Friday, 27 January 2012

Dartmoor experiences

Update - So a weather warning has been put in place. Supposedly, this week, we are going to have a cold snap, centred on the South West and Wales - Dartmoor gets a direct mention.

It so happens that I have a tendency to organise hiking trips, only for it to materialise that dangerous weather is expected specifically for organised destination, on that particular date. It happened three times by coincidence last year in a total of 4 organised trips across the winter. We haven't called one off yet and generally I have had a pretty memorable one on each of these occasions, so we are gonna make sure we are prepared for the worst and go for it I recon.

We head to Dartmoor soon. The infamous animal and I. We are meeting my mate Frank, or Will as people call him now - long story - and one of his good friends. As Frank said himself the other day, considering we live so close and have such similar interests, it a shame we don't meet up more. We have tried several thousand times to do a hiking trip, each time one or both of us is unable to do it for one reason or another. Fingers crossed this time we'll be able to follow the plans through and head down to the South West.

One of my favourite ever walks was when I headed down to Dartmoor to meet Frank/Will and his group of friends, but managed not to meet them. The plan was to contact him when I got down there, but being used to signal whereever in the flatlands around London, we overlooked the fact that once both of us were in the steep Dartmoor valleys, neither of us was likely to have phone signal. Needless to say we ended up within a mile of each other, but didn't come across each other in the 24 hours I was there. Classic!

I made the best of a bad situation and just went for an explore. 14 miles later, I arrived back at my car in twilight having had a truly awesome day! It was one of those days where I was in such good condition and spirit, that I was walking along beside a river and just decided I felt like running, so ran for a while. It was brilliant! I ended up crossing a rather treacherous stepping stone bridge over the swollen River Dart and spent some time just sitting and listening to its meanderings. Wonderful sound! I met some great people along the way and with significant gradient change, was happy that it was a hard fought 14 miles.

If a trip with my good friends can end up getting anywhere close to that day, then we are in for a treat. I look forward to it! And in the spirit of intrepid exploration, we are just going to walk for three days, bivvying down as we please and see where we end up. I'm gonna take my climbing shoes and hope that we come across some good craggy tors as well. Here's hoping!


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