It really is WINTER !!
For over a week now the upper moors have been in a severe freeze with many of the footpaths covered in sheet ice with a layer of snow on the top. Many of the usual approach routes such as Grindbrook and Crowden Brook have their streams frozen and most of the flagged edge paths are treacherously icy. The unwary walker could easily take a slip and break an ankle or leg. Whilst most of those venturing on to the tops are well prepared and equipped there are always some who refuse to take notice of the warnings.
Winter conditions can be the most enjoyable of the year but they can also turn a small mishap into a major drama so some extra preparation is advisable. Daylight is limited and the sun dips soon after 3.00 pm. Don’t underestimate the time required to complete your intended route and remember that a torch or headlight is essential equipment at this time of year. Whilst it can be warm when exercising the body soon cools when stopped; if forced to stop for any length of time hypothermia is real risk. Always carry that extra layer of warm and windproof clothing that you hope you’ll never need.
A guide book is helpful but it can never replace a map, and a compass is useless if you have never learnt how to use it! If you must rely on battery powered gadgets then a few spare batteries are a good idea. The tops of the Peak District may not be as high as some of the other classic mountain regions of the UK but they nevertheless demand respect.
Get out there and enjoy the hills but be prepared.Top right: Upper reaches of Grindsbrook frozen solid. Sat Jan 3rd. Top left: Ice climbers of Kinder Downfall Friday Jan 2nd. Above: The flagged parts of the Southern Edge Path covered in sheet ice. Jan 3rd. Left: Walking on water. Kinder River frozen through Kinder Gates. Fri Jan 2nd.
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