We really did come across this signpost
But before we get into any dubious 'detail' from the walk, this week I've been mostly p'd off by people looking to blame other people. It seems to be a national sport at the moment, however the one that really got me was the Travelodge people pointing out a mistake that Premier Inn people made in an offer 6 months ago. They sent this email out to 10's of 1000's of people (I'm guessing but it's certainly 'lots of people')
On Tuesday 24th November 09, following a complaint by Travelodge to the ASA, The Times reported that budget hotel operator Premier Inn has potentially been overcharging thousands of customers trying to book a Premier Offer £29 room since June 2009. Their television and newspaper advertising, featuring Lenny Henry, proudly claimed that the chain were offering 1,000,000 rooms for £29, but The Times reported that when customers arrived at the Premier Inn website those using the Quick Book on the homepage were not being offered £29 rooms when they were still available. Instead customers would only be able to find these advertised rooms by clicking on a different part of the website.
So, Travelodge made the original complaint, not 1 customer!! and the customers could have got the offer had they looked a bit more. Now some poor chap/chapess in marketing or IT gets fired because of the 'who's fault is it?' culture. Maybe if the rooms at Travelodge weren't so shite more people would stay and they wouldn't need to resort to trash marketing.
Sorry about that, but there are similarities. The unplanned dalliances of a late November walk around The Roaches could easily have triggered similar scapegoat thoughts. I'm glad to report that in over 6 hours not an iota of dissension raised it's head.
This route had not originally been a Mark 'Radders' walk, although 'Captain Radwaring' had recently been be volunteered as chief dinner lady after posting a somewhat tricky route anticlockwise to Lud's Church and back over The Roaches.
The weather forecast for the day was at best 'shabby', I think icy rain was threatened by Metcheck. Despite this,10 troops strong and true turned out at 9am Saturday morning late November......oh except Captain Radwaring who turned in 10 minutes late. Arenig Hodges had been waiting to catch everyone out at the allotted spot since 7.55am and wouldn't even heat the car to keep his wife warm.
We set off in the rain with very low cloud and headed for Ramshaw Rocks, marvellously taking the wrong turn at the first gate. No names no pack drill but I'm sure I heard 'Don't panic' muttered from the back. At this point I knew already that we were in trouble, 10 people and 6 maps just isn't going to work and pretty soon we'd marched through a swamp into a field with one gate in and no gates out......don't tell them your name Granty. Except Captain R knew better and headed (against most peoples better judgement) uphill to towards a farm. Pretty soon we were striding up a road towards the escarpment following Jim who in true Wilson style had claimed all the glory. Even though though the cloud was still low the view from the top back down the Leek road was impressive.
Next we headed downhill, passed some lama (it could be lamas) that sounded very like dogs and next some weird rocks appeared out of the gloom
before we headed off cross country. There was definitely a path somewhere but not where we were going. You'd think we were searching for spies as we'd got that far apart.
Not to worry Captain R got us back on track,
I did think Carl or Dellwalker were about to turn into Frazer at this point as they'd walked the farthest; but again......no blame. Then it got boggy and paths were scant, before we eventually came out above Gradbach.
Down the hill and passed the YHA, well we would have been 'passed' it, other than the need to peer through the window at the chalk board pricelist. At this point everyone turned into Frazer '£1.80 for a pint, scandalous!' 'bet it's a real hoot in there', 'cup of tea 60 p outrageous!' followed by 'shame its not open'.
We dragged ourselves away and headed towards the forest in which Lud's Church was hopefully still secreted.......oh except we did this on the wrong side of the barbed wire fence. But we were 'Rads Army' we could deal with it, over the fences we went, not even a prick in our waterproof trousers could dent our enthusiasm. Pretty soon we rested for rations while certain troops did walrus impressions to gain the summit of the rocky peaks. ' Stupid boys'
I really like Lud's Church, it's a fissure in the rock formation which forms a natural and well hidden chasm. Last time I was here the place was covered in icicles
Its always been a bit slippery at the entrance, but after the recent deluge of rain the lower end was pretty swampy. No worries a few stones and we were over it, oh except for Walker who decided he knew a better way...this resulted in him being momentarily up to his knees in gunk.
And all we needed to do now was climb out of the church, make the crest of the ridge and head back to the cars....except it's very muddy in the forest and so we opt for cross country. I had most definitely adopted a 'Wilson' mantle now and thought I knew best. Cross county. off the map, uphill and spread out......maybe good on the TV, but it's not in many mountain leader guide books.
So apologies to Wendy who had to clamber for 20 minutes over 3ft high gorse and to everyone else for putting them through the needless waste of energy. oh yeah you should have followed me to the path and then up to the ridge, it was easy
Along the ridges,
through the forest
and down to the cars via the hobbit house (must check if you can rent this place) and most importantly a review of manoeuvres in the pub.
It was a tricky route to navigate and the boggy ground made it fairly tough going at times, but it was a splendid 11 miles with no casualties, although little new intelligence was gained.
thanks for the invite chaps and apologies to anyone not skitted, it's best I know you better first as I wouldn't want to be tripped on a downward hill stretch next time .
Private Cheeseman :)