10 September 2012


Kinder Moonscape
Thinking back to my post about Kinder Scout, those photos of The Wool Packs natural sculpture park don't really give a true impression of what the Kinder Plateau is really like. At its heart there are around ten square miles of what I can only describe as a moonscape of peaty hillocks and channels that can be an absolute nightmare to walk across.

Last Thursday, after several dry and sunny days the peat bogs were not as treacherously porridge-like as they can be and the visibilty was excellent. It would be so easy to get lost on Kinder and people have died there floundering around in wintry fogs. I made my way over the "haggs" and across the "groughs" towards the tiny cairn of grey-white stones at Crowden Head. The ancient peat mostly held my weight but at one point my left foot went deep into the black stew - right up to my knee. I was stuck but fortunately  close to the dry edge of a vegetated hillock. I wiggled my foot and hauled myself out - glad that I'd tied my boots on tightly. There was nobody else in sight. Walkers tend to stick to the edge of this huge porridge bowl - created around nine thousand years ago - during the Boreal period - when the plateau was apparently forested.

Like "The Creature from The Bog" I yomped westwards until I met a better defined stream bed that later becomes the Kinder River. I sat by another cairn and ate my banana, washed down with a small bottle of water before heading for Kinder Downfall. This is where the little river tumbles over the plateau's exposed edge. I had heard that sometimes you can see the stream water being blown back as wind surges up the V-shaped "clough" or river valley and indeed when I got there, although there wasn't much water running off, it was certainly being blown back in a fine spray as you can see from the last photograph.
Crowden Head
Go west young man
Perfect place for a picnic
Helicopter bringing up gravel for moorland conservation works
Kinder Downfall with stream water being blown back up the
rocks - like an upside down waterfall.


  1. It is hard to imagine someone dying in the wilds on such a small and over populated island but that place must be murder to a lost traveller in winter!

  2. I have decided to read your hiking posts as fiction -- short stories you have invented out of whole cloth and put with photographs you found in National Geographic to entertain your readers. No one, not even in England, hikes that much and no trace of any Industrial Revolution having occurred is ever seen in any of your adventures.

    They are, like the mythical island of Blogland, a figment of your overwrought imagination.

    Now that I've uncovered your dirty little secret, I seriously doubt that you have ever been to Thailand, Singapore, Chile, Easter Island, or Polynesia.

    You sly armchair traveler, you.

    Had you going there for a minute, didn't I?

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  4. I must say you're a more energetic photographer than I am. My legs were aching after just climbing the bell tower at Mottram this weekend!

    You set me thinking about the origin of the name as Kinder is a surname you come across now and then in these parts. According to Wikipedia it comes from the Norse kindeskaut meaning 'water over the edge' which is presumably the waterfall.

  5. Seeing as you often get non-Yorkshire folk (poor sods) visiting the blog, maybe we should point out that "kinder" is pronounced with an "i" as in cinder, and not an "i" as in "more kind/friendly", if I make myself clear!
    I once went on a camping week at Edale with school friends which lasted one night, due to the foot of snow outside the tent, sheep trying to enter, and a failure to get served at the local pub.

  6. HIPPO It is astonishing that bits of real wilderness lie so close to both Manchester and Sheffield but we never see any wild warthogs or even hippos wallowing in the mountain streams.
    RHYMES WITH... Your accusation is so hurtful that I have contacted my solicitor - a large black gentleman called Rufus who represents Yorkshire in caber tossing events at Highland games meets in Scotland. Co-incidentally, he will be holidaying in Georgia USA this autumn and you can expect a late night house call. Blogland was not mythical nor was it a figment of my imagination - see the pictures that accompanied my various accounts! The camera never lies.
    SHOOTING PARROTS Thank you for the extra linguistic research. Your theory seems most plausible.
    BRIAN The sheep were probably aroused by your testosterone scent.

  7. It was hard to gauge the scale of the first image, but I think I've worked it out from the others. What odd places peaty landscapes are! I could never get used to wetness on the TOPS of hills, despite one memorable night camping on a wet boggy hill above Mallaig.

    The last pic is absolutely amazing.

  8. KATHERINE In the middle of the bog I saw a single "New Balance" trainer on a peaty hillock. I guess if I had photographed that it might have given a better sense of scale. See Brian's comment. Did a sheep try to get in your tent at Mallaig? It could have been Brian...

  9. it wasn't one of my "new balance" trainers I can assure you, they're both here beside me on the floor..... the trainers are on the floor and I'm not.

    We have helicopters flying over our local moorland like that but they're not delivering gravel, they're "heather bombing" which involves the dropping of copious amounts of heather cuttings onto the moorland in the hope that it seeds and grows and provides necessary ground protection to hold everything together in order to stop the increasing levels of erosion!! FACT!

  10. ARCTIC FOX Yes. That happens on Kinder Scout too. They're doing all they can to prevent erosion and denudation of the peat blanket. I think the helicopter belongs to King Canute Enterprises!

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