Tuesday 11 February 2014

Mount Famine & Brown Knoll by Starlight

Monday 20th January 2014

A night time walk up Mount Famine, South Head and Brown Knoll on the western edge of the Peak District under clear skies and an almost full moon. 

Distance: 12.5km; Ascent: 570m; Dry with light winds; with Colin

Colin and I had been planning an evening walk in the Peak District for a while now but never quite got around to it.  However this evening's weather was forecast to be near perfect (clear skies with light winds) so we arranged to go for a walk into the hills from Bowden Bridge car park near Hayfield.  We set off walking at around 8:30pm and followed footpaths up to join the Pennine Bridleway.  We gradually ascended under clear skies with a fantastic number of stars on display to reach the summit of Mount Famine (TuMP), via a slightly convoluted route to avoid the barbed wire fence!

On the summit of Mount Famine
We followed a faint path SE down to the pass and on up to the cairn on the summit of South Head (TuMP) from where there were excellent views of the moon, which had an orange glow this evening.

Orange moon from South Head
South Head Cairn
After a short break we continued eastwards to pick up the partly slabbed path towards Brown Knoll.  By now it was below freezing, which meant that the slabs were frosty and the bog was slightly frozen - but only the top layer!  Shortly before 11pm we left the path to cross the peat bogs to the trig point on the summit of Brown Knoll (Dewey).

Summit of Brown Knoll
By now a thin layer of cloud had begun to obscure most of the stars, but the visibility remained pretty good considering it was now several hours after sunset!  After returning across the peat, we picked up the slabbed path again and followed it north to a bridleway, which we followed west past Edale Cross and Oaken Clough.  The track improved as we descended and we reached the cars shortly before half past midnight after a most pleasant evening walk :-)

See also my Social Hiking live map from the walk.


  1. Nothing finer than being in the hills after sunset senses are heightened. Very enjoyable read

    1. Many thanks :-) I did plenty of evening hill-walks last summer and autumn that finished in the dark, but this was my first in ages where the entire walk was after sunset, and it was good :-)

  2. Good effort, I have been practicing night nav as I work towards my ML but most of my experiences over this Winter have been a bit grim. Glad you got a nice one!

    1. Thanks :-) I'm sure I won't be as lucky with the weather next time I head out for an evening walk!

      Good luck with the night nav practice. I can still remember night naving on Snowdon during my ML assessment many years ago.