I love walking in proper winter weather; not the usual winter weather we get in the UK – the drab, miserable, grey, wet and windy stuff that covers the country from October to March, but the rare Alpine winter days that are calm, clear and biting cold. We get so few of these each year that they become much sought after and remain in the memory for a long time when you do get them. Last weekends walk wasn’t one of them unfortunately, although for about 20 minutes I thought it may turn into one.
My good friend and walking companion Chris Pilgrim (@PilgrimChris and www.pilgrimchris.com) and I took a wander up onto Kinder last weekend, hoping to find a high wild camp spot for the night, to commune with the clear winter skies and to experience the first winter camp of the year. The photos below tell the story of the day and the little video below them show off Chris’s creative talents and include some of his photos into the bargain.
The morale of the story is “be prepared”. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Even with what felt like hurricane force winds, zero visibility on the summit, night falling and disappointment dragging at us, we still made some good decisions and made our way safely down the hill to comfort and beer.
A dusting of snow on Kinder as we walk through Edale village
Looking across to the Great Ridge from the Pennine Way path through the Vale of Edale
Helicopter operations taking heather bash onto the Kinder plateau
Its a bit wet down in the valley with lots of water running on the paths
The start of the path up Crowden Clough, just beyond the farm at Upper Booth
Path beside Crowden Brook
The snow comes down quickly as we climb Crowden Clough and Chris adds a layer
Snowing heavily now
Wooden footbridge in the lower section of Crowden Clough
Entering Crowden Clough proper and we get a view of whats ahead
The weather has closed in and the path is ahead is beginning to be hidden by snow fall
Looking for somewhere to cross Crowden Brook as we ascent to Kinder up Crowden Clough
The path up Crowden Clough is great – not great quality, but rugged and steep, great fun tho
Two paths up Crowden Clough, one on each side of the brook, we picked the easier one to follow on the west side
The path up the west side of Crowden Clough is easier to follow and its clear to see as we climb into the cloud
Looking back down Crowden Clough and the sun appears to be coming out!
Chris makes the final steep ascent of Crowden Clough
The path around the edge of Kinder is non-existent under the snow and we make progress as best we can – the deeper peaty bogs are disguised by snow, and we fall foul of a couple
The sun comes out for a while and things begin to look promising – looking back down into the Vale of Edale
Pym Chair, on the edge of Kinder Scout
Sun setting ahead as we circle around Pym Chair and head for a possible camp on the western edge of Kinder
Within 20 minutes of the sun we get a complete white-out on Kinder Low – the snow and hail are horizontal and although we try to get tents up, we soon decide to descend instead
Passing Edale Rocks as we descend from Kinder
The wind and snow make the descent tricky as the path is slick and icy in places
Descending Jacobs Ladder and this takes patience and careful footing – head torches were needed just after this final photo of the day.
Thanks to Chris for creating and sharing the video below – his YouTube channel is here