Beyond Middle Tor, and the restoration of the box there, I had an entire walk to do. My ultimate goal was Watern Tor, for I really do love that place. The solitude, the geology, the views, are quite special. Along the way, there would be two crossings of the unique Manga Rails, a visit to the obscure ruin of Will May's House and a fly-by of the iconic Kes Tor.
On a hot, still day like this, I'd expect crowds but beyond Shovel Down's antiquities, I was almost alone in the hills. Among the gorse above the North Teign River, not to far from the Rails, a green tent was pitched - entirely legitimately. The drum-taut guy lines indicated to me that it was not abandoned. It was an eerie outpost of civilisation, and one that made me consider how long a tent would (could) remain pitched and unsearched out here. I, for one, would feel deeply uncomfortable unzipping a tent door just out of curiosity.
Will May was an 18th century peat cutter from Chagford. His tiny "house" was actually only a shelter, but a very well preserved one at that, on the slopes overlooking the the Mire to the East of Watern Tor. A number of boxes are sited for this ruin, although none are located too close to it.
Watern Combe featured on my walk, and this small valley was a suntrap today. Often overlooked by Letterboxers, this was a successful diversion for me. One box in this combe was last found two years previously, and averaged fewer than 1 visit per year over the last decade. Far from the madding crowds indeed!
I paused and considered my return route from the Thirlestone outcrop on Watern. By following the back to Frenchbeer, I was sure of a worn path, but a more hilly, more zig-zag route.
By contouring around hills, and flanking Kes Tor, I'd be on a smoother, potentially faster path. So it was this route I chose. It still took 90 minutes to return to the car though.
11 Letterboxes found.