Released onto Dartmoor

It’s been a long time coming, the first backpacking trip of the year. The intention always was to let the initial mad rush subside and then go, and it was handy that this tied in with the usual August non-firing on Dartmoor.

The four of us were due to meet up in March to do the Perambulation, but obviously that didn’t happen, and instead of attempting it now, we decided to defer it and just make something up instead. So we did.

We met up in Belstone, downed a few ciders, and then headed off onto the moor.

First drink at a pub since lockdown
The “Merchant”, “Moor Man” and “Giant” leading us onto the Moor

Our 3 day/night route took us along the valley bottom to Taw Marsh before climbing up to the Stone Circle and Hound Tor. We then followed the ridge over Wild Tor to Hangingstone Hill, before striking west via Cranmere Pool to the Kneesets, Little and Great. Green Tor and Bleak House came next before walking around Great Links to Arms. The route continued north to Sourton Tors before dipping into the valley of the West Okement for a look at Blackator Copse and then a hard pull up onto Black Tor itself. We finished off with a walk over the High Willhays to Yes Tor ridge before dropping back down to Belstone by way of West Mill Tor and Scarey Tor.

There were sunsets. There was more rain than forecast and it was spread across the weekend. The soaking we got on Sunday lunchtime was particularly irksome, the rest was barely noticed. After a faltering start, I found I still had some hill fitness (dare I say, even being at the front sometimes!).

Anyway, enough words, here’s some pictures of the trip.

As someone will no doubt ask, shelters are from left to right: MLD Duomid, MLD Supertarp, Pretents Soloist, Six Moons Lunar Solo

The camps were great, but while much of the country was experiencing the hottest days of the year, I was retiring to my shelter as soon as I could because I was feeling cold. I packed a bit too summery for this trip, but it was bearable.

There were a few people out, including a group of 3 tents not far away from us the first night. And subsequently I’ve heard that the “usual” places were busy too. We didn’t see much evidence of others apart from a couple of instances of poorly executed toileting. Although I’m reading today that Bellever Tor was overwhelmed to the extent that the National Park have actually banned camping there for the rest of the month. Avoiding those easy to reach honeypots and all the people that come with them was very much the objective of this trip, and why we chose the North Moor (as well as it being the best bit anyway!).

Leave no trace

I took a few items of gear, that hadn’t had much of a chance to be used so far. My new Atom Mo 50 was comfortable and carried everything well. My ULA Circuit that has now done three TGO Challenges is, as a result, feeling worried about its position.

The Pretents Soloist was on its first proper backpacking outing and did well. A special post on it will follow soon. Suffice to say it stood up to the conditions well, and although I still think it could do with a bit more length in the inner, it wasn’t too much of a problem. What I really noticed on this trip was how modest its footprint is. Being pitched next to Jason’s Duomid and Darren’s Supertarp helped show that.

So the first trip of the new world is done. And yes, I’m looking forward to the next one. Although where that will be I’m not quite sure yet.

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