Camping on Grindslow Knoll – Kinder Scout.
You can’t beat a spontaneous bit of wild camping on Grindslow Knoll. A hill adjoining the mighty Kinder Scout in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire.
What an adventure that turned out to be. A spontaneous wild camp in the Peak District is always fun, but the weather didn’t quite match up to the weather forecast on Grindslow Knoll. Mountain-Forecast is usually very good when it comes to forecasting the weather on Gridslow Knoll, but the weather changed on this occasion. A friend of mine joined me on this trip as he’s always wanted to visit areas around Kinder Scout. As you know, I usually video my wild camps, but due to the weather, I abandoned the filming. Not the same, but I thought I document the wild camping on Grindslow Knoll in text form.
Wild Camping on Grindslow Knoll – The Journey
My first downfall was taking an alternative route from Nottingham to Edale. Whenever I wild camp on Grindslow Knoll and Kinder Scout, I usually travel from Nottingham to Edale via the A50, then take the A515 through Ashbourne and Buxton. That’s the more scenic route and the least congested. Let’s just say it wasn’t the best drive from Nottingham to Edale.
Parking for Grindslow Knoll
I chose, in my opinion, the best car park in Edale. Ideally situated for hiking up Grindslow Knoll from the Pennine Way. You can pay with cash or by using the PayByPhone App. If you are planning on paying for your parking via this app, I would advise downloading the app before your trip as there is no signal in the car park. You can read more information about parking in Edale in my Guide to Wild Camping on Kinder Scout. £7.00 will bag you 24 hours of parking.
A Quick Pint He Said!
Both of us were eager to hike up Grindslow Knoll along the Pennine Way. The short walk from the car park to the start of the Pennine way, you pass an idyllic pub called The Old Nags Head. Lovely little pub with very pleasant staff. I wouldn’t usually stop for a pint, but this time was slightly different, as my mate had tagged along to experience his first Wild Camp on Gridslow Knoll. We decided to stop off for a quick pint. Four pints of Guinness went down a treat! Great service from the bar staff.
Hike up Grindslow Knoll
Although I enjoyed my pints, this put our hike up Grindslow Knoll behind schedule. The sky was blue, al be it a little nippy. The clocks went forward a few weeks ago, so the nights now start to draw in earlier. We made our way along the start of The Pennine Way passing a few other hikers along the way. We carried on marching with frequent stops to take in the mesmerising views over Edale, but it wasn’t long before darkness started to fall.
Racing up Grindslow Knoll isn’t the easiest thing to do, certainly at my fitness level. As we hiked further, the rain started. Not something I had planned for, although I did have my trusty Rab Downpour Eco Waterproof Jacket to hand. At this point, the four pints of Guinness were doing their job in helping us joke about the weather and the fact it was getting dark. Laughing along the way, we carried on hiking (as well as puffing and panting) eventually reaching Grindslow Knoll.
Live from Grindslow Knoll
A short live video I recorded on Grindslow Knoll. Apologies for the portrait mode and the poor audio quality, but it gives you an idea of the weather conditions we were faced with. Don’t forget to like my channel to see my next adventure.
Arrived at the Summit of Grindslow Knoll
So, we eventually arrive on the summit of Grindslow Knoll, exposed to the elements with wind speeds estimated at 30-40mph. Cold rain blowing hard on our faces. We urgently needed to pitch our tents to take cover from this awful weather. I grabbed two rocks to rest my rucksack on and quickly took out my tent. The wind felt so strong, I was holding onto it for dear life. The last thing I needed was my tent to blow away and land in some other distant part of the Peak District, never to be seen again. I grappled with my tent for nearly 30 minutes, hands so cold that they felt like they were going to drop off. I eventually erected my tent, threw my rucksack inside and then proceeded to help my friend.
The wind had tangled his guy ropes and turned them into what can only be described as a “guy rope spaghetti junction”. 40 minutes later his tent was finally erected. The wind was still blowing a gale and the rain pelting down so we decided to take cover in our tents to see if the wind would die down.
Finally Under Cover
Phew, finally under cover from the high wind and cold rain belting against my face. It is not best practice to fire up your stove in such a confined space, but a brew was well on the cards to try and warm up the cockles. The heat from the stove added some much-needed warmth inside my tent, but the noise from the rain battering down onto the canvas meant that it wasn’t going to be the usual chilled and relaxing night on Grindslow Knoll. We could barely hear each other speak!
After enjoying a few hot brews, I unpacked my wet rucksack. Wet because I forgot to put on my rain cover. Having rolled out my sleeping bag, I noticed it was slightly damp, but no major concerns. Removed my waterproof jacket, again the Rab Downpour ECO performed well in the rain. I was also wearing my trusty Rab Microlight Alpine ECO Jacket underneath which was still dry and warm. I can’t stress enough about ensuring that you kit yourself out for all types of weather. Today’s trek is a good example of how the weather can suddenly change for the worse, even more so on higher ground.
Time to Bed Down
The appalling weather conditions continued, leaving us with two options. Explore the summit of Kinder Scout or jump in our sleeping bags and bed down for the night. I kept my down jacket on and bedded down. I must say, at this point, I was very warm and comfortable. That said, I could hear my friend moaning about his back. It turned out that he had pitched his tent on some rocks (not best practice). It did take some time to get to sleep as the noise from the rain on the tent was very loud.
Later into the night, I could hear voices, not unusual on the summit of Grindslow Knoll. Mountain bikers and fell runners often pass through in the night. It didn’t take long for me to nod off again, and probably start snoring. I think the best way to describe my night’s sleep is, let’s say “intermittent”.
The Next Morning
So, the next morning was upon us. Or was it “us”? After unzipping my tent hoping to see a fabulous cloud inversion over Edale Valley, I crawled out to see that my friend had vanished, and three other tents had appeared a short distance away. I checked my phone to see if I had a message from my friend, but nothing. I didn’t let it worry me, as I assumed he had left due to being uncomfortable and the poor weather conditions. The weather at this point was ok, with no rain but slightly windy. Time for a morning brew. I brewed up and packed a few things into my rucksack.
Then one of the guys who had pitched up after us came over to say hello. We had a chat over a nice warm cuppa, him telling me that they had arrived about 11:00 and suffered the same fate as us. They packed up and left well before me. I like to take in the scenery and enjoy the peace and quiet. Eventually, my rucksack was packed and I was ready to go.
All packed up and somewhere to go. Time to take a steady stroll back down Grindslow Knoll. The weather was still ok, with a slight drizzle, but the wind had calmed down. The grass was soaked and very slippery, but the descent was fine. I was looking forward to taking off my 22kg rucksack, putting it in the boot of my car and taking the short walk from Edale Coach Park to The Penny Pot Café. A fabulous little café located on Station Approach, the entrance to Edale Train Station car park. I put my rucksack in the boot of my car, changed my wet, muddy walking boots and then I walked to the Penny Pot Café.
It was a pleasant surprise, as it had had a makeover since my last visit. I was greeted by a lovely lady called “Steve” who provided excellent service with a smile. Having had a little natter with “Steve” while another lady (Katie) made my delicious-looking latte, it was obvious that they were both happy in their job and a credit to the team. I enjoyed the warmth for a short time while sipping my latte, then headed back to the car for my return journey.
This was what I would describe as an enjoyable, unplanned adventure. The weather wasn’t ideal for a wild camp in the Peak District. However, it was an adventure that I enjoyed, and I look forward to the next wild camp somewhere in the Peak District!