Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Pennine Way: Off We Go, Day 0 and Day 1

 1st September 2021

John arrives in Edale, having failed to finish packing before he left home

Penrith taxi drivers like a lie in. I found this to my cost (literally and metaphorically) when a few days before the walk was to begin I tried to book a taxi to get me to the station to catch the 6.40am train to Edale. “Sorry mate”, was the constant reply. We don’t start that early. I was finally given the number of the only insomniac driver in the town. “No problem pal,” he told me, “I still have a number of unbooked slots for September. That’s September  2024.  I’m in big demand, see, on account of none of the other drivers around here will get out of bed before 7 or 8 of a morning. And then they do the school run sees.”  

My plans were hastily re-arranged.  New rail tickets were purchased and I headed to Edale the day before I was due to meet Johnboy. I camped the night at Fieldhead Campsite.  I slept badly and in the morning already felt all done in by the time I’d packed up and walked from my pitch to the entrance of the site, by the road up from the station, and sat on the tarmac, slumped against the wall and waited for Johnboy. He arrived within minutes looking very cheerful, swinging a carrier bag full of food and looking horribly, horribly, frighteningly fit.

Looking as innocent as a lamb on the way to the slaughterhouse

Kinder Scout was shrouded in mist. Rain was clearly imminent. Neither had been in the forecast which had been for blue skies and zephyr like breezes. We did the photo stuff outside the Old Nag’s Head. John was happy to do the ‘new’ route up Jacob’s Ladder and on to Kinder Low, but I knew he was really keen to follow the original route of the Way up Grindsbrook Clough and directly over the plateau to Kinder Gates and then to Kinder Downfall and this was mutually agreed.  He sought to reassure me.  “It’s been years since anyone drowned in the bogs up there,” he stated, “and anyway the skulls of long lost hikers poking through the peat provide firm stepping stones in the worst bits”.  At this stage a suspicion came into my mind that John, who has spent much of the last 50 plus years wandering across Pennine bog actually likes the stuff. But surely not? Alarmingly his grin became wider as we headed up towards the plateau.

John smiling in Grindsbrook Clough, happy at the thought that he might soon be up to his knees in Pennine bog 

Looking back down Grindsbrook Clough towards Edale

Am I shrinking? That jacket was a perfect fit when I bought it

We set off. Within 10 minutes we were in full rain gear.  The Clough felt steep but the scenery was fabulozy; the plateau was reached and crossed.  It was far greener than I expected and far less boggy. Yes it was damp in places, but not enough to bother me. It is an obvious success for those who have been involved in restoring what was once, by all accounts, a dreadfully eroded landscape.

Next Sandy Heys, Mill Hill, and then the flagstones to the Snake Pass making for far easier going through the wetness that walkers used to face on their first day which was sufficient to make quite a few give up after just one day. Then the easy climb to the summit of Bleaklow. The sun came out as we descended by Wildboar Grain.  As did masses of weird flying thingies, fortunately of the non-bitey variety. On to Clough Edge above Torside. I had been so tired when I had reached here two years earlier but, today, thanks to the good company and the chat all was well. We arrived, as planned, at the excellent campsite at Crowden and then fatigue did hit me whilst John strode around like someone who had just been on a short afternoon stroll in the park.

Afternoon sunshine at the start of the short climb up to Clough Edge

Looking towards Torside Reservoir. Crowden campsite is on the far right hand side of the reservoir

One day down.  25km walked. 768 metres climbed.  8 hours 5 minutes including stops.



  1. A great start. The coat does look a bit big, maybe you didn’t take your rucksack off when you tried it on. Still it can always be used as an emergency tent.

    1. Good idea, Alan. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Good to see you back inaction

  3. Thanks Ed. I have been back in walking action for a while but not been blogging. You must have missed my reference to you in the gear list I posted on the previous post of the day before this one. If you look at that please don't notice my base weight! :-)

  4. Now I have....such decorum.

    As to the base weight.... I'll know who to borrow stuff from on the next TGO (the real secret to UL backpacking...)

  5. Waddyamean 'the short climb up to Clough Edge'? That's a full-on rock climb requiring, in cooler weather, the use of croutons and bits of string...especially when carrying all that kit!
    Next chapter please!

  6. ....and another thing: how come John's always smiling?

    1. It's what he does. A joy to walk with. Nothing phases him either.