Sunday, 14 February 2010

Roaches & Whillans hut

This post is dedicated to Ken Cross, a very good friend I made early in my walking life, who, with Pat, his wife, had the best youth hostel I've ever stayed in, which is at Penycym, on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path (diary here);

Ken passed away last week, after several battles with cancer during his later life.
We thought he was indestructable, he beat it that many times.
Seems not, but, for me, his memory always will be.

For Ken.

As the ground was VERY sodden underfoot, we decided to walk somewhere a bit firm today, and chose the Roaches, in Staffordshire. One of the reasons was that I'm reading 'The Villain', which is Don Whillans biography. He was a famous climber who cut his teeth on the rocks of the Roaches, and named many routes up there. The BMC hut there is dedicated to him, so I thought I'd go and see it, and take a few picture.

This is Ramshaw rocks, an outcrop not far from the Roaches,
and very dramatic-looking as you approach from the Longnor road.

We parked on the road just below the Roaches, so we had instant access to them.
First, though, we walked up to 'Rockhall Cottage'.
Here it is, built into the side of, and actually INTO the rocks.

This bit is the kitchen - amazing!
The view from it is pretty amazing too.
Tittesworth reservoir.

We soon climbed up the lower slopes of the Roaches, and looked across to Hen Cloud.
Ramshaw rocks is beyond these.

This is Doxey pool. A very eerie and strange thing.
There's a bit of a write-up about it here;
They say no birds sing up here, and do you know - I don't think I've ever heard any!
The water is black and forbidding. I've paddled a short way in - but then lost my bravado, and backed out!
The level of it ALWAYS seems to be the same, it never overflows, and never gets any lower - even in drought conditions.

The sky was a mish-mash of sun and cloud, and gave some super light conditions.

This photo was taken at the same time as the previous one -
and just look how perfect the sky looks?


It was REALLY cold on the top, but exhilarating and enjoyable.

The dish of Jodrell Bank could be seen clearly, and as the space shuttle had been launched this morning, we wondered if it was tracking it.

There were STILL some deep snow drifts up here,
even after the mild temperatures of late.

We saw all SORTS of weather while we were on the Roaches.
This was a snow/hail storm. We got it a little, but not much.
We watched it turn the opposite hillside white, while we 'basked' in sunshine.

The trig' point on top of the Roaches,
with Shutlingsloe behind.

Susie tops out.
I found a rock to climb on and take in the view.

The path down past bear rocks from Roach end.

At the bottom, we sat and opened a flask of coffee, which Sue had prepared this morning.
After I took my first sip, I could taste she had added a nip of brandy to it, bless her :-)
We sat in the lee of a wall, protected from the cutting wind, and ate our lunch.

We made our way towards 'hangingstone rock', where many a poor soul has looked out over this
lovely landscape for the last time, before being pushed off to their doom.
You can just see the rock jutting out at the end of this ridge.
We had planned to go as far as the rock, but a look at the watch told
me it was time to turn back, or we would run out of light.

The now lowering sun gave superb shadows to the drystone walls,
and the southern face of Shutlingsloe.

Yes, yes, alright!
The lovely skies now mellowed and softened.
This sort of view always makes me sigh with contentment.

The sun now casting its final rays through the trees, we made our way down to the car.

Hen cloud, in the red light of the evening sun.

Rockhall cottage too.

What a super way to end our day - mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

No comments:

Post a Comment