We had a new tent to try out, Geoff had a new rucksack and I had a new sleeping bag. This last Saturday seemed as good a time as any to get out and give them all a go, so Geoff hatched a local plan, and James and Reuben agreed to join in with the gallivanting.
We’re very fortunate in that we live in the shadow of Kinder, so didn’t have to set off until after lunch.
Taking a rather circuitous route, we accessed Kinder via Little Hayfield and the Park Hall Estate, rather than trolling up Kinder Road to the reservoir.
The previous day, Kinder had been absolutely covered in snow. In fact, it had been like that pretty much all week. A night of rain though and most of it had miraculously disappeared, leaving just ‘bones’ – as an elderly local resident used to say.
Arriving at the bottom of William Clough, we took the path that skirted round the reservoir and then headed off in the direction of Peter Nook Wood. It’s years and years since I’ve actually ventured into this stance of trees, so was keen to walk through it – which Geoff and I did. James, on the other hand, took the path along the fence around the top edge of the copse.
I had no memory of just how open the wood is. We passed a couple of guys who were camping out there with tarps – shouting a cheery hello to us as we did – and finally emerged at the other end to pick a route over the hillside to Mermaids Pool.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I like a good legend or spooky story, and Mermaid’s Pool is no exception to this:
‘……The Mermaid’s Pool is a small pool on the side of Kinder Scout, Derbyshire, which is said to be inhabited by a beautiful mermaid. A 19th century account describes how she rises to the surface on Midsummer’s Day, and lures men to their deaths with her seductive singing. A poem illustrates this by relating how a shepherd boy fell in love with her, and, at her bidding, jumped into the pool to be with her, never to be seen again.
But other accounts describe her as benevolent, and say that she will grant eternal life on those who see her swimming in the pool, and that she can be found doing so every year at midnight on Easter Eve.
The pool is said to be salty due to its being connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a subterranean passage…….’
James and Reuben were a few minutes in front of us and just as they arrived at the Pool, another guy (complete with a Labrador) arrived to spend the night. They’d approached the location by dropping down off the edge path.
We’d planned to carry on a touch further before pitching up anyway, to a ledge with a fantastic view of the Downfall.
Tents were soon up – it was on the verge of getting dusk by now – and I went back down to the Pool to filter several litres of water. Which, incidentally, did not taste salty at all!
It wasn’t a particularly cold night. At one point, James got his Kestrel out and told us that the ambient temperature was 2C, but the wind chill was -4C. But I can testify that when getting up for a wee in the early hours, the wind had got up a bit more still and was absolutely raw.
Our new tent – a Terra Nova Polar Lite 3 – was very snug and stable, and with plenty of space inside for the two of us and Tilly, we all had a really good night’s sleep.
We are going to get rid of that silly guy line in the middle of the door way though and replace it with two – one each side of the opening. You just can’t imagine how many times we got tangled up with it, never mind a mad Labrador!
And there were no spooky experiences overnight, although James did say that Daryl Hannah turned up outside his tent at one point….
Anyway, Sunday morning dawned clear and dry, with a rather fresh breeze, and after a leisurely breakfast we set off on Sunday’s circuitous route home.
Climbing straight up out of the amphitheatre with a full pack, first thing in the morning, is not the easiest start to the day,
but the edge path was soon reached and we turned in the direction of the Downfall.
Of course going round the Edge Path, you start to meet more walkers. At one point Geoff was chatting to a couple of young guys for a few minutes – neither of whom he recognised – and then later that evening once we were back at home, a good friend of ours (Bernie) happened to call in and it transpired that one of the guys Geoff had been talking to was, in fact, Bernie’s son!
Most of the water in the Downfall was still frozen, like huge great organ pipes hanging down, but the general snow cover was by now very sporadic, with just a few icy and compacted snow sections remaining on the main path.
A quick snack was had at the top of Red Brook – you didn’t want to sit around too long, the wind was a bit arctic – before picking up the Three Knolls Path (in the rain by now) back down towards Tunstead Clough and then Hayfield.
All in all, a very enjoyable weekend in great company. 🙂
James has written his version of events, here.