South Head, Mount Famine, and Kinder Scout

Route Summary:

A Dark Peak walk that begins in Edale and takes in the hill summits of South Head and Mount Famine before crossing to Kinder Scouts western edge at Red Brook. From here, it’s a walk back along the edges, past Kinder Low and the Wool Packs, and as far as Grindslow Knoll before descending back to Edale.

Route Information

  • Start: Water Meadows, Hope Rd, Edale, Hope Valley S33 7ZQ, UK
  • Date:18-09-2017
  • GPX File: Download

Other POI: Edale, Upper Booth, Jacob's Ladder, The Cloughs, Brown Knoll, Coldwell Clough, Kinderlow End, The Three Knolls, Cluther Rocks, Red Brook, Noe Stool, Pym Chair, Wool Packs, Crowden Tower, Crowden Clough, Grindslow Knoll, Grindsbrook Booth

Route Description:

I started the walk from the main Edale car park and proceeded along the Pennine Way towards the Jacobs Ladder footpath. The route initially crossed various pastureland as well as Upper Booth farm and the bottom end of Crowden Brook. As I got nearer to Jacobs Ladder, the scenery became more and more impressive as the steep hillsides started closing in. Up the steep slopes to my left was Brown Knoll and, to my right, Kinders south edge. Ahead, just over the bridge that crosses the River Noe, was the beginning of the Jacobs Ladder path that ascended steeply up the slope ahead. It ascends just left of the area known simply as ‘The Cloughs’ before taking a turn to the north and finally arriving on Kinders Edge just below Edale Rocks.

On the Pennine Way from Edale
On the Pennine Way from Edale
An old ruined farm building
An old ruined farm building
Heading up Jacobs Ladder
Heading up Jacobs Ladder

I wasn’t to go quite as far as Kinder Scout – or at least not yet! My route veered off from the Jacobs Ladder path around half way up, roughly around the point where the path turns to the north. The path I required headed in the opposite direction, following the line of a fence up the slopes almost as far as the Brown Knoll summit but not quite. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to take a short detour from here to visit the Brown Knoll trig point if that’s what you wanted as it’s only a very short walk away. I just didn’t bother. Instead of taking the path up to the summit, I continued west across moorland on a paved path towards the distinctive shape of South Head clearly visible in the distance.

Crossing the moors near Brown Knoll
Crossing the moors near Brown Knoll
South Head and Mount Famine visible ahead
South Head and Mount Famine visible ahead

As I looked back towards Kinder, I saw a rather dark, grey gathering of clouds gathering above. The rain was coming. I was hoping it would kindly sit there on Kinder and leave me alone over here, however it started to come down as I was climbing the slope to South Head summit. It gave me a chance to test the waterproof phone cover that I received for my birthday in June, but have been fortuitous enough not to need so far since then. After enjoying the grey rainy views from South Head, I descended the other side, crossed the Pennine Bridleway, and headed up the slope to Mount Famine.

South Head
South Head
The view from South Head's summit
The view from South Head’s summit

The views were fantastic along Mount Famine looking out over the green fields of Hayfield to the western edges of Kinder Scout. The scene looking back along the crest of the hill also looks wonderful, with various gritstone outcrops lending interest to the view, and South Head still visible in the background. Both Mount Famine and South Head are classed as hills in the British Hills Database, so that was two new summits for me today. I carried on along the skyline until I met back up with the Pennine Bridleway, then followed this downhill, eventually arriving at a farm track. I turned right and followed this up and along Coldwell Clough, heading towards the right-hand side of Kinderlow End which was visible ahead. If I’d have continued following this track, it would have eventually merged with the Pennine Way on Jacobs Ladder and taken me back to Edale, however I took a turning to the left and began skirting around the bottom of Kinderlow End instead.

Kinder Western Edge and Kinderlow End from Mount Famine
Kinder Western Edge and Kinderlow End from Mount Famine
River Sett and Brown Knoll from Mount Famine
River Sett and Brown Knoll from Mount Famine
Looking back at South Head
Looking back at South Head

The path continued uphill a little before following the contours along the slopes of Kinder. I continued to follow the path along the slopes, past the area known as the Three Knolls (for obvious reasons), an area of gritstone outcrops known as Cluther Rocks, and finally emerged into Red Brook. The path actually leads to the top of Red Brook, however I carefully descended the steep slope a little lower down so I could enjoy a touch of simple scrambling in the brook.

Passing cattle
Passing cattle
Looking back along the contouring track
Looking back along the contouring track
Kinder Reservoir from Cluther Rocks
Kinder Reservoir from Cluther Rocks

Red Brook was actually pretty dry in the upper sections, however most of the rock was covered in very slippy green slime which made things a bit more interesting. I clambered carefully up the brook to the Kinder plateau edge before making a beeline for the Kinder Low trig point where I had a quick 5-minute break. Not that I really needed one as the walk hadn’t really been overly enduring so far.

Slimy steps on Red Brook
Slimy steps on Red Brook
A brief section of scrambling on Red Brook
A brief section of scrambling on Red Brook
Kinder Low trig point
Kinder Low trig point

I cut across a few peaty sections – which were surprisingly easy to walk across considering the rainfall in recent days – towards the rock formation ‘Noe Stool’. From here, I simply followed the edge past Pym Chair, the weird but wonderful formations at the Wool Packs, and Crowden Tower where I enjoyed the great views looking down Crowden Clough. Eventually, the edge led me to my final destination on Kinder – Grindslow Knoll. The descent route from Grindslow Knoll is the one I would normally take back down from the Kinder Plateau due to the amazing views looking out over Edale valley on the way down. It’s quite easy on my tired knees too.

The weird formations of the Wool Packs
The weird formations of the Wool Packs
Looking down Crowden Clough
Looking down Crowden Clough
Approaching Grindslow Knoll
Approaching Grindslow Knoll
Cairn on Grindslow Knoll
Cairn on Grindslow Knoll
Edale!
Edale!

All in all, a nice simple walk that covered a small area I hadn’t walked in before. The weather turned out better than expected bar a brief period of rain, and the ground was nowhere near as boggy as I thought it would be.

Route Map
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