Tuesday 21 August 2012


The Roaches (from the French 'Les Roches' - the rocks) is the name given to a prominent rocky ridge situated above Leek and Tittesworth Reservoir in the Peak District of England. The ridge with its spectacular rock formations rises steeply to 1,657 ft. Along with Ramshaw Rocks and Hen Cloud they form a gritstone escarpment, which is very popular with hikers, rock climbers and freerunners and hastily organised Connoisseurs.
Last week we paid it a visit, the plan was a photoshoot, set against the spectacular backdrop on a lovely clear day. Notably this year's 'Villain' hat as by name it ties in nicely to the place with the splendid memorial hut which is maintained there in honour of Salford born climber Don Whillans. To me personally, Don is an unlikely style icon, cool as a cucumber, a climber who achieved greatness along with the likes of Joe Brown and Chris Bonington, scaling Annapurna, Mount Blanc and of course Everest's southwest face. But I loved the fact he was a salt of the earth guy, loved a pint, the odd scrap and was at times comically outspoken. When climbing he wore the likes of Berghaus and Mountain Equipment anoraks and smocks teamed with goggles and of course his flat cap. It was here at the Roaches where he first got a taste and trained his way to the top.
It wasn't until we got past Macclesfield I realised the dropping of a considerable bollock, no bastarding camera had been packed! Thankfully instagram was on hand for the catalogue poses.
This is an amazing place, it's a popular climbing spot obviously, but also home to great wildlife like Buzzards and Wallabees, yeah, I shit you not. It also had trillions of hangin' little flies which completely covered us from face to foot once we got to the 'summit'. At the top you can see out for miles, there's a great view of the Tittensworth reservoir and on a clear day you can see right out across Cheshire and Lancashire's Winter Hill and even as far as the Welsh coastline up to Snowdonia. The 'Villain' hat (Mk II) will be released soon. CD

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