An Early Birthday Present

The weather forecast was that a Nordic blast was heading in, snow in the north and icy cold in my neck of the woods... A quick check of where there were beds in the Peak District and I was booked in for the Friday night...

The new Losehill Youth Hostel is fab - all new and sparkly, plug sockets and chesterfield chairs throughout - comfy beds, and early breakfasts... My sort of place (and dirt cheap)!

The where and bed came before the where and what I was walking... I know that part of the Peak District very well, and love it dearly the Iron age fort on Mam Tor, the rock sculptures wind blown on the Kinder Plateau, the sweeping lines up to Win Hill.

I've walked them in the rain, the fog, the snow, the wind and very occasionally the sun.  This was one of those occasional days...

The route was one of those one that I've tried more than once, I've come off the hills with an arm covered in ice, because I couldn't see further than my outstretched hand and even because I wasn't fit enough to carry on.

The Edale Skyline, basically walk up to the heights above Edale and walk around the valley... all the way around the valley. The fell run of the same name is even more insane as it deliberately sets out to maximise the height gain - I chose not to be quite that insane... One large up (well a series of ups and one short sharp down) will do me with 20 miles in between.

The up Lose Hill is a solid slog, the walk along the Great Ridge, over Back Tor, Mam Tor and on to Rushup's Edge is one of my favourite walks and with views like this:

Why wouldn't it?

Coming off Rushup's Edge it's the terror of bog squelching across Brown Knoll, this is one of the bleakest miles of walking in the country, you sink up to your knees, peat bog gripping your legs and boots not wanting to let go as your other legs starts sinking. Saturday wasn't too bad... If only because there was a thick crust of ice so I only sank through a couple of times.

Across the Knoll and I'm on the Kinder Plateau, rocky under foot, often more like a boulder field than a walk, the wind sculptures eerily shaped:

This is the Pagoda.

The Southern Edge of Kinder means navigating around and across deep streams, and their cloughs, cut by run off.  Traversing the rock shelves along to crossing points, picking the points where I could step across avoiding the ice, taking a tumble wouldn't be good!

The stretch off the Plateau is just beautiful walking, views up to Win Hill:

The walking is easy, the pace was good, and for the first time in the day it warmed up enough for me to take my hat and gloves off... And to celebrate I paused and tried to show the views...

Not a bad view... Win Hill was busy, and why wouldn't it be?  So this is a panorama from another trip up there

The its a simple drop down to the train station and home...

So why a Birthday Present? Because the last proper go I had at this walk was on my 40th, 50 weeks ago... Then I was beaten by the weather, today I wasn't.  I hoped to get back in the year and do the walk - and I just made it in time:-)

Oh, and the new food diary has arrived, and the runs and walks for next year are beginning to be planned... so time to finish my 3 weeks of recovery and start building up for the next years worth of madness;-)




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