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.
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.
Mick 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!
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.
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.
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: