Roachside Cottage

Part of the living landscape of the Roaches

Peak District National Park - Upper Hulme, Nr Leek ST13 8UB

It’s been hot up here on The Roaches. Very hot indeed! So hot in fact, that ginger spaniels have started to wilt in the daytime.

Spaniels like Scout just don’t know when to stop hurtling about, hunting through the undergrowth – they get hotter and hotter and collapse in a heap panting. Then, ten seconds later, they’re at it again – racing through the heather, looking for grouse and pheasant.

Hence, this last few days we’ve been out for a good long walk very early in the morning and again as the sun is going down on the northwestern horizon and the air is cooling.

This means that we’ve been “up top”, wandering along the ridge path when no-one else is about, especially in the evenings, when everyone else has gone home. 

Feeling the still-warm breeze. Listening out for curlew and grouse. Smelling the hot, pungent scent of the Scots Pine below the ridge path. Watching the shadows on the fields below grow longer and longer as, down in the valley, the tractors turning the hay switch on their lights.

These are long days for farmers. Cutting grass, turning hay, bailing & trekking back and forth to the silage clamps until near midnight ..... and they’ll still have to milk the cows tomorrow.

But, all in all, it’s dog heaven!

It's been a busy week for the Emergency Services here on The Roaches.

Last Sunday night we had the moor on fire and this weekend, the blue lights and wailing sirens of the Buxton Mountain Rescue were disturbing the peace. A lady climber had fallen badly on the Upper Tier, injuring both ankles and her wrist and landing on a rock ledge. A BMRT Paramedic climbed down to the ledge and a horizontal stretcher rescue was put in place and the patient stretched off the crag to a waiting ambulance.

This is what these volunteers train for week-in, week-out.

Remember that when you are in one of the local pubs or tea rooms and you spot one of their collection boxes on the bar - be generous, it could help save a life.

 

  

 

 

After such a dry spring, the moors are pretty parched. The usually muddy parts are like baked concrete and the watercourses which run down off the moor are dry. Last night some idiot set fire to the undergrowth on the Five Clouds. Within minutes there was a fairly spectacular blaze & the sterling people from Staffordshire Fire & Rescue spent the dark hours stopping it spreading.

It was contained to a 50m circle, thank goodness, but serves to show how we all must be vigilant when the land is so uncharacteristically dry.

Really impressed by the new technology that the Fire Service use when you call 999. They ping your phone with a request for a photo or video which then transmits back to them! – Sort of gives them an “eye on site” before they even start the fire engine!


Big thank you to SFRS 🚒

With the fine weather we’ve been having up here on the Staffordshire Moorlands, the grass in the meadows is ready for making into hay and silage to feed the animals through next winter.

The local farmers have been working flat-out these past few days as the nutrient value in the grass has peaked. The fields all across the valley are changing colour by the hour as teams of tractors, mowers and trailers chase each other in ever-decreasing circuits round each field. The lanes are full of tractors and trailers hurtling back and forth between field and silage clamp. Big round bales have begun to dot the countryside, waiting to be collected and transported to farmyards.

The tractor drivers manoeuvre their enormous machines and swinging attachments perilously close to the inconsiderately parked cars of thoughtless visitors who have parked in and opposite gateways

The heady scent of new-cut grass and sun-drying hay hangs in the air and the sound of the machines runs on late into the sunset. These are long, long days for upland farming communities.

Time to take a last opportunity to walk thigh-deep in wild meadow flowers, as we wander down to the Lazy Trout for an evening meal – before the tractors arrive in the valley bottom.

Our “toposcope” is almost complete!

OK, what’s a “toposcope”?

It’s one of those things you sometimes see on top of hills or places with a distant view, which points to various features to help people identify what they’re looking at.

From our picnic table, when it’s clear, we can see Delamere Forest and Helsby Hill 33 miles away, Pye Green Tower on Cannock Chase 28 miles, The Wrekin in Shropshire over 40 miles and even  Breidden Hill in Powys - about 56 miles distant!

No wonder our guests have been spotted with binoculars while they’ve been eating their cornflakes!

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