Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Backpackers Dartmoor midweek Day 3 - 6 October

I had a visitor to my tent last night. I heard a rustling and on turning over saw, in the gloom, my foodbag disappearing under the flysheet. A bloody fox. I shone a light outside but couldn't see anything. When I woke, I ascertained there is a Londis store in the village so made a mental list of food items to buy. However, when I emerged from the tent, I found my bag about twenty feet away, a tear on the side and my three remaining M&S chocolate chip shortbreads gone but everything else was untouched.

We started the day with a visit to Fox Tor Café just down the road. I had an excellent black coffee.

The weather forecast was good and we had a warm and sunny day. We took the bridleway east from Princetown to cross the bridge over the River Swincombe, then right alongside the river for a short distance before cutting across country towards Ter Hill. Much of it, maybe 1.5 miles was over rough clumped grass which didn't make for easy walking.  We all complained and Howard said maybe the next Dartmoor meet would be on better paths. Still, at least it wasn't raining and we passed by one of the two ancient crosses marked on the map just to the north of Ter Hill.

Near Princetown
Once we reached the Sand Way path, things improved and as we approached Michelcombe, where we are camped, the descent on the wide grassy path was a treat with amazing views beyond the eastern edge of Dartmoor.

The descent to Michelcombe
We have spent the evening in the Tradesman's Arms in Scoriton.

Backpackers Dartmoor midweek Day 2 - 5 October

It was a little windy in the forest but we were quite sheltered. Howard and John, outside the forest, were windswept, I think. The worst we had was overhead wind noise. "We" was me, with Pam on one side and Lawrence & Leslie on the other. At the forest edge about 100 yards away were Nige on one side of the gate and Brian & Jill on the other. It came on to rain in the night so I closed my tent flap and the rain, sheeting at times, continued until late morning.

Starting off at 9am, Howard led the way over pathless moorland to Sittaford Tor. Later, reaching the East Dart River, Brian, Jill and I waded the twelve feet or so across in trail shoes, about calf depth. The others, wearing boots, wandered about a quarter of a mile along the river bank before eventually crossing one by one using Lawrence's sandals.

More pathless terrain brought us to Lower White Tor followed by Higher White Tor. A path emerged after our late lunch stop below Littaford Tors, eventually arriving at the road by the Two Bridges Hotel. We then road walked two miles into Princetown and our campsite behind the Plume of Feathers.

Once the rain stopped, it was a very pleasant day. About nine miles walked.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Backpackers Dartmoor midweek Day 1 - 4 October

An uneventful train journey to Exeter, both trains were strangely unbusy. I met with others there; seven of us caught a bus to Chagford, meeting with two others there.

We walked along narrow lanes for a couple of miles before entering access land at 699870 (Teigncombe), following faint paths. After a mile, we crossed a grassy track and went straight ahead over pathless long grass, heading for the northernmost tip of Fernworthy Forest. The wind got up but it remained quite sunny. The ground was a bit boggy at times.

We found our pitch for the night at Long Ridge. Two of our party are camped outside the forest but the rest of us are scattered in amongst the trees where it is rather more sheltered, although the wind is quite loud. There is a good water supply nearby at North Teign River.