For the second day trip in a row we were blessed with perfect weather, as a minibus and car full of hillwalkers (and a dog) headed to The Roaches in the Staffordshire Peak for a day of relief (in both senses!) from Cambridge. While some climbing and swimming featured in the day's activities, the majority of the group went for a sizeable walk, including some scarecrow-spotting and the obligatory mid-afternoon pub stop.
Tom Ashton, Ilya Berkovich, Amy Bonsor, Valerie Brandt, Kirsty Brown, Adam Delph, Dave Farrow, Joe Hobbs, Madalina Lopez, Marta Machala, Jon Matthews, Patrick McKearney, Angelika Modelska, Clare Mohan, Alex Pericleous, David Pettit, David Ponting, Trine Puggaard Petersen, Jo Smith, Simon Taylor, Tom Wright.
A short walk...to the crags! (JH)
Jo, Dave, Alex, Joe
We walked the 5 minutes from the minibus, then donned kit and started on our first climb. Three climbs later we stopped for lunch & to take on large quantities of water. After lunch, we moved onto an interesting HVD. I had to turn this into a multi-pitch climb when it became apparent that thew rope drag was too great for me! Unfortunately, my choice of belay ledge turned out to be awful, but luckily Alex didn't fall. The second pitch was less hairy, but Alex's question at the tope (what else are you attached to?) gives an idea of the quality of my belay construction!
Apart from some comedy faffing to remove a cam (and later a nut, inserted to make removing the cam possible), the day proceeded to its conclusion, as always too early! Now I only wish I could write this much about information & control...
Some of us actually went hillwalking of this trip too! (ST)
Everyone else, except the swimmers
We walked over the Roaches, took a slight detour to see an exciting cavern (gorge called Lud's Church of Something. We bravely skipped our first potential pub stop and continued along a river (not actually along it, but just to one side of it). The marked footpath across the river seemed to require a swim, which we declined despite the temptation due to the 27 degree temperature.
Another slight detour later, we headed up Gun (which DP reliably informed us was a Marilyn). The "Other DP" (David Ponting) led us up another "short cut" that turned out to be a dead end. Eventually we made it to the summit, and a short 2.5km yomp along the road took us to a much-appreciated public house. After a swift pint the final few ks back to the bus were pleasantly uneventful.
The most interesting aspect of the walk was the abundance of scare-crows made by the local villagers. The theme generally seemed to be "fairy tales/nursery rhymes" but we also enjoyed the random skiing scene, and "Father Christmas on Holiday". All-in-all it was pretty weird. I blame the in-breeding.
- Simon: "I love the smell of MDF in the mornings"