2007 has officially begun!

We were absent from SOTA for too long. Three months in fact, with football matches, gigs, illnesses, family commitments and refusal of pass-outs conspiring against SOTA for far too long.

Well, I had a gig last night as well, but I thought I would get by with half-a-night’s sleep in order to open our activator accounts for 2007.

Jimmy and myself are now starting to consider the walking more in our planning. For summits we already have as uniques, we are thinking about what routes we still aspire to do more than anything. So it was with today. We might not have bothered much with Kinder Scout G/SP-001 now that it sits several times in both our activation histories, but we had been talking about a circular route we rather fancied.

We left Macc at 8.30am, so I did get an hour’s extra lie-in after my gig! By 9am, we were heading towards Chapel-en-le-Frith and pulled in at the Hanging Gate Inn. Breakfast was not due to start until 10am there, but the landlord said he would make us some anyway. From there it was only a matter of minutes to Edale, where I was lucky to find a single remaining parking spot right outside the Old Nags Head. One would normally expect to park a good 15 minutes walk away beyond Edale train station at this relatively late hour on a Sunday.

We commenced our walk up the old Pennine Way route up Grindsbook Booth. This was a lovely route and very popular this morning. Eventually, the path became a steep rocky climb up onto the vast Kinder plateau, where we turned left along the slabs by the south edge of the escarpment. It was now raining quite hard, and many of the hordes of family, jeans-and-welly-wearing hordes were turning back to retreat to Edale. Not the Read trio!

We continued along to Pym Chair, then took a compass bearing in reducing visability to head to the true summit of Kinder. We had only ever been to Kinder Low before, like most activators! This took us straight to a cairn that appeared to mark the true summit, and we activated from there. We used Jimmy’s new SOTA pole and SOTA Beam, his prize for winning the 2006 SOTA Beams Challenge and worked several stations in all directions. We couldn’t quite understand why stalwarts Nigel 2E0NHM and Graham G4JZF couldn’t hear us when plenty of others all around could. Just one of those things I guess.

Eventually, and slightly warmed by the Spicy Moroccan Chick Pea soup, we moved away on a compass bearing to Kinder Low. We soon encountered another cairn, this time with a wooden stake in it, and wondered if THIS was the true summit instead. Either way, the two cairns appeared to be at the same height, so we weren’t too concerned, and we had visited them both anyway. Out of the clag loomed the familiar arrangement at Kinder Low, and upon reaching the trig I called on my handheld to try to offer the points to stations missing them previously. A few more stations were added to th logbook, but poor old Graham still missed out, despite yet another valiant attempt. I don’t know what was happening Graham, but I was trying just as hard as you were!

We completed the walk by following the current Pennine Way route down via Jacob’s Ladder and with a soup break in the National Trust information shelter at Lee Farm. We arrived in Edale in failing light at around 5.45pm, and adjourned to the Nags Head for a drink.

I feel 500% better for my taste of hundreds of gallons of real fresh air. It’s good to be back!