Thursday, 8 August 2013

No 41 A tour from the Roaches

I persuaded Bob and Chris to climb on Wed not Thurs hoping my legs will have tiime to recover before the LToB.  We had run from the Roaches two years ago before the ultra prize giving. That was only 18 miles but I was sure I could add some and was keen to explore an area I do not really know very well.

An early start saw us parked by 9 and off only ten minutes later. To start I followed the Roaches race, but missing out the slurry farmyard! The run along the edge was beautiful and I had it to myself. It was less muddy in Gradback wood than I remembered and I made good time down to the river Dane. Here, where the race splashes through the river I turned east past the youth hostel. I made my way on paths and sections of lane to panniers pool. I should have recognised this area from the Bullock Smithy but have to admit it did not seem familiar at all.

Here I struck NE on good tracks and climbed onto Axe Edge Moor. I ate some sandwiches as I climbed and it seemed to give me the extra energy I needed. I am still not sure what works best for me as food. It seems to vary so much dpeneding on whether it is a race or I am out alone, whether it is really warm or not, my mood and what I fancy to eat.... Peanut butter and jam sandwiches were good today.  Once I had climbed out of the confusion of paths and tracks around Knotbury it was easy running and I was rewarded with great views in all directions. The geography of the area was starting to make sense now and I could see so many of the tops I would run over today.

It was nice to be able to put a name to Shutlingsloe, Shining Tor, the Roaches in the distance, the top of Macc Forest and more. I crossed the main road to Buxton and carried on north.  Here I had to make a decision- carry on north and get to the disused rail track or drop into the Goyt Valley. A check of my garmin suggested it was already going to be a long day and the paths were getting smaller as I got closer to Burbage Edge.  I dropped down to Goyt's Moss and the reservoir. I stopped for a quick bite to eat and drink and then I just followed my nose north and west on the best paths I could find until I emerged on the ridge south of Cats Tor.

The path along the edge is now flag-stones so I was on Shining Tor faster than I expected. The path off was good too so it did not take long to get to the Cat and Fiddle. From here to Cumberland brook was lovely running and I managed to replenish my water bottle. In my memory the path from here to Clough House was one of horrors. I remember ankle breaking stones  and sore feet. In reality it is only about a kilometre and far more runnable than I thought. Clearly the dark and tiredness on the Bullock Smithy had altered my perception. I could not see any sensible route up Shutlingsloe that was not an out and back and I did not fancy running on the lane back to the edge of Macc Forest.  The top was one of the more crowded parts of my journey today so  did not linger.

 I did though spot what appeared to be paths heading SW from the wall below the summit. It would avoid retracing my footsteps so I explored and hoped I was not trespassing. It was boggy and I don't think many people go that way but it brought me out close to the lane junction I wanted. Here I had no real choice but to follow lanes for a short while to get me across the A54. Then it was back onto footpaths and heading towards Wincle. I lost one path in some steep woods and wasted some time dropping to the river and then climbing  back above the woods to find another path. I had heard of Wincle from the fell race where winners get a trout I think? What I didn't know was that it had a brewery complete with sampling room.

 On a cooler day I would have been more tempted but today I felt it would not be a good idea. One to remember for another time. Reluctantly I pushed onto Danebridge and climbed back to the ridge. I was out of water again and topped up from a stream- it looked fine but didn't taste great and I wished I had asked at a house instead.

 I passed Hanging Stone and notices telling us to keep off- not sure whether they are worried about litigation or just mean?  Although there is no right of way marked on the map I was hoping I could stay on the ridge line above the crags and I could. Just as the path was about to drop to Lud's church there was a small gate and path through the heather.
A final look back at Shutlingsloe and Shining Tor- don't they look a long way away.
I trotted on to cross the lane a Roach End and back onto the final Roaches Ridge. Now all I had to do was find Bob and Chris. There were not as many climbers as at Stanage and as I dropped off the ridge and down into the trees I spotted them. I chatted and feasted on bilberries before heading back to the car to change my shoes and get more to drink. Not a bad day out at all, I covered 30 miles and enjoyed my exploring.

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