Saturday, 6 November 2010

Southern comfort

This week WITC rolled up their sleeves, put their heads down and stomped into the wilderness of the Southern moor.

Starting at Gutter Tor and aiming for Plym Head to start. Our one and only encounter with a badger on Dartmoor was in this area - at Evilcombe - but many years ago. On this occasion, we weren't that lucky. The hunt was out, and the hounds were inadvertently rounding the scattered grazing sheep up into a huge flock which was then hurried from the Plym valley to the Erme.

At Plym Head, having failed to find the rain guage, we turned for Green Hill and Blacklane Brook. Its a barren land of long grass and big skies. And few letterboxes. We bypassed Ducks Pool and went West to Philpotts cave, and crossed Blacklane Brook, where WITC once camped out for a night.

Grants Pot. This curious little overgrown cave/adit entrance - home to one of Dartmoor's first letterboxes. We dared ourselves to go in this time, but the dripping water and pitch darkness meant we chickened out at the entrance.

From here, its a leisurely stroll over the hill and down to Erme Pits. This is almost as remote as the South Moor gets. One can only picture how this area would have been in centuries past. A colossal eyesore, probably. Now, green mounds and scattered rockfaces and boulders round the rough edges.

We followed the Abbots Way back to Plym Ford and then the Eylesbarrow track back to Gutter Tor car park. 12 miles covered, which in these short days made us happy. 25 boxes found.

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