Any of you living in the UK will have noticed the rain and wind on Saturday (3rd). I watched the weather forecast, and since the 3rd was my spare time day I went anyway and dragged Pete into it as well. Nobody else seemed to want to come?? So it was off to Dartmoor, North East side and a little village called Teigncombe as a starting point.
Dartmoor is a place to test things, on a wet and windy day, we tested our navigation under duress. We tested our wet weather gear, our boots, and our willingness to be there when most other people stayed at home. The plan was a ten-mile circle taking in Kestor and its rock basin. The stone alignments and what-nots on shovel down. Then open moor to another settlement followed by a waterfall on the Teign river. Where we would execute a crossing over the rocks or ford or something to be decided when we got there. From there head north around the high ground to avoid some bogs and drop south to the Scorehill Circle, recross the river and head home after a satisfying day out. This plan went well until we got to the river.
Two days of rain had pushed up the river level beyond the roll your trousers up and carry your boots level. It went beyond the rope and loops I carried in case of a difficult water crossing or something going wrong. It was high and fast, bouncing over the rocks and drowning conversation let alone people trying to get across. Plan B then, the footbridge half a mile upstream. A stomp along the squelchy banks and slopes, hopping around, through and tip-toeing over pools and spreading river edges.
We were dismayed, but not surprised to find the footbridge struggling, more than was reasonable considering we had come all that way to cross it. The level area surrounding the far side was an expanding river Teign. A prod with a stick at arm’s length went in about two feet. The pull was strong even where the river was wide, and the draw under the Clapper bridge was immense.
Now we needed a plan C. And any plan is better after food and coffee in the shade of scented pines with the sun dappling the ground, or, as in our case, hiding in a pine plantation from the wind and rain eating a picnic and clutching a cup to stop it blowing away. We decided to attack the circle from the other direction, cross the moor to Batsworthy Corner again and head north to the end of our walk, Scorhill Circle. Crossing the Teign further downstream across a series of Footbridges marked nicely on the map (I know). Wind buffeted, rained on, yet undeterred we found the bridges, and the disconnected Islands between them. We could see the circle half a mile away across the river, but once again water stopped our progress, we hunted the hummocks for a way to cross, watched the water pouring over the rocks, listened to it raising the roof in its hunt for lower ground. This time we admitted it was not happening today. A decision was made. Sadly, we turned towards the car to go find a pub (A nice pub called the Sandy Inn) and a pint of Dartmoor Jail Ale before heading back up the M5 and home.
Not quite the day we had planned, but a great day out in some wild weather and a visit to some more of Dartmoor’s ancient landmarks. I am fascinated by the amount around on the moors here. Most are easy to find and it is great to trace the layers of humanity that have created our countryside. The pubs are pretty good places to visit too.
Happy New Year everyone, I am leaving Facebook for a while and trying to concentrate on my blog and writing, so hopefully you my audience will benefit and enjoy.
Sometimes it is good to get out in the rain and splash in the puddles