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Kinder Scout

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Kinder Scout

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This article is an itinerary.


Kinder Scout a mountain in the Peak District of the UK, between the villages of Edale and Hayfield to the south/east respectively, and the A57 road to the north. It stands at 636 metres (2088 feet), making it the highest mountain Derbyshire and the Peak District. The hill is popular with walkers, ranging from dog walkers and runners to full mountain hikers; this is due to the large variation in routes up the mountain.


Travel Warning

NOTE: Some parts of Kinder Scout can be dangerous for the inexperienced and/or unprepared. Ensure you plan your trip well and ensure you have essential equipment dependent on the route you are taking. If in doubt, seek local advice or choose an easier route.

Anybody intending to walk on Kinder should carry the bare minimums: A waterproof coat and ideally trousers, Plenty of additional layers for warmth (This is very important), Map and Compass (and the knowledge of how to use them, headtorch and a good supply of water. After that, what you will need will vary heavily depending on the route you intend to take; for example someone wishing to stay on the perimeter path (gravel) and ascend/descend using Jacob's Ladder will be able to make do with trainers, while other routes require much more equipment in order to be successful. Follow these rules of thumb:

  • If you are intending to travel anywhere off the gravel path (It runs around the perimeter of the plateau, and up via the Jacob's Ladder path), good hike boots are a necessity. The geology of the Kinder plateau is peat bog, and even in the middle of a heatwave it is exceptionally muddy.
  • When wet, waterproof trousers and gaiters are also essential.
  • Snow will be deeper than in the valley, and comes it risks; beware of crevasses made over the small streams of water on the plateau. Whilst these are not a serious risk, they can cause injury. Hiking on Kinder in snowy conditions, however, is a very rewarding experience and is highly recommended if safe to do so.
  • Walking poles are useful for extra stability.

You should set out in the early-mid morning for a substantial walk. Those not highly experienced with hill/mountain walking should always plan to arrive back before dark. Allow plenty of time for this. Other than the above, bring normal hiking essentials.

Get in[edit]

Most walks around Kinder Scout start from Edale. Edale has a train station, or it is accessible by car from Hope (6 miles, single track road) or Castleton and Mam Tor from the south (steep road). At Edale there is a relatively large car park (paid), and several cafes/pubs, this includes the Pennine way which starts at the Nags Head, Edale. Alternative routes start from Hayfield, via the River Kinder and Kinder Reservoir, and some are accessible from the A57.


Most of Kinder Scout is National Trust owned open access land. This means you can walk where you'd like, you don't have to stick to paths. There are several routes onto Kinder Scout:

  • Jacob's Ladder is the most popular, and easiest route, as well as the one the Pennine Way follows. Take the path west from Edale centre, along the bottom of the mountain. After 2KM, you will start to ascend up one of the valleys. Near the top is Jacob's Ladder, a zig-zag section, that the route gets its name from. At the top either carry straight on towards the Kinder Low trig point, north along the Pennine way on the left side of the plateau, or north-east along the southern edge back towards Edale. This is the easiest route up and down, and is gravelled the whole way as well as being very well marked.
  • Grindsbrook is another popular route. Head north from Edale, up valley. This route involves climbing up/down a 'waterfall' (it is actually a small stream). It is a recommended route for older families and the more adventurous, being not extremely steep. Also recommended for descent.
  • The Nab is the hill off Kinder Scout, that sticks out to the NE of Edale. There are 2 routes up: To the left of it via Golden Clough; nice and easy, not too steep on a decent path; or Ollersbrook; Much the same, but a lower quality path. For the first route, head north for Grindsbrook but bear right to go up, or Ollersbrook head east out of Edale, turn left and up. Popular for decent if you don't feel up to Grindsbrook (these are much shorter).
  • Ladybrook is a small valley east of Edale, at the foot is the youth hostel. Take the path east from Edale. Continue past Ollersbrook. Once you are at the Hostel, turn left and follow the path upwards. A muddy, less remarkable route, with a short scramble at the end, however safer compared to rocky routes. Recommended naturally if you are staying at the Hostel.
  • Blackden Brook is on the opposite side of Kinder to Edale. Look for a large lay-by on the Kinder side of the A57, it has a National trust infoboard in it. You can park here and go up. A more adventurous route, recommended for more experienced parties, which involves crossing a stream several times. Warning: Towards the top of this climb, you must walk on top of of wet rock, which can be extremely dangerous, without good, grippy boots and walking poles. Don't walk alone here, and don't use this route to descend for this reason.
  • Crowden Brook simular to Blackden, but a bit easier. Take the Pennine way out to Upper Booth, then turn right and up.

Stay safe[edit]

The key to a good hike is preparation; ensuring you have good equipment and taking time to plan a route can go a long way. Always plan to return before dusk as the dangers on Kinder are amplified in the dark. If you find yourself a long way from return as it gets darker, strongly consider rerouting. If you, or a member of your group gets injured, split up, or badly lost (especially as it gets dark), call 999 and request mountain rescue. Edale has a volunteer mountain rescue team, which is often aided with other rescue teams (such as Buxton) and can get helicopter evacuation it necessary. Try and give them as much information about your location as you can, and of course, only call if you really need help.

Go next[edit]

  • Mam Tor is a popular hill on the other side of the valley from Edale. It makes easier, but still scenic walk.
  • Castleton is on the other side of Mam Tor. It is a nice tourist village, and has several tourist caves which make great visits. Blue John cavern is highly recommended.
  • Buxton is a larger town with hotels and tourist facilities.
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