Overnight the wind had swung round to a more westerly direction, but it wasn’t raining yet, despite an early touch of hill fog. After breakfast the cloud base lifted a bit and we packed away. Before leaving, I did a bit of Wombling, clearing some orange peel and tea bags which had been dumped by a rock.
East Dart River
Looking down the East Dart River
East Dart waterfall
Lower and Higher White Tor
Although it was a bit of a slog to Lower White Tor, the conditions underfoot weren’t too bad and we managed to pick up a few tracks. The path over Lower and Higher White Tors is more heavily used and consequently more boggy. By now, the wind was quite strong and cold, so I had to put some gloves on.
Despite the deteriorating weather, the cloud base was still above the tops and the walk to Longaford and Littaford Tors was enjoyable. The descent to Two Bridges offered a modicum of shelter. Nevertheless we were glad to make our lunch stop at the Two Bridges Hotel.
Lunch at the Two Bridges Hotel
The Two Bridges Hotel is a fine establishment and is very welcoming to walkers (a sign outside states “muddy boots welcome”). The staff weren’t fazed by two dripping wet backpackers. We had a superb lunch and I’m definitely going to include the hotel on future walks on Dartmoor.
As you can imagine, it was difficult to get going again. However, we struggled back into our wet weather gear. By this time, the rain had intensified and the cloud base had lowered. Originally, I had planned to go over Beardown Tors, but had also plotted a more sheltered route in case the weather was poor.
Given the conditions we took the easy route. After a short walk up the B3357, we turned north up a newly tarmacked track. Unfortunately the shelter belt of trees which would have given us some protection from the wind had been largely cut down.
At Holming Beam, we turned onto the path leading to the delightfully named Black Dunghill. The track was badly churned up, presumably by squaddies on exercise.
Somewhere near Black Dunghill
We made our way across Blackbrook Head to the River Walkham and then to our intended camping spot opposite Greena Ball. Unfortunately, because it was so misty, I couldn’t spot the grassy terrace where I had intended us to camp. Fortunately, Alan spotted a reasonable alternative near the old settlements marked on the map.
The wind and rain were now ferocious and it was quite a struggle to put up the Duomid, especially as the ground was a bit uneven. Eventually, I got a reasonable pitch. I filled my Platypus water bladders and collapsed into the tent.
One final indignity was my freeze-dried dinner (Mountain Trails Beef Risotto), which was totally tasteless. The rain and wind continued until about one o’clock in the morning, but the Duomid stayed firm. At least I was dry and warm and the forecast for the next day was much better.