Kinder Edges

Weather….dry and initially clear ,thick mist by mid afternoon . Cool but no wind. Patches of snow but becoming progressively deeper at higher levels. Drifts of up to 5 ft in most places.
22 Walkers.

Given the recent weather I was doubtful whether a full circumnavigation of Kinder edges was going to be possible on the day. The planned walk was going to be 20miles and involved no tarmac(and very little even ground).After Val had reported deep drifts in the Pennines earlier in the week, I had several contingencies if things got tough.
I was pleasantly surprised when at the car park we had a total of 22 walkers all keen to trample the frozen wastelands of the Northern Edges of Kinder. We set off up our first Mini Hill to the Trig point at ‘Harry Hut’. Conditions underfoot were OK but there were a couple of deep patches of snow obvious sign of what was to come.We regrouped at the trig point but I realised that a group of this size was going to be somewhat strung out…therefore I asked/pressed ganged John to act as back marker. From here it was an easy romp over to Mill Hill (with the snow becoming deeper and deeper)where we were greeted by the first sight of our goal..The mighty Kinder complete with a covering of snow and ice….Between it though was a hundred foot of 50 degree climbing up a snow slope….nearing the top it was necessary to ‘step kick’ if you were not following someone else foot steps….quite exciting stuff.
Once the plateau was gained we headed out east, cross country to pick up the path across the Northern Edges.This is the quietest side of Kinder and the path is not obvious at best of times.The snow was now deep in most places therefore we had no real path to follow. It appeared that only a handful of people had been this way in recent weeks so progress over this terrain was not overly rapid…but we soon reached Fairbrook Naze….our first break destination.This was one of my ‘cut off points’..but as we were on schedule,I decided to press on.The next few miles across Seal edges was becoming harder and more difficult under foot.I knew the path on the Southern edges of Kinder was more defined as it sees more ‘traffic’ so I decided to cut out the far eastern side of Kinder and cut across country to the south side. As we crested the plateau,we were greeted by a fantastic vista of the whole of the snow cloaked Great Edge from Rushup edge in the West to Lose Hill in the east.
I had stated earlier in the walk that there would be less snow on this side of the hill…WRONG!!…It was considerably deeper….but a well worn groove had been trampled and this made progress easier.
We decided to take lunch here..just as it started raining and a weak weather front came drifting in from the west..bringing with it mist.Once fed and watered,we carried on around the southern edge via Grindsbrook head and Crowden Brook.
It was here that the group broke into two. I was concerned that given the poor visibility we would loose people off the back…so I suggested that Neil led the faster group over to Kinder Downfall and I would continue with the other group.this was agreed and we carried on.
When our group reached the ‘Noe Stool’I decided rather than loose a bit of height we should walk on a bearing(visibility still bad) for a few hundred yards to pick up the Western Edge. Soon we picked this up and were tramping along knowing this was the final leg.Not long before the downfall,I did a head count of my group…only to find I had more than the six in our group… 22 heads,I realised that my little bit of cross country had infact cut in front of the fast group…and we were soon all together again.
The Downfall was soon reached and our final break of the day was had here.The banter was lighthearted…and the thought that we were nearly back(well almost) lifted everyones spirits.My only concern was I wanted to be down off the snow slope we climbed earlier before it went dark….No need to worry though as we soon reached this point and everyone was down safely.
We retraced our steps for ½ mile and then continued over Burnt Hill for our final descent to the A624 and back to the car….just as daylight failed.

Everyone appeared to have enjoyed this tough day out on Kinder. It was a shame that the mist obscured the views during the second part of the day.
Thanks to everyone who attended.

17.2 miles….and despite my announcement of “only two hills” impressive 3030ft of climbing.
8 ½ hours.

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