Apr 04 2013

Pennie Way – 31 miles Edale to Marsden: 50km of extreme Training across the Peak District April 3, 2013

April 3, 2013. 

As part of continual training for The Spine race next Jan 2014, I needed to get up on the 

Pennine Way, while the weather was still cold and go up the trail hopefully 30 miles and to memorize the route.  I'd last been in Edale over a year ago in March 2012 when it was so hot, only a tank top and shorts were needed.  Today on April 3, 2013, I would need 4 layers of winter gear to keep the cold wind and cold weather from getting the best of me.  The UK is still in a cold snap, but temperatures were expected a little better for Wednesday when I was out there.  I stayed at the YHA in Edale about 2 miles from the Pennine Way trail head.  According to the Trailblaze maps, and some others, Marsden was 43km away from Edale, or 27 miles, and with the 2 miles extra from the youth hostel, it should be about 30 miles or more given navigational detours or other issues.  

Wednesday morning i got up at 5:30, but didn't really get going until about 6:45 out the door, I had a leaking camelpak and just decided there was nothing I could do, but go for it and hopefully fill up on some water later.  Stupid idea because there wasn't any place to fill up on water later. I ate a tiny apple, banana, small bit of yogurt and that was it.  Set off and it was very cold and grey and I could see the clouds moving vast up over the mountains.  Edale is in Hope Valley and you have to climb up out of it where things get really rough.  I'd remembered the route very familiar from a year ago, and never even took out my map until about 7 or 8 miles in, because it was all familiar. Jacobs Ladder, Kinder Scout, around the falls (frozen) and towards Snake Path. 

Kinder Scout - 6 miles, Freezing cold from 30-40mph winds in -4C.

Kinder Scout was extremely windy and cold, my face was taking a beating from the wind coming from the east. Over the rocks, the ground was frozen, everything was just cold.  Just before descending to Snake Path area, the sun came out, and the very steep decent on a mountain face of snow was super fun.  

Nice steep decent before arriving at Mill Hill. Pennine Way. April 3, 2013


The sun was out and once I got going on the rock stones, I quickened my pace, and ate the Cornish pasty that I'd brought.  I'd not been further then snake path, so from here on was new territory. 





The map said Devel Ditch and similar names for the valley/ditch you have to ascend as you go to the top of the next peak.  The ditch was covered in snow drifts, and you couldn't really get above to see where you're going or get your bearings.  It's all barren, peat moss, mud, snow and heather brush.  I think I was lucky because even though the snow was deep and there was no way to see the Pennine Way path and not really a way to get your bearings, there were footprints from others in the last few days, so i just followed everyone's foot print up to the peak.  Annie had mentioned how it's very easy to get lost hear.  I'd agree.  Very easy.  During the Spine race, I'll have to really be away of the terrain and follow the compass to the peak. 


Bleakhow Head 14 Miles into Pennine Way April 3, 3013

Got to the top of Bleaklow Head and ran into another guy who lived near by who'd come up to trek on the Pennine for a few hours, he was so happy to see someone, we hadn't seen anyone else the entire day.  He'd come up via compass bearing after he got lost/off course, and asked the way I'd come up… that was the way he needed to go.  He was dressed very well for the elements as was I, and was cool to chat with him for a couple minutes.  I think this was about 14 miles into the day, and as I descended down the valley, I wasn't feeling the best, my feet (in my Army issued boots from 7 years ago) were getting torn up going down, and I was low on energy and getting sick of the mud.  In all cases, I've come to hate the mud with a passion, it drains me so much mentally, but because I had the boots, I didn't mind that much.  I stopped to eat some cookies, cheese and I think some trail mix and drank some water.  

Things got extremely windy as I was coming down Clough Edge descending Torside Clough towards Torside Reservoir. I felt much better because I realized just how far I'd come on the map, and could see the next mountains I knew I had to climb.  For some reason I thought there would be food and water around the reservoir, and as I made my way around and towards Crowden, I quickly realized there wasn't any place (at least on the Pennine Way itself). So from this point on, I knew I had to reserve my water and only use when I really needed it.  I also knew once I got back up into the snow areas, I'd be eating/melting/drinking snow as often as I could. 



Going up Black Tor, Oaken Clough, I saw a few day walkers, I stopped at Oaken Clough to eat my dates/figs, cheese and another cookie and water.  By now it was 20 miles and I was happy that there was only 9 or so more miles to go.  It was 3pm in the afternoon, and wished I was further along, but glad the conditions were still ok.  it was extremely windy again around Laddow Rocks I could hardly stand up but as I got further up towards black hill the wind eased off a little and the snow was deeper.  Again like earlier, I could follow the tracks of some others, but there were also rocks here to follow the path, so it was rather quite easy climbing. 

Up the valley on the way towards Black Hill Pennine Way April 3, 2013


After climbing to the top of Black Hill I knew there was a steep descent towards a road, and the map showed an exact straight line of the Pennine Way Path towards the road.  However, maybe a straight line, but you still have to go up and down 3 or 4 valleys and climb very steep up to the road!  It was here I was getting a bit fed up with how slow I was going, my feet hurt, and I was low on energy.  Climbed up the A635 and prepared for the last stretch towards Marsden.  The path or trail itself was pretty easy to follow, and nice.  The wind stopped (Finally!!!), the sun was setting and glowing nicely, but I just didn't have the energy to go any quicker.  Descending Wessenden Resivoir and back up "Gross Butts" I got to witness a helicopter ferrying bags of dirt somewhere, he was flying back and forth really low, and was just cool to watch.







The Pennine Way around Black Moss Reservoir was very nice, easy to follow, weather was nice, but I had no water and by now my feet were just killing me.  My phone died (it has a problem of dying when I take lots of pictures even though there's 50% battery left), so had no phone, no water, no food, and had done 29 miles.  As I stood on the junction of the Standedge Trail and the Pennine I was looking across Redbrook Reservoir trying to see if the pub across the way on the highway ahead was the one I was supposed to be at.  It wasn't but realized I actually hadn't paid that much attention to the exact (grid location) of where the pub was! So followed the Pennine to the road climbing another hills adding about an extra mi

le, and then headed east up the road hoping my pub was in that direction.  Famished, cold, frozen, I walked another mile, yeah, I found the pub, was sooo so happy, and could not even think because I just wanted some water and food.  Finished: around 7:45pm.  2 hours later then I hoped.









Total distance: 31 miles, 50km.  

Total water drank: 2-3 liters (quarts for my American friends), and lots of snow. 

Calories burned: Probably around 4,000. 

Feet climbed and descended: 4,660 ascent, 4,450 descent, = 9,000 ft vertical change. 

Food ate: Apple, banana, figs, almonds, 6 coconut cookies, croissant, 1 large Cornish pastry that tasted like lard, cheese, trail mix, 

Weight, backpack carried 35 pounds, 15 kg. 

Foot gear: Army issued winter weather boots.

Time on feet: 12.5 hours

Moving Time: 11 hours

The good: Navigation was perfect.  Wasn't even an issue. Very confident in map reading skills and knowing the trail.

The other good: Going 50km on about 1,500 calories and just a little water

The bad: Took too long, will need to move faster during the race and work out my feet… no matter what shoes or boots I wear, I always get blisters… only if carrying a heavy pack though. 

The takeaway: I can go 31 miles solo on the Pennine but it was nice(r) weather, only 250 more miles to go.  Also, I've done quite a bit now of the Pennine, and slowly checking off all the different parts of the trail.  Wish I could have done more, but needed to return home and tend to home life. 



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