I dash across from Edale Train Station to Pennypot café. Searching for the nearest cover I can find, I shelter away from a graphite sky and the impending sense of a rain storm. With a sigh of relief, I wrap my hands around the comforting warmth of a mug of tea. I hear the sizzle and spit of frying bacon, the sharp and delectable aroma filling the café and invoking an appetite previously diminished by a long train journey from London.
It’s a weekend escape from city life. With creased brown boots, frayed laces and a map to hand, I feel a bubble of enthusiasm grow. I can’t wait for a long walk and the pure sense of freedom I get from the Peak District.
Avoiding the rainstorm, we amble together through Edale Village. We take in the historic collection of Herdmen’s booths whilst scrolling past the infamous Old Nag’s Head – the start of the Pennine Way. Upon reaching Edale Youth Hostel, I find myself surrounded by spring green hills, bastions of gritstone and the shadow of Mam Tor looming above us.
Our plan is a full day’s walk to Kinder Scout, the highest point of the Peak District. From Edale, the trail leads us through patchworks of farmland. We follow the gentle murmur of the River Noe before ascending up the rocky climb of Grindsbrook Clough.
There is no longer a distinct track as I find myself atop a featureless plateau. I catch my breath as a band of grey cloud descends upon us. The weather distorts any sense of direction whilst intensifying the feeling that we have reached one of the most desolate upland plateaus in Peak District. We pull out a compass and follow a bearing, trudging our way through peat bogs and empty riverbeds. I know we are lost and I feel our morale trickling away like an emptying hourglass.
With the difficult weather conditions, we decide to abandon our search for Kinder Scout. Seated upon a rock with a crusty baguette in hand, I glance across the valley. I suddenly envision trekking down the hill to descend straight into Edale. We pull out our map, the steep contour lines criss-crossing our intended shortcut like lines of disapproval. I feel the gentle stir of excitement at the prospect of an improvised adventure.
We descend off the main track. I circumvent past hidden grass hollows and trickling pools of rain trails until we suddenly reach a surprise crash site of twisted metal. I approach the site in curiosity. The aircraft pieces were left as a memorial for Richard Spear, a Wing Commander who was killed flying into Kinder Scout in 1945.
We trek back to Edale in awe of our discovery before retiring to the Youth Hostel for the evening. It was a day where trekking in Dark Peak rang true to its name – a mysterious crash-site, a moody skyline and getting lost atop a windswept plateau. A day that can be described as imperfectly perfect.
- My entry for “A Perfect Day in the Peak District” with Bradt Guides. I luckily won a x2 night stay at Wheeldon Trees Cottages and I can’t wait for another Peak District Escape.
- I stayed at Edale Youth Hostel. Book at least one month in advance to secure the nights you want, especially during the weekends. Membership is only £10.00 a year and a discount of £3.00 off per night is available.
- For more details of the aircraft crash site we encountered, see the link here
- I booked my train tickets from London to Edale approximately 2 months in advance and the cheapest advance single I got was £11.90 with a YP railcard. Cheap fares are available if you book far in advance.
- The full days walk from Edale Youth Hostel takes approximately 6 – 7 hours. The OS Map is available via this link
- If you have any other questions, please feel free to let me know.