Monday, 30 August 2010

Dartmoor - Sunday and The Curious Incident of the Fox in the Night-time

When you go to bed under a tarp you do not want, or expect, the night to be eventful. Last night was certainly eventful. At 2.15am, I was awoken by a loud noise. It was then repeated a few times but less loud. After a moment's thought, I knew what it was. When I sat up and looked around, my suspicions were confirmed. A sunflower spread box that had contained my last two slices of porridge cake was missing and it was being bounced along the ground. Shining my torch around outside, I saw two eyes looking at me from a short distance. I put my shoes on and went to investigate. In the light of the torch beam, I saw the box with its lid off, a fox's mouth shaped piece taken out of the box and, a few feet away, a fox staring back at me. It then disappeared and I went back to bed, wishing I'd thought to have my camera with me.

Thinking the fox might come back to raid the two bags I had with some food in, I stuffed them under my backpack which I was using as a pillow, and went back to sleep. A while later, I was rudely awoken by a tugging beneath my head. Turning my torch on, I saw the fox running away and a piece taken out of my polycryo groundsheet. What to do then? I had thoughts of keeping guard and not sleeping for the rest of the night. In the end, I decided to stuff the food bags inside my sleeping bag, hoping that my scent would mask that of the food. Either that or I might find the fox trying to share my sleeping bag with me! I was actually asleep again in no time and the fox didn't return. I think he was used to finding bits of food left by picnickers as this is the first time such a thing has happened in the nine years I've been using a tarp.

Our first stop after walking for about half an hour was at the excellent village shop at Postbridge where we had hot drinks and bought pasties for lunch. Our route then took us north by Roundy Park and Hartland Tor up to the Grey Wethers Stone Circle, where we had a brief snack stop, each of us sheltering from the wind behind a standing stone. Then on via Sittaford Tor, Little Varracombe, Whitehorse Hill and then Hangingstone Hill, where we stopped for lunch in an army shelter. It was raining by now so the cover was welcome. After that, it was more moorland walking, passing by Oke Tor and then back to East Okement Farm.

Clapper Bridge at Postbridge

Road bridge at Postbridge


  1. One reason why I keep my food in a plastic food box. The other is ants.

  2. It seems as its not only foxes nicking your stuff

    I found is while checking my own content, there is a post on the OB Forums about this.