Dartmoor - Ivybridge to Okehampton Day 2

Thu 8th Aug 2013 - Day 2 

Buckethead - Padmasana

I woke at some point, and started to get ready to break camp.
I think we finally left at about 9.30 (ish)
The nice thing about shorter days, is that there is NO RUSH.

Please note, the tracks on the maps were the original intended routes.
We may well have deviated from these.

So we headed off tracking the river out before heading up Conies Down Tor.
The track was varied.  Not wet, but pretty tussocky until we got up high to the Tor.

We then set off to Devils Tor. Not a lot of devils, but cows.
Unless you consider cows to be devils.
They do provide an enormous amount of shit though.
In fact one of the memories I will carry with me, is the vast amount of animal shit that was everywhere.

Standing Stones at Devils Tor.
Probably the best bit
Cows near Devils Tor
Looking across to the Military Installation at Rough Tor
It is a pity that the MOD use really UGLY Grey rusty boxes on most of their military observation posts.
About time they gave them a lick of paint. (NOT GREY)

We trundled over to Rough Tor for a look, and then dropped down and back up the track over towards Brown House on an easy to follow track, skirting the ruins of the house and traversing round the hill side to drop down to the river for lunch.

Plenty of running water here. I sat on a rock looking up to Lower White Tor, in warm sun.
I could probably have drunk the water fresh, but with so much livestock about on the hills, I filtered all drinking water with my Delios Filter

Lunch spot at river crossing between Brown's House and Lower White Tor

Lunch stop river
After lunch we made our way Up Little White Tor and then over to Higher White Tor and then up onto Longford Tor.
This is a mighty fine slab, and from the initial approach looked like a bit of a scramble.
But from the far side there is an easy route up.
We met some people on the top who then departed (might have been the smell), choosing a somewhat precipitous route down.

Some great views from up here. The wind was quite blustery by now.

A pause to taken in the vistas, and then time to descent down.

Below are some vies which are in the main I believe from the top of the Tor.
Hey, it's been months and I never labelled them early on.

Looking down to where we were heading next

We made our way off the blustery Tor.
On the map there is a route down, and a track, BUT, it is somewhat indistinct on the ground, so we ended up just heading down, using the Chimney as our reference point.

The direct route drops down to a small gap in the wall and then follows a direct path down to a corner.
It is nice easy walking, as long as you avoid the long grass getting up your shorts leg.

NOW, if you read Robin's account of this, he will say I blame him for the next episode, but that it was my fault.

At the corner I suggested, that the track possibly went left and then skirted round the rough boggy ground joining our intended destination from the left.

IF you ever go this way, take that alternative track OK.
Trust ME.

But Robin reckoned that the path went straight down and across.
And this is the path we took. I say, path.
There was NO path.

The Bog Of Doom from Robin's Blog
At first it was ok. Then there was nothing. Indistinct LOOONNGG Tufty waist high grass.
The further you went, the worse it got.
Ending up with walking on big wobbly tufts amidst BOG.

NO. Make that BOG

We took slightly different directions on this bit. Robin went off to the right to try and get round, I went straight through and then straight down.
Plunging into nasty turgid stinky peat bog water up to my thigh.
Not ideal with boots, worse with shoes.
No pointing pissing about now then, I was DAMP.

But this horror would last for at least another 10 minutes as we tried to cover the 100m to the gate in the wall.

Which we did. I sat on a rock and emptied my shoes and rung out my smelly socks. One bonus of shoes is that they will dry out as you walk in them, as long as you don't follow Robin ;-)

As we walked over to the ruins and the chimney, I cast a glance across to my left, where there appeared to be a nice dry LRT.

Looking back to the gate we came through.
Beyond that, there is bugger all sign of any path that appears on the map.

With damp feet, I ascended the track up past the ruins. Still a hike to go before we reached the road.

The track up is clear, but as you get to the top, there is nothing definite on the ground. Just work out a route and then head down. But watch out for more very wet bog by the road. You need top bear left and avoid that. Oh Yes Eventually we made it to the road. Turned left for a short blat and then right up through the forest to head towards Bellever Tor.

Bit of camera shake on this.
I took it as I was going along.
The Track up from the road
View 1 Bellever Tor
View 2 Bellever Tor
We had been up enough Tor's for 1 day (or had we?) So we decided to give this one a miss. Instead we carried on to the end of the track before turning right and then following the trail round and then down to the left.

When we got to the car park and river, it became apparent that this would NOT be our camp for the night.
It was full of people.
Lot's of people on both sides of the river.
Families of bloody people.

Looks nice, but peak through the trees you can see bloody PEOPLE.
We carried on along the track out to the road, and then down to the Clapper Bridge and the rather Fine Post Office Stores at Postbridge.

Oh by the way we are on the BROWN route now.

Descending down to the bridge

There were loads of people here as well.
Mostly French for some reason.

BUT. They sold drinks and cake and tea and ice creams

We stopped had a sit down on the bench outside and partook of  damned well earned rest.
It was still very hot.
I removed my shoes and socks to try and get them fully dried out.

The forecast was for rain in the night. Probably arriving about 10.
We had loads of time.

BUT all good things.

We headed off to get over to the beehive where we would be camping for the night.

So leaving the Post Office stores behind we headed up the short track to follow the river, but not on the lower track, taking a slightly higher track.

This turned out to be excellent and easy walking.

The river just before we turned off the river track to Hartland Tor
Looking Up the river.
Scenic but hard work
We didn't do the marked track along the river. Instead heading up to Hartland Tor, which is much much easier walking

Eventually Robin spotted the route down to where we would camp.
It was a short drop down to an area which was nice and flat.
Also near the river for water.
I found a suitable flat area, and kicked a ridiculous amount of dry sheep shit away.

Then put Wendy up and got my stuff away.
Luckily, there was still NO sign of the pending rain.

She will get all taut later (Sloman)

Looking along the river from our camp
Clouds beginning to form
As the sun began to drop, the clouds began to form from the right (looking at this photo).

By about 8, there was hint of rain.
Nothing big, but enough to make you want to be in your tent.
Which is what I did. Made up another Adventure Food meal.

Had a slug or 2 of something that was remarkably like a single Malt.

I played some music through the little speaker that I carry for parties.
This was a sad one person party.
I think Robin was already in ZZZZzzz land.

And with music playing, I must have drifted off to sleep, because when I woke in the night. It was still playing, and the Wind was a blowing And the RAIN was absolutely hammering down.

Lucky I had had a pee earlier.
I was NOT going out in that.
Fingers crossed for this to pass through in the night.

I went to sleep again.

Waking the next morning about 6.30. That's (am) :-)


Dartmoor - Ivybridge to Okehampton - Days 0 and 1

6th to 10th August 2013

Day 0 6th & Day 1 7th August 2013

This is the fictitious version (You want truth, then Read Robins Blog Post)

And you Soooo know you have been looking forward to it....

OK.. Press the PLAY BUTTON!

I said... "Press the play button!"

Oh for goodness sake !!!!!

Back to the story...............................................

So it came to pass that I had packed all my gear.
That is my gear.
Allowing for lovely weather and stuff and also rain.
I had packed cut off trousers.
I say cut off, but I mean ZIP OFF.
Cut off would be a one off exercise and then they would just be tatty shorts OK.

Anyway, enough of gear.

I caught the train to London (Kings Cross to be precise).

I was to meet Robin at Paddington.
I had the tickets all pre-booked.
I had Robin's tickets

No idea why in my mind I had decided that St Pancras was Paddington.

So anyway, at Kings Cross / St Pancras it all became obvious and I caught the tube to Paddington where I met Robin.

He was standing pretty much where he said he would be.
And as he was the only bloke there with a bleeding great rucksack it was obvious.

Lucky because I had never met Robin before

I went and bought some essential travel dringk and stuff.

Robin asked me to get him some plastic cutlery from M&S Food thingy place.
I brought him hundreds

He only wanted one so I took the rest back in a sheepish manner as I attempted to get them back into the container.

The train came.
We got on
Sat down
And travelled to Ivybridge

I can remember nothing else.

I may have used the toilet.

At Ivybridge I made a call to Lucy.
Or maybe she wanted me to call her.

Anyway I seem to remember something about needing to know if the car I had miss-fueled and then driven 6 miles before it dies in a seriously dangerous point on a busy roundabout late at night on a blind curve.
(much thanks to Cambridge constabulary who sorted me out and gave me a lift home [with the dog] and were bloody great blokes. Don't knock the police. They are just blokes like you and me doing a tough job).

But I digress.
Anyway, the call was notnhing to do with that and as such I have no bloody iea what it was about now.
I really ought to write these up just after I do them.

So after a short while we set off in good weather to head to our first nights camp.

Bear with me, I am just going to check on Robin's blog where the hell we went.
Bloody good of him to write it up first in my opinion.
Yes I know it has taken me forever, but in a Locomountaineer (aka Carl I promise to get round to writing it up honest, Mynott) time scale, I am in no pressing urgency to get this done before 2015, so I am way way way ahead of the came

The first bit was along the road, but we soon headed off road
Following the Two Moors Way

This takes you out over easy terrain up to Hangershell rock and then Piles Hill.

The sky was blue, and the grass was green, and not a Baskerville in sight.

I would love to tell you where these photos actually were, but it has been nearly 2 months now, and I have NO IDEA.

A rather nice track to walk on though eh

A Cow, or for the Scottish amongst you a COO

Green grass and fluffy clouds.
It was pretty nice

Judging the right point to descend to Piles Copse is not easy.
You cannot see exactly where it is until you have gone past it.
And that is the excuse we shall make.
Not that we were just bimbling along chatting, and overshot

So anyway, we finally looked back, and there it was
Down the hill, and far away.

View down to Piles Copse
The start of the track was an easy gradual descent.
Until you get to the bracken (Yes Carl, you would bloody love this. Waist high bracken)
I decided that I would put the bottoms on my trousers for the bracken.
Just to stop anything nasty going up my trouser leg.

And you will have to wait until day 3 to find out what evil bloody insect did!

Read On.

We descended down through the Bracken and then after skirting back traversing the bracken, we dropped down through a gap in the wall to the start of the copse.

It gets quite steep at this point, and the ground underfoot was loose leaves, bracken and other slippery leaf stuff, mixed with moss.
A potential hazard.
Time for Poles.

And after a short while we had arrived at the bottom, and now needed to seek out a suitable spot.

Plenty of water then

A rather pretty river

This could have been the ideal spot
I considered this as a pitch for the night.
However, firstly it was under a tree with some aged and less than substantial branches hanging off it.
And my recent track record with gravity, both before and after this trip was not good.
Secondly it was right next to the river, and there was already a definite abundance of insect life.
I am normally pretty ok with insects and such.
Having said that, Dartmoor insect do seem to have an affinity for me.

Looking up the track from my actual pitch

My pitch away from the tree and INSECTS (or was it?)
 After getting Wendy Up (by the way she had not been re-tensioned in that photo, so no comments you elitist perfect fucking pitch people. (Mention No names).
I went for a wander up the track past Robin's tent.
I say tent, he had a Duomid made of Crisp Packets.
I nice erection, but give me my Wendy Warmlite any day.
She is just soooo accommodating.

Another potential area to pitch a bit further up.
Well, apart from the Cow Shit
So it was time to make some food or something.
Tonight was NOT a cooking night.
I had bought and thus brought with me real solid food to eat in the form of PIE.
None of that powdered shit tonight.

Mind you, I did have 40ml of Whisky.
Now where the ***K did I put that.

I wandered back to my tent, stopping at Robin's to make him come out and get attacked by midges.
They did seem to be getting quite abundant as the sun went down.
A nice breeze would have been good.
I zipped up my windproof jacket, and also lit a couple of Citronella Joss sticks by the tent.
They do seem to work, but by Christ they have a strong smell.

So chat and stuff, and then back to the tent to zip myself in.

And that was it.
We had made camp on Day 0.

Not sure what I did in the tent.
Listened to music I think.

We were NOT going to have an early start tomorrow.
Robin does NOT do early starts.

No, he does early waking, but not early leaving.

We planned to leave at 9.00 or maybe 9.30.

Bloody works for me.
Top job
Lie in.

It would drive Sloman absolutely bonkers!
And that was back when he had NO energy at all.

Now he is firing on 3 cylinders he would apoplectic.

And I went to sleep............................................................

Tick Tock ... Tick Tock... Tick Tock.... Tick Tock..............


It transpired that Robin had been up for hours and explored most of Wessex before I got out of my tent.

All that being said I was NOT late for the departure time.

far from it.

And so we broke camp, and headed up through the copse, back to the gap in the wall, and then across and up to pick up the track again.

Strangely it seemed less distance on the way back up.
maybe it was

Back on track, looking down to the river after Piles Copse

"What are those strange looking things?"

So cute
And to think some evil bastards are poaching these

Robin attempts to escape
but I reeled him back in.

The small pool near the old workings about 1 km beyond three barrows.

Nice view.
No bloody idea where

We carried on up to Erme Pits and Erme Head a bit damper underfoot, and the track was not as easy to spot.
I say damper, I seem to remember a really really wet bit that involved trudging through long grass, and plunging feet into nasty puddles that you couldn't see. I was following Robin at the time, so it was all his fault. After that, the path improved, and we headed over to Great Gnats’ Head. Luckily NO GNATS, but quite a few Dartmoor ponies

We carried on

and eventually after ascending a short hilly bit, we arrived at our lunch spot at Nun's Cross Farm.

That's me that is!
Robin sat near the wall.
I faffed about, which is what I do when I stop.
This included buggering about with the entire contents of my pack and also a serious underwear faff.
Comfort is paramount.

Get over it!!

There appeared to be some people sitting further up the hill.
They didn't come down.
Mind you, we didn't go up.

I had something for lunch and something to drink.
It was weeks ago.
How the hell am I expected to remember? EH?

By the time we headed off, the ladies had gone, and the family that were by the cross (see picture shortly) had headed south.

The Cross at the start of the track just past the farm

Heading North.
Actually much of it was heading North

Approaching South Hessary Tor
It was a nice walk up to the Tor, which unfortunately was over run with people of all ages. I didn't get where I am in the world with socialising with people up mountains.
We doffed our caps as a gesture and hurried on, leaving the Tor over-run with all ages and other peoples children.

And then we cracked on over the hill to Princeton.
An interesting but somewhat GREY vista dominated by the prison

Dropping down to Princeton
On arriving at Princeton, there were 2 choices

1. Go to the shop
2. Go to the Pub

Now, as luck would have it, the PUB was first in terms of buildings we encountered, so in we went.
I could not tempt Robin into beer, so I bought 2 teas, and a pint of Shandy for me.
There was still a way to go today, and the forecast was for precipitation.

At the pub there was a very strange Irish woman.
Not running it, just stereo-typically downing Guinness.
And I don;r mean that, that is what Irish people do.
I mean that it is the comic stereotype
A brash noisy slightly inebriated lady as far as I could see.

Anyway, she did us no harm apart from the volume.

I had my pint of shandy, which dealt with the first 2 minutes.
Then we had a cup of tea.

The weather looked a bit cooler, and it was fingers crossed as to whether we would get weather.

We headed off into town to the Spa shop, or whatever store it was.
I bought special offer drinks (non alcoholic) and some chocolate, or something.
Robon also got some stuff.

I made a phone call to Lucy to see how the car was.
Apparently it had survived the miss-fuel and was OK
Bloody result that.

We then discussed bathroom flooring and stuff, rather than any of that affectionate I miss you so stuff.

And then we headed off up towards the large, meaning LARGE mast.

On our way up we passed through this farm, where they were shearing sheep.
(I pinched this photo from Robin's Blog)

If Al had been here, we may have failed to get past. He is not good with livestock.
Especially Cooooos!

Robin's Photo of the Shearing

On our way to Great Mis Tor.
This may be somewhere else.
Robin will correct me if I am wrong.

I probably ned to go back and do it again.

Distant clouds hinted at rain.
But we appeared to be lucky
Approaching Great Mis Torr

At the Tor, I scrambled to the top, with pack.
Robin joined me, then went back down to get his pack, while I trundled off heading Errrr North...ish?

Robin heading down to get his gear

Balancing Rocks at Great Mis Tor
From here we started to descend down to find our intended camp site.
This entailed a bit of a traverse of the hill side to find the best route down.

Eventually Robin spotted his camp spot, and we dropped down to the river Walkham and set up camp.
It took little time to find a decent flat spot, and then Wendy was up and kit was in.
A bit more airflow tonight, so not so many midges annoying me

Looking back up the hill
As the sun began to set it was time for a spot of food.
It was just a short hop down the river to get water.
Probably drinkable from the stream here, but I boiled it all anyway.
Can't remember what the meal was.
I believe another Adventure Food meal from Outdoors Grub.
I had to eat those cos they were close to the best before date.
Like I worry about those date?????

By the time food was down the hatch, the sun was going down behind us.

And soon it was time to get into the tent.
A few midges had arrived as the wind dropped and the sun dropped over the horizon

I snuggled down into Wendy.
Admittedly, she is not a real woman.
But on a plus point, she keeps me warm and cosy, and does NAG my arse off either.

I turned on the digital Musak, and lay down to sleep.

OK, in reality I faffed about for hours with kit and shit.
Went out for water.
Had a pee.
Looked at maps.
Had a wee dram or 11.
Listened to music

etc etc etc............................

I mean what do YOU do in a tent to pass the time.
No on second thoughts, I really really do NOT want to know.

And eventually at some point I went to sleep

Tomorrow we will have a fine day, and I will plunge up to my nadgers in nasty smelly bog (such is life) :-)