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No, it's not some kind of chocolate with a plastic toy inside, it's a mountain plateau whose highest point - Crowden Head, with a height of 631 metres (approximately 1893 feet) - is also the highest point of the Peak District in Derbyshire, England.

There are two main routes for climbing the plateau - first, from the village of Edale in the south, climbing up through the Grindsbrook valley, a leisurely climb for most of the way until the end where one climbs roughly 300 metres (900 feet) in the valley's final kilometre. Alternatively, one could take the Pennine way from the northwest from Jacob's Ladder to Kinder Low. The latter is usually slightly harder and therefore less busy, while with the former, one is likely to be accompanied by other walkers even during the low season.

The plateau itself is made of gritstone and is the largest upland in the Dark Peak area. Many streams have their sources on the plateau, including the Kinder River, which runs off the western side of the plateau forming Kinder Downfall, possibly the district's most famous waterfall. It is difficult to get a good view of this waterfall from the top, but it is nonetheless spectacular as it blows a mist of water into walkers' faces. In the winter, it often freezes completely, and is then used by climbers.

It is very difficult to find Crowden Head itself, since most of the top of Kinder Scout is peat bog and very bleak. Nonetheless, a walk over the plateau is very enjoyable and rewarding, and the views of Manchester to the west and Sheffield to the east are phenomenal.

Kinder Scout is probably the most popular area of the Peak District National Park, and is therefore patrolled by rangers for most of the year. Numerous visitors over the years have made erosion of the peat a serious problem, especially along the Pennine Way, with the peat disappearing in places in a radius of 150 metres around trig points.

The streams running over Kinder Scout tend to carve valleys in the peat, which are usually easier to navigate by than the designated paths according to the Ordnance Survey. The streams themselves are rarely very deep, having only just arisen from their sources, but the softness of the peat means that the valleys tend to be up to a metre or two deep. Walking along these other-wordly valleys with their steep walls and emerging to fantastic views of the surrounding National Park is probably the most enduring memory I have of this mountain.

The plateau was made famous in 1932 by the Kinder Trespass, a mass demonstration by ramblers against gamekeepers who restricted access to open land. A large crowd gathered at Hayfield and trespassed onto the mountain in protest. Many were imprisoned, but they raised public awareness to the situation so that in 1939, the Access to Mountains Act was approved, and in 1955, Kinder Scout was handed over to the National Trust. However, the public still does not have free access to all open land.


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