Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Rucksack Club Fell Race

This is an annual orienteering event which although taken seriously is low key enough to be able to go and practise your navigation skills. After last weekend’s FRA Navigation course this might have been an ideal opportunity for Pauline to hone her recently acquired expertise however the weather forecast thought otherwise, promising 35-50 mph winds, gusting to 80 mph. These winds were also forecast to bring showers of rain around the middle of the day. Even in the valley floor in Edale the winds were enough to confirm it would be difficult on the Kinder plateau. We contented ourselves with the shorter route and agreed routes and attack points for each of the six checkpoints before setting off.

The wind didn’t wait until lunchtime to bring rain and the first light showers arrived not long after we reached the plateau for the first crossing. Neither of us are really familiar with Kinder and we fell into the beginners’ trap of looking for bee-lines instead of runnable tracks, trods or paths. The rain arrived while we struggled with the wind and rough ground and then we were seduced by the first path we found. Without checking a compass bearing we followed it – back to the southern edge overlooking the Vale of Edale again!

Vale Of Edale

Vale of Edale


Remembering that my compass doesn’t lie I eventually conceded we hadn’t actually crossed Kinder and that we needed to try again. Having got the serious error out of the way early in the day we got on with the business of visiting the controls. After the third control we had two more crossings of Kinder to reach the 4th and 5th controls and by now the wind was stronger than it had been when we left and so, like a number of others, Pauline retired and headed back down to Edale.

Between 2 & 3 heading south Heading South East with the Derwent Moors on the skyline

Jaggers Clough South East in Jaggers Clough

Vale of Edale

Vale of Edale from the east

Hope Valley

Looking South East into Hope Valley

All these photographs are taken on the sheltered southern side of Kinder and not long after the one immediately above we reached the third control and went our separate ways. Almost immediately the weather deteriorated and by the time I had crossed to the north edge the cloud base had dropped well below the height of Kinder and the heavy rain started. Approaching control four meant leaving behind any shelter offered by the hill and I found myself facing a wind into which I was barely able to walk. Sheltering from the wind and driving rain behind some rocks was only a very short term option but it gave me time to look at the exit from the next control – uphill into the wind and rain. I now began to doubt if I could move fast enough to keep warm and decided to have some food and sort a bearing to take me back across Kinder to the sheltered side.

Once there the weather improved and and so rather then heading straight to the finish I visited the sixth and final control on Grindslow Knoll where this standing stone is to be found.

towards Kinder Looking back towards Kinder

Looking down Grindslow Clough

Looking South down Grindslow Clough

For the second year our attempt at the Rucksack Club Fell Race has ended ignominiously. Last year in the Lakes the weather was even worse but perhaps next year?


  1. jane was out there at the weekend and cut her run short to due to the weather. the top of kinder can be very disorientating. have you run the edale sykline?

  2. LOL the compass doesn't lie...that's a long forgotten lesson from when I was in the TA, tabbing through the Breacon Beacons only just being able to see my hand in front of my face!