Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Stamps... and stamps

Stamp collecting! It's something that WITC always avoids comparisons with when describing Letterboxing.

However, then WITC searched Taw Marsh on the internet whilst researching another post. Taw Marsh was one of the first Dartmoor Letterboxes sited and low and behold, a copy of its stamp was up for sale. For £1.

Also on sale was another envelope with many other original Dartmoor Letterbox stamps printed upon it. Since the postmark is from the late 1970s, this is a piece of Dartmoor heritage. It should not be for sale for £1.75 simply for the value of its Silver Jubilee postage stamp.

Perhaps you saw these items on a well known Stamp Collector's shopping website too.

Please don't misunderstand me. We are not intending to claim these stamps as found on the moor. They are reclaimed for the world of Dartmoor Letterboxing. Rescued from worlds in which they do not belong. Grants Pot, Ducks Pool, Crow Tor... inky words on paper which would have little relevance in households not involved in our little hobby. Here they have meaning and a presence that is worth more than a thousand other finds.

The Queens head in the corner has kept them safe for decades, but it is whats on the envelopes that will ensure their survival now.

No. Dartmoor Letterboxing is nothing like stamp collecting.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Vixen Tor and other restrictions

Hmmm... WITC are reconsidering their Tor owning ambitions (see post 18th October 2010).

Vixen Tor continues to make the news. Access to this peak was closed to walkers in 2003. The owners decided that if they can own a Tor that it was too dangerous for walkers and climbers to visit it. Prior to 2003, paths were open to the public for decades and evidence suggests that historic rights of way passed the tor. Citing insurance reasons, barbed wire and keep out signs now surround the spectacular rock pile.

Attempts made by UN negotiator Colonel Bob Stewart, a Channel 5 documentary, the British Mountaineering Council, several mass tresspasses and Dartmoor National Park all failed to resolve the matter. Devon County Council's recommendation to allow public access to the Tor was successfully appealed by the owner. Then the Planning Inspectorate began a public inquiry into the issue. First the inquiry ran out of time to hear all the evidence, then the resumption of the hearing was cancelled due to December's adverse weather. News broke last week that yet another new date for the continued hearing has been scheduled for July 2011.

This made us think of Dave Bellamy's brazenly cheerful "accessing" activity on his web-page: http://www.davebellamy.co.uk/Views/tors_with_restricted_access.asp. Lets hope that July brings a successful conclusion to Vixana's sorry saga, and that we can finally lawfully hike to Vixen Tor, eh Dave?

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Out with the old?

Thanks to a bout of sickness, excess Wintry weather, and other commitments, WITC has been anywhere but Dartmoor recently.

We did squeeze out on a walk recently from Pork Hill. Up to the Staple Tors and Roos Tor returning via Merrivale Quarry. It is an area of the Moor which is ever so familiar to us. For this reason we have a strange not-so-pleasant relationship with it. A kind of novelty-worn-off-long-ago, unexciting kind of familiarity that makes us kind of ashamed and embarrassed to admit it. There are many places on Dartmoor we have prefer to visit, are yet to visit, with hidden corners to search and distant peat banks to prod. Suffice to say, it has been a long time since we enjoyed the Staple Tors.

Perhaps we are being little harsh on the Walkham valley. WITC have maybe overdone it, BUT the views here are tremendous looking both East and West, and the local hostelry is excellent. In the curious Sett Makers Bankers, there no shortage of unique antiquities. The going is comparatively easy and you never come off the moor disappointed by the quantity of boxes found (though quality can be an issue sometimes, perhaps??)

We also were dismayed to see a Geocache hidden in a Sett Makers Banker. No, we didn't remove it., but thats a whole different discussion.

Our route ended with a well earned drink at the Dartmoor Inn. 23 boxes found.