Dartmoor 2010

A glorious autumn weekend up on Dartmoor, staying in a bunkhouse near the East Dart River and enjoying the moor with a group of mates. We met up in the Warren House Inn on Friday evening and were out hiking all day Saturday. There was hardly anyone else out on the moor despite the fine weather, a sharp contrast to the traffc on the roads! I enjoyed a couple of fantastic sunrises and a couple of short night hikes under the harvest Full Moon.

The journey down was dreadful, probably my worst and longest car trip down to Devon ever. Lots of traffic on the A303 from Stonehenge onwards, a couple of accidents on the dual carriageway stretches but finally Exeter and the supermarket at Alphington Road that is still being refurbished.

The skies were clearing as dusk fell and, as I was late, I met the guys in the Warren House Inn rather than at the bunkhouse. Rabbit pie was good and it was fully dark when I finally got to the bunkhouse to enjoy some cans around the wood stove. Great to be out of The Smoke of London and great to be with a group of mates, half of whom I know already and half only through internet messages.

We were awoken in the middle of the night by a nearly full moon shining through the skylights. Going outside, the stars and planets were showing good and bright through the still night air. Reassured, back to sleep.

Dawn found me outside with my camera enjoying the light show in the sky and the sound show as the animals sensed the start of another day. The line of fiery red sunlight crept down from the surrounding tors, building in brightness and getting more white as it progressed.

Back at the bunkhouse, Scott was cooking up a tasty breakfast of bacon and eggs from his own Rhode Island Red hens.

We went out for a long hike over the moor, setting out from the bunkhouse in sunshine though there was a bit of a brisk wind from the North. Round to the very pretty valley of the East Dart river and then upstream towards the Grey Wethers double stone circle.

Then a route heading back across the moor, which needs compass navigation; it was satisfying to find the landmarks coming in to view directly in front of us and good practice of my navigation skills, even though this was brilliant autumn weather. We found the waterfall high up in the East Dart River deep in the moor and something like eight tors, depending on what you count as a tor.

Weary boots back at the bunkhouse and many tired but happy faces. Some one later nicely mentioned me in his email thanking all, specially John for making it a lot safer and a lot more challenging.

Evening meal, a lot of bunkhouse chat and camaraderie, some went out for an evening hike in the light of the harvest full moon, a couple of us went out in the middle of the night and some shorter hikes on Sunday before heading back home.