Saturday, 27 July 2013

Approaches To Kinder II: Crowden Clough

My second in this series of posts is easily the most difficult route up I've yet to find. I've not had the chance to explore the northern edges yet but of the major approaches from the south, you won't find harder. 

Starting in Edale you take the path out of the top of the village towards Barber Booth - it involves a slight climb but is basically along the bottom of the valley. Upon reaching Barber Booth, or the farm you come to that makes up part of the village you just continue on to the road, walk along it a short way and just on the far side of the stream - beneath the trees - is a path off up to the right. In summer this can get somewhat overgrown - whilst in winter it could be tricky too due to certain sections slipping into the stream below - but in general it's a very decent path. 

A little further up you soon come across this little gem - it's a bit of a slide/scramble down to it - but well worth it...

And... a little bit further up again, still on the gentle lower section of the walk, you come across a second waterfall - again requiring a bit of a slide down and a bit of a paddle to get the best view. It's always nice to find waterfalls in the Peak though - I come to take them for granted coming from Swaledale, but their rarity in these parts always makes them a little more exciting.

Now from this point, as you'll see, it gets a little bit more interesting. Still a perfectly easy walk, probably no worse than a [1] as long as you're happy to hop across the stream every so often. (You can find the rating system here)

It soon starts to get a bit steeper though - no real heights as such but plenty of rocks to climb over. It's certainly made easier from this point by doing it in the summer - in winter I can imagine it would become quite tricky...

The path comes and goes in sections but on the whole it should be no more than a [2]. However... the gradual increase in difficult continues (as you might expect) as it gets steeper still higher up. On the odd section you may need to use your hands a bit to haul yourself over some of the larger rocks. It's at this point that you get your first proper views of the really hard bit, with the cliffs to the right of the picture looking rather ominous... 

You have a choice around here to take a steep path up to the left that passes between Pym Chair (the rocky outcrop on the left) and the steep 'gorge' on the right. This would avoid the nasty section at the top of the walk, but having had a look at the route from both ends can't say it would be pleasant for those nervous about heights. You'd probably need to be a [3-4] to do it... and it's kind of cheating anyway, what with not being a climb up the clough in it's totality.

The other option, is to continue on to climb the rocks in the photos below...

That is, until you reach this point...

This is where our walk stopped - as you can see it is just a little bit worse than the earlier parts of the walk. Whilst in the photo above it doesn't look much, it is a real scramble/climb and those ledges you see them on are probably only inches to a foot deep - so there's not much room to manoeuvre. There is a very steep alternative climb up to the left, which looks less 'climby' and more 'walky' (can you tell I'm good with words???) but the height would be... honestly... quite horrible. Overall I'd say this section is a [4]. I could do it on my own, but it's not one that if you're nervous about heights you'd be wanting to turn around on to help others. 

So, for us, on this occasion, back down the hill it was. However, on previous walks around the top of Kinder I have had a brief exploration down the stream from the top. Whilst I didn't ever quite reach the point mentioned above - I do know that in general there is nothing worse - only a few ledges to shimmy up. So if you can overcome that last photo, then you'll be fine.

Anyway... the full (return) walk can be found below. The actual plan was to reach the top and go either left to Jacob's Ladder and back down, or right to Grindslow Knoll and straight down into Edale. Both easy enough.

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