This is the fourth year in a row that I’ve been to Dartmoor in April. In 2011, I had a whole day washed out. In 2012, on my TGO Challenge warm-up, I had the stormiest night I think I’ve ever known and my Duomid sprung a leak. Last year was actually OK. This year, it started fair on Thursday, but started to go down hill on Friday lunchtime when the rain came in. Friday mid afternoon through to mid evening there was a respite. Friday night and early Saturday morning, there was heavy rain and wind. It then cleared to just showery and windy. By around 2 p.m. on Saturday, I had reached my intended camping spot. I put up the Trailstar in a strong wind and for the next three hours it absolutely bucketed down with ferocious wind. Around 5 p.m. it cleared for about an hour and then it started to rain again. The wind died down but it rained all night until about 7 a.m. There was a brief break and then there was more light rain as I packed up. By this time paths had become streams. This is the path on Sunday morning down to Taw Marsh ford.
When I got to the ford, there were some Ten Tors marshals on the other bank. “Can you do front crawl?”, one of them quipped. The joke was on them when I dug out my waders and crossed the ford dry-footed. They had been camping below Watern Tor and their pitch partially flooded. “The worst night’s camping I can remember for a long time”, one of them opined. I felt I’d got away quite lightly, with only a few drips in my Trailstar (needs a little more seam sealing). It was an excellent test for gear and practice for the TGO Challenge. What’s the current weather forecast for the Challenge? Solid rain for the first three days. At least I know what to take. A full write up will follow soon.