteen minutes behind us in time, so we could let them about a mile in front of us before worrying.  

All along the main road into Dove Holes we struggled, and coming into Dove Holes, team #6 left us behind. We arrived at the last checkpoint in tenth place, a position we retained over the last couple of miles of road over the hill into Chapel. A great walk but owing to the fit and condition of my boots, damaging to my feet. [four days after the event both heels were still raw burns; I lost all ten toe-nails and I was limping for weeks including when I started university a bit over two weeks later; indeed there is some evidence that this one walk inflicted permanent damage to the skin on my heels. It is literally true to say that “they have never been the same since”.]