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The big one! Kinder Downfall.

02.10.2017

Kinder Scout is the tallest mountain in the Peak District, at the summit is a very flat and bleak expanse. The moorland is made of peat and can be extremely boggy in places, it stretches for miles and miles and is very easy to get lost on. The top of Kinder is home to Derbyshire's highest waterfall, Kinder Downfall. At 30 meters it's a significant sight and was the main viewpoint we wanted to get to for location number 31.

 

The day got off to a terrible start! The original plan was to photograph Kinder Downfall around sunset, unfortunately the forecast for the day was overcast and rain. There was no advantage at all in waiting until sunset and then having to walk back in the dark, it was already potentially dangerous and if the cloud was low then visibility would have been very poor. Not only that, but Tracy was sick. She had hardly slept at all and clearly wasn't up to such a significant hike :(

 

Luckily, James Pedlar from jamespictures.co.uk had already offered to come with us (Tracy and I have the combined navigational skills of a blind pigeon) so all was not lost, it would just be me and James. We set off at around 10am and arrived at the foot of Kinder at about 10:45. The first 45 minutes or so are fairly flat until you reach Jacob's Ladder, this is where the slog kicks in! I had packed my bag as lightly as I could, only carrying my camera, tripod + food and drink. My legs still felt like they were on fire though, it was so so steep! We had a quick rest and a bite to eat at the top. The waterfall was still a mile or two away, we packed up and carried on, at least it hadn't rained much.

 

We soon heard the rush of water and were greeted with this:

 

It was impressive and obviously very popular with walkers. We had already conceded that the photography side of things would be somewhat lacking due to the bland conditions but it really was a superb sight. One of the most interesting parts of Kinder Downfall is that if it's windy enough the water gets blown back up over the ridge. That was the shot I had in mind, to take it from behind the drop-off with the wind blowing the water back towards me. Capturing this had it's own set of challenges; firstly, had it rained enough? Was there enough water? Was it windy enough? Could I keep the water off the lens long enough to capture it all? The answer, in short, was that there was enough wind and water to blow it back, but not a significant amount:

 

It was what we had come all this way for, even though the conditions were not what we had hoped for, we had done it. Now all that was left was the walk back down. If you have read a number of these blog posts you'll know that we have often faced a choice when returning to the car; do we go back the way we came? Or do we try a different route? Every single time we tried an alternative route it backfired (somewhat spectacularly at The Trinnacle), surely this time would be different with James in charge of the navigation? 

 

Nope! We never got lost, but we did lose the path over and over again. We clambered over the moorland and through some of the boggiest peat I have ever seen. We jumped across streams, ran through collections of water and trudged through mud. It was exhausting! My legs were already absolutely battered from the walk up (and the previous 71 days of walking!), I really struggled. Eventually we got to the proper path and decided to follow the stream directly down to the bottom. It was slippy and steep and although my knees didn't appreciate it in the slightest, it was a shortcut and saved us an extra mile or so of walking.

 

We eventually got to the bottom, it was now 4PM. I checked the Apple Watch, we had hiked 18.75KM and had taken over 20,000 steps! It was such a relief to sit in the car. James is a lot fitter than I, even he was aching. We even remembered to take a proper photo of us at the top (for a change):

 

Thanks again James and thanks to Tracy who had ran me a bath before I walked through the door :) We are so close to the end now, almost within touching distance!

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