Day 23 Sun 22-05-2005
Edale to Crowden
I noticed yesterday that the campsite had a lot of young people in it, the little s*ds kept me awake most of the night. Something hit my tent at around 1 a.m. - in the morning I found a beer bottle. Perhaps I should have got up and remonstrated with them - perhaps I would have got a kicking...
I rose after 7, and got everything packed away. No rain, but the weather looked changeable. I planned to walk about 16 miles, doesn't sound much but it involved a total climb of around 911 metres - lots of ups and downs!
I found the path opposite the Old Nags Head, and begin my assault on the Pennine Way. The first real challenge is Jacob's Ladder; a steep climb of steps paved into the hillside. I had to stop every few minutes, and wait for my breathing and heart rate to return to normal. While I was taking one of these essential stops, a young man with an (admittedly tiny) day pack RAN past, upwards towards the top. During the day, I encountered several more runners, the flash devils all looked super fit and made me feel my age.
Eventually, Jacob's Ladder finished, and I walked along the high moorland around Kinder Scout. The weather was overcast, so the scenery wasn't shown at it's magnificent best. Breakfast was a couple of digestive biscuits (which were becoming a staple part of my diet) and a swallow of water.
The names of places I was passing were appropriate: Black Moor, Snake Pass, Bleaklow, Old Woman (?), Coldharbour Moor. Doubtless the people responsible had experienced these places in all weathers and seasons. Good luck to them, it was chilly enough in late May!
I missed the path a couple of times. Once, I wandered around the deep paths eroded into the peat, and another time found myself right in the valley of Torside Clough (a stream), instead of on the path overlooking it. It was quite a scramble to get back on track, but all good fun.
I descended towards Crowden, where I intended to camp for the night. As I looked out over Torside reservoir below, the rain started, but never really got going. I reached the site just before 6 p.m. The owner was very welcoming, he boiled some water for me to make a Pot Noodle, sold me a couple of cans of beer, and was happy to chat for a while. I noticed a couple of other tents, and nodded to their owners. One camper was cooking a meal on a camping stove in the shelter of his tent's awning. I was envious, but wasn't prepared to carry the extra weight. Looking back, I think this was one of the best sites I stayed in on my whole walk.
Back in my tent I reflected upon the day. I had survived the beginning of "probably the finest and certainly the most challenging upland trail in the UK" (according to McCloy), on four digestives and a little water. The country was wild and exciting, and I had now camped two nights in a row! My legs and feet, which had given me some cause for concern, felt great! Maybe it was the variety of terrain, but from this point on I never had any cause for concern from my lower limbs. And so to sleep - as the rain started.
The Camping and Caravanning Club Site