The near constant North-Easterly winds of the last month have been good news for one group of Dartmoor enthusiasts. The paragliders in Corn Hole, above Shelstone Tor. We have witnessed them here many times, and at Brat Tor also, when the Westerlies blow in. It looks like an amazing way to see the moor. It also gives them a birds eye view of letterboxing, as we realised this week.
Anyone who has done the Mercy Ships charity walk around the North end of Corn Ridge will be aware of the close proximity between the boxes, and how it strikes across the hillside towards Sourton Tors. This is paraglider territory (although a few of them did get carried up to a good altitude on the thermals and disappeared off over the ridge). Generally, they are silent, except for the barely audible beeps of their variometers. It is often their fast moving shadows casting on the hillside which make you aware of their presence.
Shelstone Tor gave us an opportunity to shelter from the breeze and from the gaze from above.
We had chosen to extend our walk to cover more of the West Okement Valley and finished the route with an impressive total of 45 stamps.
The cool wind had evidently discouraged many walkers from the valley, and since the ominous grey clouds did not produce any rain, we were delighted. On a quiet day in the area, I hope we kept the paragliders entertained, as they did us.