Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Marsden–Edale Double – 7th/8th Jan

The first Rucksack Club meet of the year is, by tradition at the end of the first week of the year,, the linear walk (or run) from Marsden to Edale which is a distance in excess of 22 miles crossing Black Hill, Bleaklow and Kinder with an ascent of over 5000 feet, depending on the route taken. We did this three years ago as our first meet in true club tradition by travelling to and from the meet by train. There is another tradition of doubling the route, i.e. starting the night before in Edale and crossing Kinder, Bleaklow and Black Hill to reach Marsden in time join the main party at the start of the meet. There is another practise (not a tradition and not even a habit) of “Double Doubling” but that doesn’t really bear thinking about, believe me.

So it was that I joined the Doublers on Friday night to walk over the hills to Marsden where Pauline would be with the Singlers for the walk back to Edale. Friday’s snow melted sufficiently quickly for the roads to be clear even if it meant a lot of water on the hills. This water would be of significance as events unfolded.

Double-001The other “Doublers” in Edale at 22:00 ready for the off

Crossing Kinder went well until we tried to avoid a bit of road on the way up Snake Pass – we avoided the road but we unable to cross the river (because of the rapid thaw of the day’s snow, and more, the river was higher and much faster flowing than expected) so we backtracked, crossed the bridge and followed the road up to the summit of the pass.

Double-100A bite to eat before the road section

Double-101Dave’s Birthday Present

Friday was Dave’s birthday and his wife, Jo, sent along a tub biscuits as his birthday present – we all enjoyed them and he only had an empty tub to carry! Once over Bleaklow, at about 03:30, the tail wind became a head wind and for about 4 hours drove the rain into our faces – what had been pretty good became pretty grim. The frozen bogs now had an inch or so of water on top of their ice and the remaining river crossings were impossible (in one instance) or very difficult. Consequently we arrived in Marsden later then expected but still in time to see all the Singlers setting off – with smiles on their faces as they had just seen the rain cease and could now see blue patches in the sky.

Double-102Black Hill

Double-103One of the rivers draining Black Hill

Double-106Outflow from Woodhead Reservoir

Double-105Second Outflow from Woodhead Reservoir

The two outflows show the excess water pouring into and out of the reservoir systems on the Saturday afternoon – no wonder the river crossings were difficult.


Finally, after the rain through the night, the snow and sleet in the early afternoon some sunshine appeared on the distant hills of the Derwent Edges as we made our way up the final climb of the day for the short crossing of Kinder and the descent to Edale. This is a tough walk to the pub on a Saturday night as it involved setting off on the night before, walking 45 miles with more than 10,000 feet of climbing in about 19 hours – only to find the pub was closed! Fortunately, there is a second pub in Edale.


  1. well that's just poor planning ;)

  2. Absolutely is! I'll tell Andy tonight that we both agree about his planning skills ;]

  3. Cripes that's a pint well earned!