From time to time a book arrives and it is a perfect combination of things I like to do.
The book this time was ‘Wild Pub Walks’, published by CAMRA. For me, that’s a perfect match.
A damn good walk followed by a pint or two of the local ale. This is the first of the Peak District walking routes we followed.
Having just completed the ‘Dark Peak Challenge’ the weekend before, it was a good time to return with Penny (my wife) to try out one of the walks in the book.
The book contains 22 more challenging or interesting walks than the usual thing you find around your ‘Local’. The routes vary from a handful of miles to more demanding walks into mountains and hills which will build up a thirst for that beer at the end of the hike.
We picked a walk from Hayfield over a high point in the Peak District, Kinder Scout. The route is about 10-miles long and has enough ‘elevation’ in it to make your lungs wonder what the hell you are doing to yourself. The author of ‘Wild Pub Walks’, Daniel Nielson, says the walk should take between 4 and 6 hours.
Kinder Scout from Hayfield GPX file
Starting out from Hayfield
Hayfield is a sweet town on the north-west corner of the Peak District, and not far from Manchester. Penny and I drove there from Lincolnshire in about two hours, passing Sheffield and through Glossop. We parked on a street not far from The Royal Hotel, one of the pubs recommended in the book.
The start of the route follows the southern side of the River Kinder along a side road, past a camping and caravan site (good if you want to stay over the weekend) and up towards the Kinder Reservoir.
You’re in a deep, wooded valley for the most part until you climb past the reservoir when the views open up. Ahead, you can see what you have to ascend, namely Kinder Scout. It’s a fine view on a clear day (which it was when we walked there).
Up William Clough
Above: This is the ford as you enter William Clough. I filmed Penny because the tradition is that she falls in at these points on our walks. Did she fall in this time?
Onto Kinder Scout
The main attraction on this part of the walk is the waterfall called Kinder Downfall. It marks the point where you turn south-west on the route, and it’s a popular spot. The waterfall was not in full flow, so it was unimpressive from that perspective.
Nevertheless, it’s a pretty spot and many walkers stop there to rest, have lunch or just sit there in couples for a romantic moment (as long as it’s not pissing down with rain, I expect!). A kind woman, who had her shoes off to dip into the icy water, offered to take our picture. We pushed on.
Towards Kinder Low
Since joining the route at the top of William Clough, you’ve been on the Pennine Way. And, you continue along the Way towards Kinder Low, following the ridge line, until you reach the triangulation (trig) point.
It’s an easy walk along the undulating pathway towards Kinder Low with super views to your right. To your left, there’s the open moorland of Kinder Scout, the far side of which overlooks the picturesque Edale Valley.
Kinder Low is glorious spot in the right weather. Fortunately for us, the weather bright, sunny and with a gentle breeze to keep us cool that day. The trig point sits on a weather-beaten rock with other, similar rocks nearby. From here, you have magnificent views over the Peak District. It’s worth the walk just to get to this point for the views.
Edale Rocks and Swine’s Back
We passed Edale Rocks and around the side of a rise called ‘Swine’s Back’. It’s not an official footpath, more like a shortcut along an old wall. It was tricky and narrow. From there, you drop back onto a footpath at ‘Edale Cross’ which leads steadily down into a reentrant leading to Oaken Clough.
Here, we saw three mountain bikers flogging their way up the rocky track. One of them had a look of pain on her face and spent significant time pushing rather than riding her bike. Everyone to their own, I guess!
Fairly soon, we were into pastures and heading north-west to Tunstead Clough Farm and down into the valley which leads towards the camping and caravan site we passed on the way out. The views of the landscape across the other side of the valley are stunning. It’s steep drop into the valley of the River Sett, and tough on weary knees.
Back into Hayfield
The walk back into Hayfield is gentle and a marked contrast to the wild openness on Kinder Scout. We got back to our car, changed out of our walking boots and headed to The Royal Hotel for some refreshments!
Was is it a ‘Wild Pub Walk’?
The book promised ‘Wild Pub Walks’ and it lived up to its name, certainly for this walk from Hayfield onto Kinder Scout. It’s not far from civilisation onto the wild moorland and it’s well worth it.
The walk is challenging yet fun, wild but not overwhelming. We completed it in about 5.5 hours (including a 25 minute lunch stop) and felt as though we’d had a good walk without being shattered. We will certainly be using the book again to do some more wild walks.
You can 'Wild Pub Walks' on Amazon for around £12