Dartmoor Tramping (part two)

IMG_1817Overnight 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

DSC00165After crossing the stream, we made our way up the East Dart River towards Sandy Hole Pass. This was a delightful walk, despite the gloomy weather.

Looking down the East Dart River

DSC00168All too soon we reached our crossing point at the waterfall marked on the map. As we got to the far side, it began to spot with rain, so it was on with the overtrousers.

East Dart waterfall

DSC00169As we walked up Broad Down we were exposed to the full force of the freshening wind. When we crested the rise, it started to rain in earnest.

Lower and Higher White Tor

IMG_1819Although 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

IMG_1823The 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

IMG_1824We 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.

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5 thoughts on “Dartmoor Tramping (part two)”

  1. Shame about the litter but Teignhead is a popular camping spot. I suspect the culprits are Army cadets, judging from the boilie and biscuit wrappers I found jammed in the crevices of the walls. Proper squaddies would not have such poor field craft skills.

  2. hi, guessing you parked in the car park by Brenamoor common just north of the village? if so, could you let me know what it costs and whether it seems a relatively safe place to leave your car there for a few days? cheers, steve m.

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