Roachside Cottage

Part of the living landscape of the Roaches

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

My goodness it’s been busy here this last couple of months! An unending stream of short term stays with 5 or 6 guests at a time certainly keeps an old bloke busy!

I haven’t even been able to find time to do any blog-posts – that’s despite having thought of several ideas for essays and taking hoards of photos to illustrate them. Every evening, after laundry, ironing, hoovering, greeting guests or whatever, I’ve just had about enough energy to pour a bottle of Wallaby and watch the BBC news at ten.

Except that; I bought a new bike!

My last bike, a real top-notch mountain bike, was a present for my 40th birthday, 25-odd years ago.

I rode it no more than 20 miles before my, then 15-year-old, son seemed to adopt it as his own and rode it to oblivion round Snowdonia and the Peak District.

Hence, buying a new bike was quite exciting. Biking looks to be the future now as my knees have become a bit wobbly and sometimes feel distinctly vulnerable on steep slopes and uneven terrain. Moreover, several of my regular walking friends are afflicted with similar conditions to a greater or lesser degree – we have reached, or are rapidly reaching, the time when 10 & 15 mile days on the hills are at the upper edge of our capabilities. Hence, we’re all buying bikes and hitting the cycleways of the Peak District with the aim of continuing to get plenty of exercise and fresh air in the countryside we all love.

We’ve done a few of these trails now; The Manifold, Monsal and Tissington and even the old railway track from Leek to Rushton Spencer alongside Rudyard Lake. Brilliant fun, great tea rooms and pubs and a significant reduction in knee-related conversations.
And Scout? Well she can’t ride a bike yet, but she loves to run along in front – 17 miles at a time seems little effort to her!

Monsal Head Viaduct - one of the spectacular features of the Monsal Trail

We've been meaning to replace the old dining table here at Roachside Cottage for ages. The existing one is well past the time when it was sawn up and chopped into kindling sticks for the fireplace. 

For those old enough to remember "Protect and Survive", the Cold War information film about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack, this is THE table we were advised to hide underneath. I'm not sure if it would actually withstand waves of gamma radiation, but it would surely survive the initial blast wave!

After a good number of trawls round any number of places, we came across a charity shop run by and for people escaping alcohol and drug problems. They operate a workshop where they bring old relics in, refurbish them, gaining new skills and acquiring a routine of normal daily work in the process, and send out beautifully re-finished products which would grace many a stylish home. Enough said, we found a lovely little draw-leaf dining table with barley twist legs and four chairs for a very reasonable price and arranged to collect them a day or two later.

Little did we know that our purchase had been leaked to the press (shades of Trump's White House here!) and within minutes of us arriving back at Roachside, the TV News people turned up.........