Wednesday, 23 May 2012

DARTMOOR PERAMBULATION (part one)

'BASE CAMP' AT EAST OKEMENT  FARM
I got back from the BPC Dorset Group's Dartmoor Perambulation late Sunday afternoon. 
This was the first multi day backpack over rough country that I had done since my accident and cancer diagnosis. 
I must admit that I was apprehensive before the trip and I did struggle a bit over the roughest sections of the route, although looking back on the trip as a whole I feel that I did reasonably well. 


Up to about four years ago I was completing a multi day backpack every three to four weeks so it was probably expecting a lot to sail through this after such a long break. 
By the time we finished each days section I must admit that I was ready to stop walking and put up the tent and crawl inside.....crawl being the correct word..! 
STONE CIRCLE BETWEEN HOUND & LITTLE HOUND TOR'S
 We arrived at East Okement farm on the Monday afternoon...camped there overnight and left the vehicles there while we did the perambulation. 


Peter and I were a bit slow on the Tuesday morning in breaking camp....
John Yale who had arranged the trip was working on a backpackers start time of between 0900/0930hrs....
Peter and I are pre-programmed for a (cycle touring) 1000hrs start. 
When we realised everyone else was ready for the off, we told them to go on ahead and we would catch them up. 


Well, we never managed to catch them up that first day and when we got to the first nights wild camp they told us that they had arrived about half an hour before us. Unlike cycling, when backpacking you have little chance of catching up.......we made sure that we broke camp earlier for the rest of the trip
PART OF WATERN TOR
 Weather wise we were pretty lucky...we had no real rain to speak of.....not in Dartmoor terms.
 It did rain apparently overnight on our last night but I certainly didn't hear it.....and we also had a little bit of drizzle during one of the days. 


The going underfoot on Dartmoor tends to be wet what ever the weather and this trip was no different. It's a bit like walking on a wet sponge....for a lot of the time you get a lovely squelchy sound every time you put your foot down. 


About half of us were wearing boots and gaiters- the other half had chosen to wear ultra lightweight Inov-8 trainer style footwear and they spent most of the week with wet feet and socks.(This is intended apparently) 
They tell me that this is the best footwear to walk in these days. 


I am not convinced..not on Dartmoor. On a National trail with a track or similar for most of the route I would be and am happy to wear ultralight footwear, but in my opinion Dartmoor is better walked in boots. 
The thought of walking with wet feet just does not appeal to me although I know many will disagree.
FIRST NIGHTS WILD CAMP- HEWLAKE
 One thing that did come as a major shock was when we arrived at the stepping stones at Week Ford. 
Four years ago I would have hopped from boulder to boulder without giving it a thought. 
On this trip I arrived at the stones, looked at them...looked at the river and just froze.... 
I found that I had lost my nerve and confidence....what a wimp!! 
I don't know why and have never had a problem in over fifty years of backpacking...but there I was...... frozen!!  
Brian had to help me across. 


Four years of no real backpacking has obviously taken it's toll in some unusual ways.... It was the same sort of feeling that I had regarding descending on the bike after my accident.....I overcame that so let's hope I can overcome this.
JILL HELPING JOHN YET AGAIN - HOW DOES HE DO IT?
 I have shown just a few of the 124 images I took on the trip and I will post some more of the photographs in next Wednesday's post. 
Most of the images I took were in monochrome and I will post some of those pictures on my Aura of Past Shadows photo blog over the coming weeks.........
THE GROUP AT THE LONGSTONE -
(The power of standing stones....see how it makes everyone lean  in the same direction that it leans..!!)

AT STONE CIRCLE NEAR SOUSSONS DOWN

SECOND  NIGHTS WILD CAMP AT BELLEVER

ANOTHER VIEW AT BELLEVER

PETER COLLECTING WATER AT THE BELLEVER WILD CAMP

4 comments:

rlove2bike said...

This looks to be a fun and interesting time. I have never did a overnight hike, but it sounds nice. Walking in wet shoes does not sound appealing to me either. I really enjoy your post and looking at the pictures.

Thanks for another superb post!!

Steve A said...

Cool. Also raises equipment questions such as the balance you strive for between weight and ruggedness. I sense a "words from an expert" post coming up?

Marsha said...

Beautiful area!!

Chandra said...

Trevor,
That looks like a cool hiking trip, although rugged in some places. I used to go for day hikes in St. Louis. I miss doing that here in Texas - too hot and too many bugs!

I think I will do some photography this long weekend though.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Paz :)