A Search for Solitude – Part 4

The Pennine way stretches from Edale all the way to the Scottish boarder. 268 miles of stunning walking. One of my long term goals is to walk the full 268 miles back to back, but the first 10 miles at least are already very familiar.

Striking out west from Edale, I followed the Pennine way across open farm land, and eventually to the foot of Jacob’s ladder; a steep but paved route that leads up onto the south-western corner of Kinder Scout. At this point there is a small river, and many people were resting in the heat of the day. I demonstrated my manliness to those assembled by ignoring the small footbridge completely, and walking straight through the river. I then walked back into the water and doused myself like a professional athlete, complete with the impressive spray of water that comes from blowing it out of my beard. Oh yes, dear reader, I am very manly.

My water supplies were beginning to dwindle, and I knew that this river was probably my last chance to fill up until I was back at the same point the following day, so I made good use of my water filter and drank deeply before filling up my flasks. Steeling myself for the climb ahead, I began up the steps, and immediately felt my legs burning. I was in no rush so could afford to take my time, but even so the ascent was hard work. As I made my way up the path I overtook, and was overtaken by two other groups of people; one group of four and a couple. I spoke briefly with the couple, whose names I have now forgotten – I shall call them Bob and Kim – and pushed on up the path.

Reaching the top, and the trig point at Kinder Low I felt an enormous sense of relief. The most difficult part of the journey was over now, I had no more ascents and could walk at my leisure around the moor until I found the spot I wanted for the night. The Pennine Way snakes up the western edge of Kinder Scout, and I followed towards the Downfall. By now it was early evening, and most other walkers had left the hills, so I carried on alone. Eventually, just south of Kinder Downfall, I passed a spot that caught my eye immediately! A great view to the west, flat ground with long grasses, and only a few feet from the path. This was it! I had found the perfect spot with the perfect view. I sat for a while, wondering how I was going to pass the time until it was late enough to pitch my tent, when I heard voices. Bob and Kim came over the rise, and told me they were carrying on to the Downfall before making their way back to Edale. I joined them and we walked to the Downfall together. Bob was well bearded, about 6 ft 2 and a tree surgeon. Kim was around 5 ft 4 and had recently returned from volunteering in Ghana, straight after graduating. She was in the envious stage of deciding whether to take another adventure, or join the world of work.

Take the adventure, I said, there is plenty of time for a working life later.

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