You’ve decided to walk the Pennine Way? Let me share a few must see sights on stage 1 of the Pennine Way. Before we start, let me share the distance. It’s a 16 mile walk from Edale to Crowden which crosses the highest point in the Peak District at 636 meters.
The Old Nags Head Pub
The Old Nags Head Pub marks the start of the Pennine Way. However, if you started in Kirk Yetholm, it marks the end. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a good spot to enjoy a celebratory drink. Why not start your Pennine Way adventure in style by staying at the Old Nags Head Pub Hotel? Alternatively, check out other hotels in Edale. Finally, The Old Nags Head Pub and start of the Pennine Way is a 10 minute, half mile walk Edale Train Station.
Old Nags Head Pub – Official Start to the Pennine Way
A memorable place to take your take your photo is beside the Old Nags Head sign. Additionally, there’s a more iconic sign just across the road.
Official Start to the Pennine Way
Be sure to mark your Pennine Way journey with a photo next to the official start sign.
Pennine Way Map
Adjacent to the official start of the Pennine Way sign is a small map with the route highlights. These include Kinder Scout, Black Hill, Pen-Y-Ghent, Great Shunner Fell, Cross Fell and the Cheviots. So many stunning sights to look forward to, enjoy the walk.
First Miles of the Pennine Way
The first few miles of the Pennine Way take you through farmland as well as beautiful countryside. This paved path will become a familiar friend over the next few weeks.
Jacob’s Ladder – Pennine Way Stage 1
Jacob’s Ladder is the first real climb of the Pennine Way. This is not the ladder leading to heaven which Jacob dreamt about in the Book of Genesis. It is in fact a path created by Jacob Marshall in the 18th century. The final destination of Jacob’s Ladder is Kinder Scout, the highest peak in the Peak District. At 636 meters above sea level it’s also the highest point in Derbyshire.
When you reach the top of Jacob’s Ladder, I recommend you sit down, have a snack and enjoy the views.
Kinder Fall is the tallest waterfall in the Peak District with a drop of 30 meters. It’s fed by the 3 mile long River Kinder. Let’s be honest, this is not the most beautiful waterfall but a good place to sit down and enjoy a snack. Lastly, after crossing the River Kinder, head left and follow the Pennine Way along the cliffside.
Panoramic Manchester Views from the Pennine Way
The last thing I expected to see during stage 1 of the Pennine Way was Manchester. Yet, it was visible for most of the day. As a matter of fact, if the weather is clear, you’ll see Manchester again during stage 2. Finally, I’ve heard on a super clear day you can see Snowdonia in the distance.
Moorland Walk to Bleaklow
As you leave Kinder Scout it’s time to enjoy the first long moorland stretch of the Pennine Way. Kinder Scout is a popular day trip for Mancunians so it’s unlikely you’ve been alone. However, it’s likely you’ll be alone to enjoy nature as you head through the miles of moorland to Bleaklow.
Hopefully the weather allows you to enjoy the views as you’re walking through the moors. In addition, you should also pay attention to the wildlife. Wildlife spotted in these moors include, Red Grouse, Curlew, Golden Plover, Merlin, Short Eared Owl, Skylark and if you’re really lucky you may see Mountain Hare. I was lucky enough to see Red Grouse, Golden Plover and Skylark.
Descending from Bleaklow into Crowden is absolutely stunning. The Pennine Way follows the top of a sharp peak which slowly falls into Torside Reservoir. As I was walking the Pennine Way during the Summer of 2020, there were some COVID restrictions. The bridge across the reservoir was closed for maintenance and social distancing so the Pennine Way was detoured further up to the next bridge. It was a beautiful 3 mile walk around the reservoir but not ideal after coming from Edale. What’s more, the campsite in Crowden was closed for 2020 so my only option was to wild camp.
Wild Camping in Crowden
I had plenty of food so did not need to visit Crowden. More importantly, I found a nice cold and clean water spring as the Pennine Way headed north from the A628. Of course, I added a couple of water purification tablets before drinking. All I needed was a discreet place to camp for the night. I found an excellent wild camping location here, about 3 miles north of Crowden right beside the Pennine Way. If you choose to stay here, arrive late, leave early, leave no trace and stay warm because it gets cold. I imagined there’d be a red deer drinking water from the brook when I opened the tent in the morning but unfortunately this was not the case.
Lastly… How to Get to Edale
There’s a train line which runs from Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield Station. As I live in North Yorkshire, I took the train to Sheffield before connecting to the Manchester Piccadilly train. As a result, I arrived in Edale at 8.45 am, ready to take on stage 1 of the Pennine Way.