The majority of Yompers leave Edale village by way of Grindsbrook. On the 16th December myself, Andy Mac and Pat took the same path at 0712 and headed up the Pennine Way highway. In winter conditions the hillside of Grindslow Knoll is probably the most popular ski-slope in the Peak District. On this day, skiing would have been possible.
Our route lie North-West near the head of Crowden Clough. Black ice was underfoot, our speed was probably a-third of normal pace. We looked for and found 'wool packs' or 'The Mushroom Garden' or 'Whipsnade', depending on what you like to call it and then onto Kinder Low - the highest such pillar of the Southern Pennines. The highest upland here is unmarked, it is incidently the highest top in England south of Fountains Fell (Yorkshire Dales).
On the frozen peaty waste of Kinder Low, we could only see about two meters in front of us. Total whiteout. We made our way slowly to Kinder Downfall, a nick point where the Kinder River pours over a corner of the escarpment near the Great Buttress. We watched the climbers go up the frozen waterfall and considered eating our lunch.
This is where the story ends, but I did take my 35mm camera and documented the day. Of course, we had a few pints when we returned to the car in total-darkness some twelve hours later.
(click on photos to enlarge)
All words and images by Thom Barnett