Sunday 18th March 2012.
It is almost 80 years since the Mass Trespass of April 24th 1932 when 400 members of the British Workers’ Sport federation turned up at Bowden Bridge Quarry for the walk that was to change the face of Rambling.
Today we were to follow in their footsteps.
We started from Hayfield and followed the Snake Path climbing steadily onto the moorland.
We walked along White Brow with Kinder Reservoir below us to our right before starting the steep climb up William Clough. The 1.5km climb was hard going on the wet rock with lots of peaty sections but it was marvellous walking with the stream bubbling along beside us.
The gradient levelled off at Ashop Head the point where six gamekeepers confronted the trespassers years ago. Here we turned right to join the Pennine Way and another steep climb up to Kinder Plateau.
The next couple of kilometres were wonderful, walking along the edge of the moorland with great views to our right. There were lots of weird shaped rocks on the edge, carved by the wind and rain. They created some good photographic opportunities for me. I’m sure I could see faces in some of the rocks!
Our next objective was Kinder Downfall where we stopped for lunch. Conditions were perfect as we sat in the sunshine and enjoyed the views. It was so different when I was here last year. Everywhere was frozen and Kinder Downfall was really Kinder Icefall.
We crossed the beck at the top of the downfall and continued south along the Pennine way towards the trig point at Kinder Low.
The weather conditions suddenly changed. A dark cloud appeared overhead and it started to hail. No time to hang around. We veered away from the Pennine Way to cross moorland to Kinderlow End and the steep descent requiring a lot of concentration. Once down into pastureland we could look back to our route on the skyline.
I’m a rambler, I’m a rambler, from Manchester Way,
I get all my pleasure the hard moorland way,
I may be a wage slave on Monday,
but I am a free man on Sunday.
These are the words of Ewan MacColl’s rousing ramblers battle hymn sang on that memorable day in 1932.