"A Walk on the Moors" - John's Pennine Way Ramble, Day 1 - July 1st 2000, Edale to Crowden
|Day||Date||Start||Finish||Approx. Miles||Hours Taken||Accommodation|
|1||Sat. 1st July||Edale||Crowden||16||7.25||YHA - Peak National Park Hostel, SK14 7HZ Tel. 01457 852135|
Click on any picture to go to a larger version. to go to the full set of Pennine Way photographs for this day.
I left Bolton by train heading for Edale, complete with what seemed to be a ridiculously enormous pack and arrived at my destination at around 10 am. First problem - where's the starting line! My navigation skills were to become legendary during the walk but I eventually reached the Nag's Head pub and persuaded a bemused passer by to take a photograph of me pointing bravely northwards.
At 10:32 I took my first step on the Pennine Way and after a brief emotional moment I started on my way. The first climb beside a stream was easy and although the day was dull and overcast, nothing could blunt my spirits.
Soon I'd reached Jacob's Ladder, a seemingly vertical climb up stone steps and by halfway up I was totally knackered! The weather became worse as I climbed and as I started towards the top of Kinder Scout (638m) visibility was down to about 20 metres.
I met a couple of what appeared to be older walkers seemingly on their way down, badly dressed in shorts, shirts and trainers, unlike me with full waterproofs, gaiters, tough new leather boots and enough provisions to take me to the North Pole!
The couple turned out to be Harry and Elaine Russell who became my companions for the whole of the walk and firm friends. They were NOT lost but only unsure of the best route to take (a tale I was to hear several times during the coming weeks)!
A quick look at my OS map and, lining it up with Harry's compass, we set off in dreadful visibility over and into peat bogs, across rocks and heading either for the correct path or a sheer drop to our deaths. The path came first!
It turned out that Harry and Elaine, veteran walkers of many of the UK's long distance paths, were doing "The Way" for their third time. They therefore seemed good company to latch onto and that's what I did. Harry seems to navigate by sense of smell, a bit like Tommy, the Pinball Wizard.
We found our way across enormous stretches of dark brown and black peat to Kinder Downfall, although there was hardly any water in the stream and therefore little to see of this spectacular waterfall, especially in such poor visibility. The Way became rocky and more difficult until Mill Hill where I'd taken a wrong turning and ended up at the Snake Pass Inn on a practice walk a couple of weeks before. This time I took the correct path to the A57 (Snake Pass) but heard later that George and Mark (the "Taxi Boys") and the three Dutch "Pub Walkers" also made the same mistake as me and had to take a long walk back up the A57 to get back onto the Way.
Here the Way is paved all the way to the A57 to prevent erosion and walkers disappearing into the peaty morass but the going is very hard on the feet. I crossed the main road and headed up over Bleaklow Head (628m), the path going through enormous peat gullies, two to three metres high on each side.
I met Harry and Elaine, again uncertain of the best direction to take. With the help of my map and Harry's nose we made it over Bleaklow, still in dreadful visibility, and the long descent towards Crowden. This last stage, down to Torside Reservoir, was agonising and my feet and knees were protesting quite painfully. We finally crossed the A628 (Woodhead Pass) and, with a short walk through midge infested woods, reached our day's destination, the Crowden Youth Hostel.
This was my first ever stay in a Youth Hostel (at the age of 51!) and I was greatly impressed. The shower was hot, the room which I shared with another Way walker was clean and comfortable and the food excellent.
I cleaned my boots, washed my socks, phoned Noelene and was asleep by 9:30 pm, not to wake until 7:30 am the next day!
My impression was that Day 1 of the Pennine Way, especially in poor weather such as I had, is a hard introduction to this long distance path and it's easy to see why inexperienced or badly prepared walkers give up at this early stage. I felt tired but exhilarated with thoughts of many more days to come.
Thick vegetable soup
to go to Day 2, to go back to the itinerary or to return to the starting page.