A Walk up Kinder Scout

A Walk up Kinder Scout

I have a confession, the reason for this will become clear later on, but the fact is I can’t use a compass. I was taught once, when I did my Duke of Edinburgh bronze award (unsurprisingly I never got any further) but I just used to make the boys in my group do all the hard work.  I like to think I can read a map, after all we’ve been all over the country and I usually know more or less where we are and I haven’t yet had to resort to a satnav.  The truth is I just navigate via landmarks.  It’s usually fine. But when faced with a featureless plateau, it’s not quite so easy.

Anyway, I digress, so back to our walk. After a bloody freezing night under canvas, we awoke to  glorious blue skies and a cool breeze. Perfect walking weather!

We joined the Pennine Way and headed towards Jacob’s Ladder.  Both Luke and I have neglected the gym lately and there was much panting as we headed up the steep path. Luckily, lurking somewhere underneath was a decent level of general fitness that got us through quite admirably.


Heading up the Pennine Way

We followed the path north, heading towards Kinder Downfall. The scenery was spectacular, better than either of us had imagined. It was also easy to navigate as we were following such a well-trodden path.  We stopped along the way for a well-earned lunch break overlooking Kinder Reservoir looking pristine under the blue sky.


Looking back towards Kinder Downfall

I was feeling quite smug as I knew exactly where we were, and where we needed to go. Plus we were surrounded by beautiful landscapes and perfect weather. In fact, at this point we both agreed it was one of our favourite walks. As we reached Kinder Downfall, we veered off the Pennine Way and followed the footpath. My intention was to head south across the plateau and then east to Grindsbrook Booth. It didn’t quite work out like that. At first I was reassured by the fact that we seemed to be following lots of footprints, I later realised that was no indication at all that we were on the right path.


Kinder Plateau

This innocuous looking landscape was not all it seemed (photo above) I suppose I should have done some research, but I had no idea about the death bogs (as we now affectionately refer to them). It was quite a shock to find our way barred by marshy, shoe-stealing bogs and crevices that threatened to stop me in my tracks. I will admit that faced with a particularly big jump I had a panicky moment. It didn’t help seeing a 6’3 Luke stuck in mud up to his knees. I felt better that we weren’t the only fools meandering about in the muck and filth. This is where it would’ve helped to be able to read a compass. I got so disorientated traversing the bogs that I had no idea at all which direction we were going or even where we were on the map. It was a truly unsettling feeling.

Eventually, more by luck than judgement, we saw lots of walkers over to our left and what looked like a main path. I hazarded a guess that due to the volume of people it must be the main path back to Edale. We headed over but I was left with a lingering doubt. What if I was totally wrong? We could be anywhere.  With panic creeping in I asked a passer-by and was reassured to discover that we were heading in the right direction. Not quite along the route I intended but we weren’t lost.

Needless to say, I’ve learnt my lesson and things are going to change. I have booked us both on to a navigation workshop so this should never happen again.



  • Hannah Hannah February 28, at 08:22

    I’ve never been up on Kinder but it looks lovely (despite all the bogs) from your pics. It’s a pretty scary feeling not being able to read a compass and a truly great one when you can navigate your way out of trouble with one!

  • Helena Helena March 02, at 10:41

    I like to think I’ve got a great in built navigational system but it’s always good to learn and do a course if the opportunity arises. #OutdoorBloggers

  • Annette, Four Acorns Annette, Four Acorns March 02, at 18:06

    Like you I am pretty good with navigation and maps, but not so much with a compass – my husband fills in for me when the need arises!
    Kinder looks truly stunning. I have to visit Scotland one day. x


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