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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Kinder Scout

Monday 17th October 2016 

My final summit of the 175 English Marilyns

A fitting end to this campaign (but not to climbing further Ms I hope).

A fitting end because Kinder Scout has one of the frustrating characteristics of many of the summits on this invented list - it is almost indeterminate. The trig point is an obvious focal point which many would be satisfied to claim, but over half a kilometre to the north-west there is ground three metres higher and it must be visited.

After a non-stop power walk (by my standards) from Barber Booth car park via Jacob's Ladder, a now well engineered steep climb, I gained the trig point. The hard walking I am sorry to say was not laudable, it was promoted by a shameful macho demonstration to myself. I had stopped at one point to chat to a guy who was just descending from two nights backpacking over Crowden and Kinder Downfall, and shortly afterwards I saw there was somebody catching me up from behind. I was determined not to let him come past me, and being guilty of one of the deadly sins I was proud that he dropped further and further behind.

The trek to the high point was across rough, tussocky, rocky, boggy ground until I eventually found a small cairn, but this was not located exactly at the spot height of 636m, nor was the OS grid reference given on Hill Bagging's website, which also locates itself on a footpath marked on the map - that path is fifty yards or so to the north. I spent much time stumbling about over tussocks, without the aid of my poles to counteract my aged lack of balance, the poles were tucked under one arm as I held the compass and GPS map on the iPhone in my hands. For several minutes I had a sort of Rum Doodle episode, mistaking north-east for north-west, what a fool! There is no way that I could visually identify the highest point amongst thousands of grassy hummocks and tussocks, but eventually I had the GPS red circle over the exact spot on the map. I looked around and was sure there were others two or three inches higher, and I began to question the sanity of what I was doing.

The start of Jacob's Ladder - it gets steeper than that

More laid path after Jacob's Ladder. The trig point is a few hundred yards beyond the rocks on the skyline with still a bit more climbing to do

Looking down Edale not far from the trig

The small cairn fifty to a hundred yards from the true summit

Although the ground beyond looks higher, I assure you this is the highest point (as far as anyone not possessing theodolite, Abney levels and the like could tell)

Looking down Jacob's Ladder from the top

Yellow cross  is approximate position of the small cairn - I omitted to OS Grid Ref. it. The red flag is the OS grid Ref. given by Hill Bagging, and 636 is the supposed high point


Gayle said...

Yay! Well done on the completion of another list! Will your mind be turning to Wales next?

I also sometimes find myself questioning my sanity when seeking out the tussock which is half an inch taller than the surrounding tussocks, but at least on Kinder I wasn't alone in the ridiculous of my behaviour, as we met another chap up there doing the same.

I'll also confess to sometimes entering into ridiculous races with other people who are completely oblivious to their inclusion in a competition. For example, when I stood on Barf last month I saw a group of people half way to Lord's Seat and the far-fetched notion entered my head of seeing whether I could get there before them (which I did, by about 10 seconds, and a touch out of breath!). The following day I was on the receiving end when, on my way down to Honister Pass, I caught up with and overtook an older chap who then picked up his pace to stay just behind me. I was damned if he was going to go back past me when, until I'd passed, he'd been moving far more slowly, so I picked my pace up some more, provoking him to do the same. I don't know what everyone else around us thought, as we were positively barrelling along by the time we reached the car park. All very silly, yet pretty harmless fun!

(And, as a minor aside, I think that 'path' marked on the map by the summit of Kinder Scout is a parish boundary, rather than a path.)

Ruth said...

Congratulations Sir Hugh! A fantastic achievement.
And I had no idea finding a summit could be so tricky.
On the subject of racing other walkers, I'm a very slow walker and it doesn't normally bother me. (My average walking speed is 2.5 mph, and my average speed overall on a walk is rarely more than 2 mph because I stop and potter about all the time.) But I still HATE being overtaken and will find myself engaged in mini-races with others, which I usually lose, but not always 😄

Sir Hugh said...

Gayle - Your comment shows you understand exactly what was going on with the pseudo race. You were lucky on Barf - I could only see about thirty yards ahead when I was there a few weeks ago.

What about Wales? It is in my mind but there are a few other things in my diary at the moment.


Ruth - On my normal backpacking walks my average over a 12 to 16 mile day is usually around 2mph including stops.

This competitive, or is it anti-social behaviour seems to be common amongst we walkers. Usually, if and when we coincide and chat I find they are decent and interesting people far removed from the evil personage I conjure up when they are first sighted.

Very occasionally I have found myself continuing to walk with someone for some distance. A classic example was meeting Mick and Gayle (see comment above) in 2008 when they caught me up, which was inevitable, when we were both approaching Cheddar on our respective Land's End John 'o Groats walks. It was late afternoon and we continued to walk together into Cheddar where we camped. I don't think the subject was discussed but next day we both went our own ways, but kept bumping into each other for a few days until their route departed from mine, but we have kept in touch ever since, having met together many times as very good friends.

Sir Hugh said...

Gayle - I hate that 1:25000 map - I never have been able to tell what is what - its only redeeming feature is depiction of field boundaries. I think the path I was referring to is the one that continues to Kinder Downfall, but I had compass bearings whirling round in my head like neutrons round (or inside?) an atom -I bet that doesn't make scientific sense, but then neither was I making much sense up there.

Roderick Robinson said...

Interesting that modern technology can contribute to a sense of insanity. Time warping can confirm this. Imagine yourself sixty years ago in the same location but with a piece of kit that could do what your GPS did for you. Towed up there on a balloon-tyred trolley by a team of Nepalese porters. You having spent billions of dollars just putting up the necessary satellites. With that amount of money you could probably have freed the Third World. Instead you knocked off your last Marilyn. What next?

How about ascending Everest subterraneanly? Up a shaft you have had excavated to the top. No terrible winds, no inhuman temperature and - best of all - no dead bodies.

The artificial worlds we enter via our obsessions (Mine is even more extreme: believing I could be a sellable novelist!) are manifestations of insanity. More or less untreatable.

Sir Hugh said...

At least my obsession is reasonably healthy (apart from the mental consideration), that is until I fall down an unexpected shaft that some fellow obsessive has engineered to arrive at the summit of a Welsh Marilyn.