365 days. 8760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 2014 has finally reached it's conclusion. Time to reflect on what has been another year on Dartmoor, letterboxing. Last Winter's storms gave way for a long settled Summer, and a dry Autumn which enabled long and enjoyable days on the Moor. Perfect for photography too!
This year has marked the passing of several well known letterboxers. These include Derek Newman who sadly passed away in October. Derek famously married his partner Caroline Atchley at the remote Keble Martin Chapel in 1990, after they met whilst letterboxing. In November, letterboxer Mary Restell died tragically in a diving accident in Gloucestershire. An accident that left her husband Roy serious injured, but he is recovering.
On the Moor we have bid farewell this year to the poles and power lines that stretched across Walkhampton Common to Princetown. This year also saw the removal of Dartmoor's smallest cross. As the legacy of Bill Northmore: Hand Hill Cross was cemented to a prominent rock overlooking Fox Tor Mire. Unfortunately it was presumed snapped off and lost in November. Letterbox clues will never be the same again.
The theft of people's property remains a constant threat to this great hobby and the world of Dartmoor letterboxing still grapples to deal with the Dartmoor Letterbox Thief (DLT). The disappearing boxes result in suspicion and loss of trust in fellow boxer. Note to all letterbox thieves out there: One day you will be found and face justice - theft is a crime. Thieves will never succeed wiping out Dartmoor letterboxing.
My 2014 in review:
Number of letterbox walks completed: 18
Number of letterboxes found: 249. Leaving the grand total found at 15140 stamps.
Letterboxes sited: I've sited 13. Of which 12 were subsequently recovered. One missing, presumed stolen.
Distance walked: Unknown. Without GPS has meant that I can merely speculate about the distance I have covered.
Most successful walk/Most enjoyable days letterboxing: In terms of boxes, it'll be the walk from Fernworthy to Cut Hill and back in the footsteps of letterbox pioneer James Perrott. In terms of number of boxes found, and as a complete day's walk this was by far the successful and enjoyable for me this year. Cut Hill makes such a fantastic target for a long walk on a sunny day. I highly recommend it.
Least successful walk: Littaford Tor January 2014. Horrendous weather. Horrendous clues (when you don't have a GPS!).
This year I have fallen completely for the social media outlet that is Twitter, which has opened up opportunities to support the future of letterboxing. Interesting and exciting links have been made this way and I look forward to making more. Follow me there @ twitter.com/witc_ian
My WITC blog, incredibly, is about to enter a 5th year of existence and I'm as keen as ever to continue posting. Two letterbox series have already been prepared for siting in the next 12 months.
Happy New Year to all my blog readers.