The Roaches fell race
Sunday November 14th 2021
Report by Richard Carter
The Roaches fell race is set in the Staffordshire moorlands, just over an hour’s drive from Sheffield city limits. The journey is well worth it however – for an entry fee of just £5 you get to take on a superb slog of 15 miles and 3700 ft ascent plus a double river crossing is thrown in.
There are excellent race reports in the archive from previous Strider experiences down the years which are a good starting point for anyone looking to do this event. It is essentially an out and back fell race starting at Meerbrook village hall, up along the Roaches and then across into Cheshire with the turn being at the trig point of Shutlingsloe.
The course starts gently enough, up through muddy tracks and fields with the reassuring aroma of slurry never far away. It then steepens to a climb up to the rocky outposts which give the race its name. After approximately 3 miles you reach a trig point and there is then a meandering descent through a forest with greasy conditions underfoot.
The course then leads you to the River Dane and the pièce de résistance. Recent dry weather made the crossing around knee high level but an improvised doggy paddle could be required in a wetter year. There is then further climbing through fields and bogs. The course reaches the crest of another hill and out of the mist the looming Shutlingsloe appears, pointy and similar to Win Hill in appearance. There is a steady but increasingly steep approach before a scramble to the trig point which marks halfway. The reverse offers another opportunity to ford the river and encounter various obstacles, now with the benefit of all the lactate you’ve acquired.
As the sun emerged through the mist and clouds around mile 11-12, I had slowed to a sedate walking pace and took in the views of the South Western Peaks. There is some relief when you make it to the final trig point at around 12 miles as you know it’s then a steady 3 miles of descent to take you home. Tea, cake and soup were on offer at the Village hall and very welcome it was too.
The event is organised by Mow Cop Runners and it offers a varied and highly enjoyable course at excellent value. It is well marshalled and the course is marked at key turning points.
First male was Jack Scott of Inov8 in 2:03:25. First female was Katherine Klunder of Chorley Athletic and Tri in 2:38:33.
216 runners including one Strider took part
Full results/details can be found at :