The three Peak District Nuttalls lie some distance from the main groups of other 2000-foot mountains in England and along with Dartmoor and the Cheviot hills I’ve regarded them somewhat as “outliers”. I had already ticked the two Bleaklow summits so a walk up Kinder Scout would complete the group.
Kinder Scout is also a TRAIL 100 summit and it would be my 51st tick, marking the start of the second half of this geographically diverse list of mountains. But the remainder are mostly Scottish summits and the logistics to complete the list are going to have a significant influence on how I approach ticking the 49 outstanding summits.
I had never really looked forward to climbing Kinder Scout with discouragement due to the many tales of interminable bogs on the plateau. I swore that I would only do it in the winter when the ground had frozen or after a significant dry spell. But the first couple of weeks of September had been highlighted by the weathermen as particularly dry and with a forecast of light winds, sunshine and only a tiny chance of rain I decided that a quick excursion could be made to bag it.
I parked at the Bowden Bridge car park, underneath a plaque commemorating the Kinder Trespass in 1932 and set off on a relaxed stroll to gain the open moorland at Kinderlow End. At the Edale Cross I left the main path and headed towards to plateau.
|Bowden Bridge car park - memorial plaque|
The trig point soon came into view and then the hunt was on for the true summit. I’m sure that many assume that the trig pillar is the highpoint but a comprehensive survey in 2009 found a number of points in contention for the honour and managed to narrow it down. I headed northeast to a point marked with some embedded rocks. Although not the summit, it will become so if there is a change of terrain, not unlikely in this peaty expanse.
|Kinder Scout trig point|
Further northeast is a cairn with poles placed in it, and this has become known by many as the true summit – but it isn’t ! The actual high point is a peat hag 35 metres further on. The hag is about a foot high, and measures about 4 feet by 2 feet. If it ever erodes down to its base, the previous point marked by stones will become the summit of Kinder Scout.
|false summit cairn - summit hag in the background!|
|the true summit|
In mist, the plateau is a place to avoid and only exceptional navigation or a GPS would locate the true summit. Also, the top is surrounded by many bogs, which were luckily fairly dry for me – I’d picked a very good day to tick this hill !
After visiting all of the points that are candidates for the summit, I headed due west to pick up the path skirting the edge of the plateau. Walking north took me past some good viewpoints for the Mermaid’s Pool and eventually I stopped for lunch at a point overlooking the famous downfall. Kinder Downfall is well known for its water travelling uphill in high winds, but today’s trickle wasn’t impaired by any such weather.
I came away from Kinder with an better opinion of it than I had before. It’s a better “mountain” than Bleaklow and the views along its edge make it a good objective for those seeking a summit that is not too challenging. But despite that, I think that I’ll only come back to climb a frozen Kinder Downfall which has been an ambition for a few years. There are bigger and better hills on my list that now need my attention !