The Roaches and Hen Hill
Another day another dollar
Another week another poor excuse
Lets start with Craig, 3 weeks ago it was 'Im off to America and when I get back I'm right up for walking'. 'Don't worry that I haven't got any gear wtih me I'll buy some new stuff'. 'Snowdonia? excellent, bring it on, as big a mountain as you like'.
And the excuse, oh I'm a bit tired and I need to do some washing, when I suggested maybe the Sunday this excuse was priceless, 'I can't because I'm going to the rugby next Saturday'. So one down by Thursday and well Shad was defo up for it.
'I've always wanted to climb Tryfan', It's a Welsh hill near where my family live' 'my dad runs up there before breakfast'
TBF to Shad, this is a classic and may even have got him out of maths homework.
Friday lunchtime, and I'd turned up with a lovingly prepared from scratch, chicken and chick pea vindaloo to accompany the chip shop chips (chick peas were essential as the chicken was a bit thin on the ground). Next thing I know Shads off home at top speed because 'a slate has fallen of my roof and crashed through the conservatory' not a bad excuse at all, particularly as I thought he'd said 'a roofer has fell off my roof and through the conservatory'. I was already imagining body shaped chalk drawings on his floor.
From this point onwards it went downhill into a typical left it on the bus excuse and Saturday in Snowdonia was abandoned. At this stage we had a Sunday replacement plan but that was scuppered by the Met Office. Paraphrasing the met office.
Blizzards, Freezing, Foggy....go up Tryfan if you want to die. Even with my increased risk taking quotient this year, that seemed like one step beyond*. Too good to miss a happy opportunity
Oh well, on my Bill again, good job I quite like walking on my own and the forecast for The Peak district looked ok. On top of that I'd gone for the whole fabric combination stuff as per Andy and was keen to try it out.(underpants on head excepted). I also had some new boots to break in before the old one die.
Roaches is quite a famous site apparantly, never heard of it? me neither. A short 5 mile walk looked ideal. Or it would have been had I not cast caution to the wind and gone GPS only. I parked up at the side of Hen Hill. I know a bizarre and unchecked 'fact' about hens (thanks Shad) brown Eggs are laid by Hens that can fly and white eggs are laid by hens that can't, could be bollocks, don't blame me...all complaints on too much fiction to Mr S Williams c.o. the conservatory.
Roaches is brilliant, its a bit hilly and a bit rocky, good views too but the shapes of the huge stones right across the top are immense. Maybe its because I still make shapes out of the clouds in my head, why would you ever stop? but I think the lion shapes in these stones are fabulous.
Having got to the top in no time at all, I figured I had plenty of time to go on and find this 'Luds Cave' thats supposed to be round here. At this point I was a approached by a bloke with a map asking 'can you help me, I'm a bit lost' YAY get in, the new kit obviously had me down as a pro, but not only that I got out the GPS and within 20 seconds had him completely sorted. ie off in a direction from which he'd never see me again**.
Me and a frog almost had a nasty coming together on the next stretch of walk I think it was probably more scared than me , but only just.
And so to the Cave...couldnt find it!, so I followed a sign to Luds Church. WOW, .......now this may be a 'you had to be there' situation but...I was walking along this track and saw a narrow fissure in the rock face and decided to have a look inside. It just kept opening out and had steps to another bit, and then another bit, it must have been about 100yards long and up and down and round corners. If anyone has ever played Turok on the X Box it was exactly like the valley sections on that.
For everyone else here is a pic, the rest of the pics are good too
It turned out that this is in fact Luds Church, and its not often you end up by yourself in here as its quite popular. There is a whole bunch of Arthurian legend stuff built around it and some Sir Gawain stuff I think...wikipedia time.
Either way its not something you stumble into by accident everyday. After this I started to head back over exceptionally slippy tree routes, don't worry the health and safety folk will get round to forest safety sooner or later and it'll be handrails all the way.
Favourite H&S picture
I managed to complete the second loop perfectly and then head back over the top, again diverting the last 10 yards just to get to the same very top I was at a couple of hours ago. Saddo
Then I got brave and decided to climb down the end of The Roaches and on and up Hen Hill. Then I got less brave as it got very slippy and rocky and steep and I needed a bit of double back manouvres too. It was at this point I realised that Pam may well have a point 'walking in the middle of nowhere on dodgy ground by yourself is not a top plan'. I made it down (just) then up Hen Hill a bit knackered and was on the edge of Bambi legs when did indeed manage to go A over T on the way down the last bit of the last hill. Thankfully into a huge pile of soggy leaves.
Footsore I got back to the car and hit the GPS counters, 13 mile and a bit and nearly 4000ft climbed...thats more than Snowdon. I was feeling pretty chipper and had a double walk plan hatching as the family were going to be busy Sunday morning.
* two people got airlifted out of Snowdonia when they got into difficulty on the Saturday. I'm not sure what sort of 'into difficulty' they got, but imagine being chased by a huge bear in a foggy snowstorm whilst wearing underwear over your heads and pencils up each nostril. I'm pretty sure that will be close to the truth.