The Boxing Gloves, the Toad Stool and more! Monday 6 August 2018

I must admit that I regard the months of July and August as less than ideal for both hillwalking and for landscape photography; the temperatures can be uncomfortably warm making walking arduous, and the light is often poor; too harsh during the day and often hazy for decent photography. However, a walk up onto Kinder Scout’s northern edges for evening photography had been on my radar for sometime and the conditions on 6 August 2018 looked promising for some decent photography.

I duly left home during the middle of the afternoon and parked up in one of the lay-bys on the A57 road just below the Snake Inn. The temperature was fairly sweltering as I wandered up Fairbrook, gradually gaining height and stopping occasionally to admire the cascades in the stream flowing below. I seemed the have the whole area to myself, something I enjoy and one of the reasons I like this part of the Peak District so much; it doesn’t get the level of foot traffic that other areas receive. The final part of the path onto the path is rough and fairly steep and required a bit of effort, but about an hour after leaving the car, I gained Kinder Scout’s plateau at about 2000 feet above sea level.

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Fairbrook in its lower reaches close to where it meets the river Ashop
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Further up Fairbrook with the Kinder Scout plateau in the background
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Looking back down Fairbrook and close to reaching the Kinder Scout plateau

It was then just a matter of several minutes to walk along the edge to Fairbrook Naze; the very prominent feature of Kinder Scout that looks like a ship’s prow from below. Turning a sharp left, I continued due west along the edge of the plateau for about a mile to reach the interesting rock formation known as the ‘boxing gloves’. This was a good place to eat my sandwiches.

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The toad stool at the tip of Fairbrook Naze
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The gritstone rock formation known as the boxing gloves
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Grotesque faces carved into the gritstone

I took some photographs of the boxing gloves and adjacent rocks that looked to have a set of grotesque faces carved into them and then headed back to Fairbrook Naze, intending to photograph a rock feature known as the ‘toad stool’ in the evening sun. By now, the sun had disappeared behind a bank of cloud and I was left wondering if there would be any nice golden light. While I was waiting to see what happened, I was alerted by some violent squeaking nearby and on investigation found a pair of weasels sparring together. They were so intent on what they were doing that they didn’t notice me at first; I was just reaching for my phone to snap them when they ran off. I think this was probably my best view of weasels ever. I also saw a hare, a peregrine and an owl, possible of the short eared variety, as well as the inevitable red grouse.

I was just on the point of giving up on the light when the sun suddenly came out and shone beautiful light on the toad stool. It did this for about 10 minutes gradually turning the toad stool from golden to red until the sun set. It was now time to get down from the plateau in double quick time so as to reach the car before it got completely dark. Although I’d taken a headtorch, I didn’t relish the prospect of using it in total darkness and particularly through the belt of woodland before reaching the A57 road. I just managed this, reaching the car at 21:45 and feeling fairly elated by the evening’s walk and photography.

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The toad stool illuminated by the setting sun with the Woodlands Valley beyond
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The out and back route shown in red
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