Earlier this year Jenni from The Thrifty Magpies Nest and I launched a new network aimed at bloggers who write about the outdoors. Outdoor Bloggers was borne out of a desire to meet up with other writers who love the outdoors just as much as we do, take part in fun activities and hopefully learn some new outdoorsy skills along the way.
After lots of discussion we decided the best way to get people interested would be to go camping, so we picked a date that looked good to us and opened up the invitation to anyone who blogs about the outdoors to join us. We had loads of interest but knowing that the best things start small, it was great that four of us met up last weekend for the promise of a good time camping and hiking in Edale, the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.
View from Greenacres Campsite at Nether Booth
Camping and Exploring Nether Booth
After a bit of indecision on the campsite (helped along by one refusing to take groups, even though there were only a handful of us, and another being full) we settled on Greenacres Campsite in Nether Booth. Based on a working farm and saddlery, Greenacres is an all-grass site with a couple of slightly sloping but well drained camping fields about a mile or so from Edale.
We actually came up trumps with the site – really friendly team and some great well-lit facilities with hot running water and a free shower (nothing like the old breeze block ablutions blocks with poor lighting on a short timer, with a dribble of cold water and showers on a 20p metre that never give you enough time to wash the soap out of your hair) and at only £10 per night it was a bargain too. And you definitely can’t argue with the awesome views down Hope Valley.
Once we’d set up camp (in the rain, naturally), we decided the best way to get to know each other was to go for a little walk to explore the area and chat along the way. Armed with a map we headed up towards the Edale Youth Hostel and then out towards Jagger’s Clough and Clough Farm, along a really gorgeous footpath that took us across fields, over brooks, up hills, along tracks, and through woodland. We chatted about the outdoors, blogging, our day jobs, hiking, challenges, food, and everything else.
We walked about five miles which gave us a good appetite, so rather than firing up the camp stoves we walked along the footpath into Edale and to The Old Nags Head pub for some good grub. Heaving with walkers recently off the hills, we found a table and ordered our dinner. The pub had a great atmosphere and the food was yummy; although I am still disappointed that there was no apple and berry crumble left for dessert! As the light began to fade we hot footed it back to the campsite for an early night, looking forward to getting up on the hills in the morning.
Lady Booth Brook, near Nether Booth
Hiking Kinder Scout
It rained quite a bit overnight but we woke up on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning to the inevitable sounds of animals enjoying the weather (and the DofE group using their loudest whispering voices!). After some breakfast (instant porridge and a banana for me, bacon and eggs for Jenni – jealous!) we were joined by Mark, and once he had pitched his tent we all loaded up our packs with enough food to last the day and headed off on our day hike.
Once in Edale we took the Grinds Brook route up onto Kinder Scout, following the brook as it rose quickly to 600+ metres, scrambling over rocks and boulders, crossing the stream several times, and getting to the top for some amazing views back down where we’d come from. Having hiked Kinder Scout the other way around – up Jacobs Ladder and down Grinds Brook, I can confirm that this was definitely the better way around. Mark agreed; we have both descended Grinds Brook previously and definitely agree up is easier than down on that particular path.
Walking up the Grinds Brook path.
Looking down Grinds Brook from the top.
I’d planned the route and prepared a route card, and the fact that both Mark and I had hiked up Kinder Scout before meant we were pretty confident we knew where we were going. I say pretty confident… when we got to Crowden’s Tower, where the path crosses another brook, we struggled to find the path north that was marked on the OS map. We headed one way, then came back assuming that we had missed it, but couldn’t see it. So we made the decision to head across the moorland in the right direction to meet up with the path in the distance. This was all good to begin with, but the bog I’d been warned about on Kinder Plateau soon appeared and we found ourselves zigzagging back and forth to find a decent bit of path to walk across. Oops! We weren’t the only ones, we were joined on our meandering route across the heather coated bog by what must have been tens of walkers all trying to find the missing path… this made us feel a little better about our navigation error. I ended up with one leg in the bog up to my knee – nice – but thankfully found some grip with the other one to pull myself out (gently) without any injury and keeping the inside of my boot dry (this boys and girls is why you always carry spare socks!). By this point I admit I was growing tired of having to tread so carefully and just wanted some more solid ground to walk on (there’s a life lesson here somewhere); when we came across a dried up river bed with actual rocks in it I let out a little scream of excitement.
Jenni hare spotting – we saw at least three, the adults were still in their white winter coats, the baby was brown.
Mark on Kinder Scout.
Jenni and Allyssee finding a way through the bog.
Drying off at lunch time.
We followed the brook downstream as more springs joined and the water got deeper and faster, eventually ending up at Kinder Downfall which thanks to the clear day provided us with pretty awesome views across to the west – Kinder Reservoir and Manchester in the distance. I changed my socks and the boggy mess was all but forgotten as we snacked on sugary sweets and enjoyed the warmth of the sun. As always I took way too many photographs before we started our route back to Edale.
Overlooking Kinder Downfall.
Now on the Pennine Way, one of the country’s most popular long distance trails, we headed along the ridge, through the Nature Reserve and to Kinder Low (633 metres above sea level) and to Noe Stool, which marked the end of our route around Kinder Plateau. From there the route back down is a steep one, ending with Jacobs Ladder which is a bit tough going but gets the job done very quickly. The low level trail from there back to Edale passes through Upper Booth where we stumbled across a fabulous tea room and had the most awesome slice of ginger cake and chatted to other walkers, before bringing you out opposite the Old Nags Head. We may well have gone in for a drink before walking the last mile back to the campsite.
View from the trig point at Kinder Low – 633m.
At the top of Jacobs Ladder.
The final couple of miles through Hope Valley,
In all we walked about 16 miles (ish!) and had a great day hiking, chatting and eating. The Peak District, and particularly Edale, is very beautiful – a lush green landscape with lots of stunning views and different kinds of terrain to keep things interesting.
Back at the campsite we had a relaxing evening around a campfire, each cooking our own meals on our little camp stoves and chatting until the light faded and we were falling asleep.
Rain and Reindeer
The rain started sometime in the middle of the night on Saturday/Sunday, coming down hard and loud. When I got up on Sunday morning I donned my full waterproof gear before getting out of my tent and went for a bit of a wander around. Looking up at the hill we thought we might climb that morning I had serious doubts – it was blowing a gale and I could only imagine how difficult it would be to stay upright once up on the ridge. Everyone was in agreement; no thanks to getting blown off the top of any hill, so we had a relaxing morning and decide to get to the pub as it started serving food instead.
We eventually decided to break camp, which was always going to fun in gale-force winds and heavy rain (thankfully I’d travelled by car and so could just roll everything up and bung it in without having to worry). What added to the fun was realising there were three reindeer in the camping field enjoying the freedom while the landowner did some work on their pen; I had no idea reindeer were so playful!
Jenni and her new camping buddy.
We headed into Edale and had a mooch about at the Moorland Centre before finishing our weekend with the biggest carvery I’ve ever eaten. The perfect end to a really fun and relaxed couple of days.
Join Us Next Time!
If you blog about any aspect of the outdoors (for yourself, for a brand, as a hobby, as a professional) and would like to get involved in what we are getting up to then please head over to www.outdoorbloggers.co.uk and register your interest. And if you have any ideas of what you think we should get up to when we meet next, just let me know!