On the far side another blind valley bit into the hills, and beyond it the fitful moon gleamed on a line of dark cliffs crowned by rocky teeth.--Paths of Exile, chapter 14
“That’s Kyndyr!” Lilla exclaimed. “Luned says there’s no way over it!”
Severa laughed, as clear and buoyant as the skylark’s song. “There is if you’re with me! That valley is Combe’s hafod, and I spent seven summers retrieving stray sheep from Kyndyr.”
“… a lung-bursting climb up an ever-steepening rocky valley that pierced the hillside like a sword slash…”
“another blind valley bit into the hills”
View over the Edale valley from the south
Larger version of same photograph
This photograph was taken from the middle of the ridge that forms the southern rim of the Edale valley, and you can see how the uplands form a ring around the head of the valley, enclosing it. You can also see this from the contours in the topographical map link. There’s a road into Edale at the mouth of the valley in the east, but the only way out of the head of the valley is over the hills.
“a line of dark cliffs...”
Close-up of one of the gritstone edges overlooking Edale
“...crowned by rocky teeth”
Close-up view of one of the tors
“...retrieving stray sheep from Kyndyr”
Lamb perched on a ledge halfway up a tor on Kinder Scout, bleating piteously for someone to come and help it down.
(Yes, it did get down safely. After ten minutes or so the mother ewe arrived, they bleated back and forth a few times, and then the mother showed the lamb how to jump across to another ledge and then down to safety, probably the way it got up there in the first place).
“an ever-steepening rocky valley”
The upper part of Grindsbrook Clough. ‘Clough’ is used in Northern England for a steep or narrow upland valley. This is the route taken by the fugitive party in Paths of Exile as they climb out of Edale and onto Kinder Scout.
‘Combe’ in Paths of Exile is modern Hope (see map link at end of post). Hope is derived from Old English ‘hop’, meaning a small enclosed valley, particularly one that overhangs the main valley. In the early seventh century as imagined in Paths of Exile, the language spoken in upland Derbyshire is Brittonic (an ancestor of modern Welsh and Breton). So I translated the Old English ‘hop’ into its approximate Brittonic equivalent, ‘combe’ (spelled ‘coomb’ in Cumbria), also meaning a small upland valley.
‘Kyndyr’ is Kinder Scout. See earlier posts for pictures of the Kinder Scout plateau and some of its gritstone tors.
‘Combe’s hafod’ in Paths of Exile is modern Edale (see map link), the valley immediately south of Kinder Scout and separated from the Hope valley by the long upland ridge of Mam Tor and Lose Hill. Several of the hamlets in Edale have the name ‘Booth’, a Norse word meaning temporary shelter (related to modern Scottish ‘bothy’). I have imagined that Edale in the seventh century was used by the inhabitants of Hope for summer grazing in the valley and on the slopes of the surrounding hills. ‘Hafod’ is a Welsh term meaning something like ‘summer farm’, roughly equivalent to the Norwegian ‘saeter’ or Scottish shieling.
Scroll around to see how Hope and Edale relate to each other