Safety in the Dark Peak

On the subject of my Facebook Post
regarding the family I met yesterday who were wanting to go on Kinder. There have been quite a few replies to the original post all offering views, some in agreement with each other. Here is the conversation between me and the parents.
Dad.. You look like a person who knows what they are doing. Can you tell me the way to Kinder?
Me… You cannot drive on to Kinder
Dad… We wanted to walk up but cannot find the way.
Me… If you park here you are likely to get hit, the tractors are quite big and your car is sticking out a bit. You might find it safer to park in the car park 50m down the road..
Dad.. Oh Ok.
Me….Have you been up onto Kinder before
Dad… No we wanted to take the kids up
Me… OK. Do you have a map
Mum… No. But I know how to use a compass
Me… You really could do with a map, there are no signposts on Kinder and its easy to get lost . The cloud is quite low so visibility will be poor. Do you have your compass with you. You could buy a map from the visitor centre.
Mum… No I dont have my compass but my phone has googlemaps
Me… That wont be really any use Im afraid. Look to be honest, if you are asking me how to get to Kinder from here its a fair chance you might get lost and Kinder is not a place to be lost on with children. Why not go on one of the low level walks around here, there is some really nice walking, you could even get a leaflet from the visitor centre with them in.
Mum… We could buy a map for Kinder.
Me.. OK if you want to do that then the easiest way up from here is up William Clough its about 3 miles from here and the route isnt clear and it can be rough underfoot. If you do go up and the weather turns, come straight back down the way you came. Whats your name….tells me name.
Mum.. we will be alright
Me… well you have a good day, if you feel you are getting lost just stop and turn round and come back. it will be cold on top so make sure you and the children keep warm and dry. If it starts to rain or snow get down as quick as you can.
That was the conversation. I am a park ranger and that kind of conversation is not unusual and to be fair it is usually the woman who is more adamant about continuing on. I think people should be able to make their own decisions and being in the outdoors means accommodating different weather conditions, we as walkers know that. I do think I have a responsibility, children or otherwise to explain the facts to people, but I cannot stop someone from taking their own decision. I did not come across the people on Kinder nor when I returned so maybe they took my advice. One of the problems the Peak District has is that so much of it is near roads. You do not have hours of a walk in to get to the start. This gives people a false sense of security and people are just not aware of the possible dangers. Only if you have been in a tight spot, and I suspect we all have, are you aware that things can very quickly go wrong.
With regards to reporting to the police I am not sure about that. Naivety and ignorance are not really a crime. For sure the addition of children into the mix makes it a little more serious. So I did the best thing I could think of, ask their name and take note of the car reg when I walked on. If needed later on it could be useful information. As a ranger I always ask where people are coming from and going to. It may come in useful if they are reported missing and it helps me give them some interesting info about where they are going. Its what I do and its nice to have a conversation with people about the Peak District.
People should be encouraged to get out on to the moors more, but it should be tempered with education about the reality.
Thats my thoughts. You comments are welcome.

Trigpoint Walks 8

SK 0447 9077 Harry Hut 441m
SK 0447 9077 Harry Hut 441m

I know this may sound wrong, but walking from the Hayfield quarry where the 1932 Mass Trespass set off from, was a new experience for me, I had never been to this spot before, in fact I had never been to Hayfield. That does sound wrong doesn’t it coming from someone who has walked in the Peak District for near on 40 years and is a National Park Ranger to boot. Well confession over.

I had set off from Hayfield centre and walked along the river to reach the quarry.  I didn’t realise that I was on such hallowed ground until I spotted the commemoration plaque on the quarry face.  It is quite a thing when you think about it, all those people, extra ordinary people, who worked in everyday jobs during the week and looked for release on a Sunday, having the temerity to go against the land owners and the establishment.  It must have been quite exciting and ever so slightly frightening at the same time.  What will happen? Will I get into trouble? Will I lose my job? Some lost more than their jobs, some lost their liberty and I need to remember that when I am out on the moors, especially the Kinder plateau.

I retraced their footsteps, up William Clough, a beautiful little ravine complete with tumbling stream and long narrow vistas.  I gradually worked my way along, stopping now and then to look back and take in the views.  It really is wonderful, the feeling of peace, quiet and solitude is incredibly intoxicating.  This is the way to live my life I thought, none of the work day drudgery, but this glorious release into another life.  I could see why it was worth contemplating a fracas with the rozzers at the top of the Clough in 1932.

The cloud was low and as I reached the top visibility was down to 50m, nothing unusual in that for Kinder.  It did make for some good navigation practice, use of compass, following a bearing, pacing, all good solid stuff.  I reached the Triangulation pillar at Harry Hut quite quickly, painted a bright white it is pretty hard to miss.  I like to see the pillars painted, but disappointed to see that the Flush Bracket had also been painted white.  Would it have been too much trouble to leave the bracket in its natural form?

It was windy up there and so I dropped down the shooting track to have some lunch hidden behind a wall.  Today it was soup and corned beef sandwiches, the dogs had some chews which kept them at bay for at least a few seconds, they then turned their attention to me and used telepathic staring techniques to gain more food for them and less for me, very selfish in my view.

SK 0322 9026 Hollingworth Head Surface Block
SK 0322 9026 Hollingworth Head Surface Block

Cutting across the moorland I arrived at the Grouse Inn famous for getting snowed in no end of times in bad weather.  Just across the road is a surface block, hidden in the grass, these are fun to find, mainly because you get lots of odd looks from passing motorists as you prod away at the ground trying to locate the blasted thing.  A walking pole with a pointy tip is a very good location device, sadly I had forgotten to bring mine so I was reduced to tearing bits of grass up with my bare hands until the surface block showed itself.

Down the road I turned off on to an old pack route, now the Pennine Way Bridle Path, a green lane stretching for some miles, passing farms and fields it winds its way up on to Lantern Pike, with panoramic views all round.

SK 0239 8794 Lantern Pike S 2779 359m
SK 0239 8794 Lantern Pike S 2779 359m

Lantern Pike is a forlorn place, windswept and dishevelled  it has an air of subsistence about it.  The triangulation pillar just adds to the gloom of the place, laid on its side as it is, half way down a slope, abandoned and unkempt.  I do not know the history of the pillar, why it has come to such a sorry end or when this happened.  In Mark Richards excellent book High Peak Walks mention is made of the view-point panorama from which there are marvellous views of Kinder, Mill Hill, Hayfield and the surrounding hills and valleys, but no mention of the trig.  Lantern Pike is National Trust land, but like so much of their estate I feel is not sexy enough or would not generate enough revenue to warrant a helping hand, best save those efforts for the tea shops and stately homes.

SK 0237 8796 Lantern Pike Surface Block 351m
SK 0237 8796 Lantern Pike Surface Block 351m

It’s in there somewhere, but where was a mystery, should have brought my prodding pole, there was no way I was going to scrabble around the cow muck, I may well have to return.

I followed the Pennine Bridleway back to Hayfield and the car.  Quite a nice days walking with varied views and not too much ascent.