The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Roaches

Sitting in the comfort of the living room on Thursday night, pondering where to go for a walk on Friday morning, I decided that there was little point in re-inventing the wheel. Martin’s blog was bound to reveal a good handful of walks, reasonably close to home, from which we could choose, and so it did. We selected ‘The Roaches’ walk which Martin (& others) did in early March this year. A flick though his photos suggested that it would provide lots of interesting things to see, and after a glance at his route map I copied a rough approximation of it onto my map. We were all set to go.

The Roaches aren’t very far from us, but experience has now told us that if you get behind a quarry lorry going up one of the long hills between here and there, the journey can be slow indeed. We got there in the end though and being just past 9am we had the pick of the parking spaces.

Progress was initially slow, as I was particularly taken with our surroundings and had to keep stopping to ponder the boulders, the views, the shapely rocks and such.


“Careful now!” I cried; there’s a big old drop off the side of that rockIMG_1616

Looking back towards Hen Cloud, as you can see, this was the overcast day in amongst a run of good weather. The views became more curtailed as the day went on, but at least it was dry. IMG_1618

Attracted by the chalk marks, Mick checks out some bouldering movesIMG_1619

Big, tumbled boulders

Only one other person was met on the outward leg of our walk. In fact, we didn’t see anyone else until we reached the Hanging Stone, well into the return leg. Then we got to the path to Lud’s Church and suddenly there were people aplenty. Quite rightly so too, as it is a natural spectacle that we both enjoyed.

IMG_1631Mick atop the Hanging Stone. We had lunch on the overhanging bit. Whilst we were there another chap came along and crawled up to where Mick’s standing in this photo. His wife declined to even set foot on the stone. We deduced that neither of them had a head for heights!

 IMG_1633 IMG_1641

Lots of photos were taken of Lud’s Church. None of them does it justice.

Regaining the ridge path we made our way back to Roach End, where the cross-over point of our figure-of-eight route should have been. When we got there (where it was a positive hive of activity with people setting off in all directions) a change of plan was had. We decided that we’d liked walk over The Roaches so much that it was worth walking it again in the other direction, rather than taking lower level paths.

IMG_1645It was worth returning the way we’d come for these rocks alone. We’d missed them on the outward journey, but spent some time pondering them on the way back 

Surprisingly, once we were a few hundred yards away from the road, we were on our own again, save for some climbers and one family seen right at the other end of the ridge.

IMG_1646Three chaps staring down from the edge and one looking rather bored. 

I had wanted to walk over Hen Cloud on the way back, but by the time we were approaching the end of The Roaches my right knee was feeling decidedly disgruntled. In fear of doing some damage that would take weeks to heal, we cut short.

Still, I’d enjoyed immensely what we had done and highly recommend this a walk if you find yourself in the area.

The stats were that 10 miles were covered, with somewhere around 2500 feet of ascent (maybe more if you believe the Garmin Gadget over Anquet). We didn’t get a reading on Mick’s altimeter as it went blank and started emitting a continuous high-pitched noise within the first ten minutes of the walk which got so annoying that after a while the watch got wrapped in my jacket and hidden in the middle of my rucksack. It was still beeping when we got home, but a new battery has sorted it out.

Just a couple more (sheepy) photos from the day:



J99 EWE, J999 EWE, J999 TUP = a sheep farmer with a sense of humour!


Some friendly sheep

Here’s the route we took:



  1. The sort of place I'd walk to and look up at... Nice walk!

  2. Very good, Gayle - it's one of our favourites, that walk, and not at all a bad idea to return over the Roaches.

  3. Louise - You don't have to do any precipitous stuff there. Looking down over edges is entirely optional!

  4. Martin - I'll be raiding your blog again for some walking just north of us!

  5. Be our guest, Gayle, though I'm not sure how much you'll find. I really do need to provide an index that's better than the one on the routes page. Too busy doing things at this time of year, and never enough time to sort all the admin!