Bit of a tradition around this time of year, have new toys to play with and idea's to try going as light as possible. Lightest sleeping bag, favourite stove left at home in favour of a lighter alcohol based one.
Write up of Mermaid Pool Kinder solo session. No photos am afraid but you'll find out why later.
Morning drive started out ok, the roads were pleasant, excitement growing as I hit Snake pass. Lots if cars broke the road up with a few bikers having their fun. I was envious slightly, but I've already done snake pass so that takes a little off. Having completely failed to remember the Scotch eggs and the little treat I bought for myself I made a note to stock up on lunch and treats when I hit Hayfield.
The turning off was just as I remember it, I was worried I'd miss it and have to turn round somewhere. But I found it fine, just as I remember it. Just needed to look out for a cafe now. Which turns out was right around the corner.
A quid lighter with treat well wrpped up in its paper bag I head on down the road to find parking.
Hayfield is a little village which houses a caravan and camping club site. Additional parking and toilet available via National Trust car park and ...well toilets. Its quite popular as it’s a gateway to Kinder waterfall when it’s a little more flowing. Winter time sees climbers with axes and crampons ascending it. The national trust car park now sports a burger van for anyone wanting to stock up on missed breakfasts dues to early morning starts.
Mental note: renew membership.
Grabbing my pack out of the car is great as it's lighter than my normal backpack weight so I'm quietly smug about it.
The beginning of this walk always gets me doubting if I'm heading the correct way or not. Head straight towards the reservoir and then go right at the main gate. Simple enough, wonder if I’ll remember it next time? There are a fair few walkers young and old about, most friendly enough returning hello's, others seemingly not sure what to do. These are the people new to walking, we outdoor types tend to be a friendly lot most of time. After a few sessions they'll soon realise we are just being friendly.
As I head up through the first major waypoint through a gate. Mountain bikers come hurtling towards me from the distance. Their clattering chains and rear derailers alert me to their presence. I slowly walk uphill towards them giving way when our paths cross.
Pretty nice bikes really Orange and a Scott I think. Both full suspension. nice
A few more pile through as I’m missing with my camera phone. Bloody thing not working, think I need a new SD card for it. So no photos for me. Knackers!
This field is inhabbited with cow's and sheep, they just tend to carry on eating until you stop, which at that point they just stare at you. Eventually I reach the gate where the path heads right and walk along the path and stone wall to the start of the hills. Can see the waterfall from the walk up. Looks far but easily reachable.
I did wanted to go up the main hill to check the top path out but end up heading left along the obvious cut path towards the water fall, its easier and I'm lazy. The weather is sunny and with not much wind so I am drinking plenty of water. Hope there is water further on or it'll be no puddings for me! (Pudding is a dehydrated jobby, chocolate moose, yummy) Am trying to go light weight and I took a gamble that water would be available on this walk, after all it does pass a water fall! Dehydrated food is lighter but needs water so you need to carry extra.
As I carry on slowly climbing on teh grassy well worn path I reach the main walk way where the path turns to sand adn grit stone rocks. An older looking man with grey hair calls to me from a higher path. "You don't want to go that way to Red Brook, it gets trickster on the way up and out." Turns out he is a park ranger, comes with a radio and everything. I heed his advice, thank him and head along the suggested path. I have done the lower section a good few times, but with my current foot issue and the fact its been an entire year since I did it, its safer to listen to someone with superior knowledge of the land layout. Maybe some other time. The climber inside screams in my head some reference to cats and that I'm being soft....?
Sun is still hammering down, its a beautiful day. Not much wind so it gets a little clammy. A proper shirt would have been useful, least I could unbutton is and rolls the sleeves up. Don’t know why I didn’t wear one really, I do favour them due to their versatility.
The paths gets more hard packed. As I draw closer to the water fall a glance left shows me that Mermaids pool is still there, with water as well no less. Am pretty chuffed about that. Pudding definitely back on! Hozarr!
Reaching the waterfall or what's left of it in this scorching few weeks, is alittle disappointing, not much water, but a pool there surrounded by kids from a group. Was hoping to get a section to myself to cool my aching foot down, ice cold water would do it good. Eventually I find a spot to myself, boot off, socks off ... bliss! Foot happily cooling down.
More people turn up as its the focal point og the walks around here, not enough to be too many, but enough to be lightly busy. Most don't stay long, just long enough for a drink n snack then off again. Its kind of nice hanging about while people come and go. AT this time its no where near dark so I have time to spare. Fig’s out (They are sweet), make a mental note not bring so much food next time, and this and me leaving food items behind. Oh well.
Water check, got 1 litre clean so I fill my other bottle from what little there is of running water. There is a small spatter of water of which I can fill a bottle for cooking.
Sun feels nice may have a nap.
Later once I’m done basking in the sun I note a man wandering whether or not to fill his bottle up. I speak to him, offer some advice about checking up stream and give him a water purification tablet to put in his bottle. He seems pleased, and then heads off with a cheery goodbye. I wish him a good journey.
After 30 minutes or so later I decide to head do to my where I'll be staying for the night. Have a bit of a headache too, brought on by sugar treats and a bad neck no less. Remembered my first-aid kit does not have any pain killers in any more since it was soaked last time I used it. Fail. Lesson to learn I think. Must refill it later once I get back.
Mermaid's Pool was little along the path and then down about 100 meter in height, it’s not overly steep if you go about it sensibly. Which in the past I have not done so, this time however with bad foot, I’m more
Was needing a toilet stop also so I hurried down to mermaids pool. Dumped my pack and headed off to find some privacy. I do remember a time when I'd try and hold it until I could reach proper facilities, no point really it’s just something you have to deal with male or female.
Feeling better it was time to set up home for the night. Managed a respectable Flying ‘V’ with the tarp but wished I had that second pole or a stick at least to lift the roof slightly. Would have been good to get a picture of my setup but buggered camera says otherwise. Muh.
Bivvy bag out next then filled with my sleeping bag and mat. My head now throbbing from my neck. Was considering going to bed as my head was getting more and more sore. But decided to cook dinner on my new stove and get soem food down me. Dry food out, water boiling I started to eat, Beef n potato hot pot. Typical dehydrated meal, loads of flavour (salt) always between the temperature of either molten lava or just plain not warm enough. My head made me lose my appetite at this point and decide to go to bed instead after carefully wrapping back up about 90% of the meal I’d left.
I blame the sugary Fig’s I ate for a snack for my lunch for triggering my bad head and dump them 2 meters away from my Bivvy as punishment… that’ll teach em….
As I fell asleep with the final sun setting in view, my head starts to throb. Will be fine in the morning.
Funny dreams await me during the night, too weird to put into words but provide me with entertainment later in the morning as I think back to them.
I wake at dawn, the sun not up but its light starting to shine on the underside of the clouds with a lovely purple red colour. A photo would be good at this time but I doubt it would catch the moment anywhere as near as perfect as it is.
Breakfast was last nights un-eaten dinner heated up in the pot with water. Turns out it keeps pretty well, as it tastes exactly the same, texture as well, not too sure what it says about the food but I happily inhale it. Brew on as well, some nice tea.
The day is dry and warm so I don’t need any extra layers, not that I brought any, would prob need to do a little light exercise if I was cold. Not this morning though!
Its peaceful here, even with the birds calling out to each other, not a soul about, I have the entire place to myself. This is why I do this. For once in a long while I feel at peace, my mind is clear and I’m happy.
Time slows down, and I take in the moment sat on my sleeping bag enjoying the views and listening to nothing what so ever.
I finish my drink and decide to pack up, stove away, bivvy packed away, tarp away too. Quick litter check, nothing .... good. Pretty light pack if I do say so myself. Back up what I came down to pick up the main path, was not in a rush so I take it in sections. No sweating for me!
Eventually I hit path and head along the top towards the reservoir and drawing closer to my car. Its just gone 9am at this point, I encounter 2 people along the way, one gentleman is doing the Wainwrights and has bagged an impressive 117 out of 214 so far. He has a sheep dog with him that’s wearing a rather nifty looking coat. Has a handle on it too.
Walking eventually down the hill side towards the main path I head along the familiar wall at the side of the reservoir towards the pump house. Just as the path forks up (I want the bottom one) I stop and chat to a older man about walking, climbing and what young ones my age do. Most people have the impression I’m in my twenties little do they know I’m a decade older than they think. After wishing the man a good walk I head back along to the car.
It’s a pretty uneventful walk back after I leave the path and pick up the main road, I pass lots of people heading into where I have just came from. Am I walking the wrong way? Maybe, back to business of life.
Prologue: Lessons learnt? Bring another pole, less food and wear a shirt. Perhaps a wind sheild for the stove? Most importantly, do this more often.