22nd May 2016
The @PeaksCollective meet-ups are becoming a regular favourite, so when the latest meet at The Roaches and Lud’s Church was announced I was itching for the weekend to arrive. It was a slightly mysterious area of the Peak District to me, I’d seen a few photos and posts about it, but it didn’t seem like a high traffic location (at least in my circles anyway). The previous fortnights heatwave was well and truly over, and with heavy rain forecast for the weekend it was bound to be a wet one, but hey, a little rain never hurt anyone.
Unlike some of the more remote National Parks, the Peak District is reasonably populated and the majority of it is farmland. We were unfortunate enough to run into a herd of around 50 cows being moved up a country lane, which delayed us long enough to miss the meeting time. We pulled up beside the other cars and made a 50/50 call as to which path the group took. Left or Right. Up or Down. We opted for the first option and headed up into the clouds that were encompassing The Roaches. The mist was incredibly dense and soon swallowed us up, restricting our view and any hope of seeing fellow explorers in the distance. We reached a sandy area of trail, and realised by the distinct lack of footprints that we must have followed the wrong path. At this stage the cloud was so thick we were unable to see more than a few feet, so we decided to had back down and across to Lud’s Church.
Soon the mist and cloud turned into the rain that had been promised. We pulled our waterproofs on for some protection, but quickly made our way down into the woodland above Lud’s Church. I’d seen some photos of Lud’s Church previously, but most of which were taken on mobile so the true extent of the ravine was unknown to me. The canyon surpassed all of our expectations and seemed to get progressively more impressive the deeper you went. It’s main body was a 50ft deep, vertically walled slot, with moss-covered sides and sandy-orange mud at the bottom. It was one of those locations that takes your breath away, and really requires you to take your time with. Our slow pace through the deep trenches ensured that there was no hope of finding the main group, and our damp clothes and boots meant we were all eager to get back to the warm and dry cars.
A truly incredible, place, and surely one that I will return to before too long. Hopefully in fairer weather