Camping at Cooper's Campsite, Edale
Edale at the start of the Pennine way
After breakfast,I began packing up and was soon ready for the start of a walk that I had been planning in my head for the best part of a year. I made my way out to the road without seeing a soul and took a 'selfie' of me in front of the first Pennine Way signpost opposite the Old Nag's Head, where I had spent a pleasant, if solitary evening the day before. There was no-one there to wave me off, so I opened the gate to the start of the path and started my adventure. Although the weather was fine with only a few puffs of cloud scudding across the sky, there was a cold blustery wind blowing and as I followed the flagstones through the sheep, I debated if I should put on my fleece jacket as I felt quite chilly in my T shirt but I decided to wait and see if the walking would warm me up. The first section was memorable for the ease of walking through the fields on the flagstoned path but more so for the stunning views of the Vale of Edale, which opened up slowly as I gently climbed. These flagstones proved to be a blessing as much of the original start of the Pennine Way had passed through peat bogs causing many to abandon the walk after the first day. Now the start of the walk takes an easier route and much of the boggier sections are paved in this way. I passed through the tiny settlement of Upper Booth and followed a lane above a river to the stone bridge that signalled the start of the first climb on the walk known as Jacob's Ladder.
Bridge at the start of Jacob's Ladder
I was using the 'Trailblazer' guidebook, which utilises an unusual method of describing the route. This comprises 135 hand drawn maps, maps drawn by walkers, with all of the route directions written on the map instead of a separate block of text, thus avoiding the necessity of trying to locate your place in the text while switching between it and the map. Once I got used to using the book, I loved it, which is just as well because I had decided to carry no other maps. Much as I love using OS maps, on a walk of this length, the bulk and weight involved in carrying so many made them non-viable. I had therefore decided that the guidebook had enough detail, coupled with the signposting of what is after all a National Trail to negate the need of carrying a library of maps around. As a back-up, I had stored the whole route on my Garmin GPS which I had downloaded from the Trailblazer website. In the event, I only switched the GPS on once on the last day to help me locate the way out of a grassy meadow, although things may have been different had I encountered bad weather with reduced visibility. As it turned out, despite the forecast threatening rain for most of the trip, I walked in fantastic weather for the whole of my walk on the Pennine Way. From Kinder Low, I easily located the path around the edge of Kinder Scout and stopped for a chat with a walker out doing the 8 mile circuit from Hayfield. I remembered this walk vividly as it had been the first serious hillwalk I had ever done many years earlier with my wife. I well remember climbing up William Clough and feeling like an imposter as I greeted other walkers that passed us, worried that they would start asking questions and discover my inexperience.
Kinder Reservoir from Kinder Scout