Sunday, 27 February 2011

Grey Links

On our most recent walk, WITC headed back out into familiar North West territory. Great Links Tor, Rattlebrook Hill and Bleak House were our primary objectives.

The weather itself seemed perfectly greyscale. The showers arrived late in the day, and brought a swift conclusion to proceedings. WITC's eternal, end-of-the-day mantra of' 'just one more box' was still repeated and duly ignored.

Our route passed South of Brat Tor and up to Rattlebrook Hill flagpole. WITC passed by here once before a long time ago en-route to a wild camp at Fur Tor.

Descending to the Rattle Brook and the ruins of Bleak House aka Dunnagoat Cottage, we were a bit surprised to see walls still standing! This after reading a few years back about significant collapses and 'days numbered' for Dartmoor's ruins.

The house was a home to the manager of the West of England Compressed Peat Company. A branch off the London and South West Railway from Bridestowe wound its way up here. It must have been an astonishing investment of labour and money, and for little reward. The industry was very short lived, and despite several attempts to restart operations, was doomed to fail. Only when the Rattlebrook tramline closed in 1931, and British Army destroyed the
dangerously unstable remains of the Works in the 1960s did Mother Nature firmly regain her grip.

It looked like our success was about to be cut short too. We had made it to Hunt Tor before the rains came, and we hastily retreated back to the car. A pleasing day though: 5 miles and 17 boxes found.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Save Castle Drogo

As Englands 'newest' castle, it is a fascinating place and an iconic and important location for Dartmoor. Castle Drogo even has a few letterboxes to its credit. However a new fundraising campaign has stated "Help or its game over".

With this in mind, WITC thought we should lend our support to the National Trust's campaign to save Castle Drogo in its latest battle for survival. If you have missed the news, Edwin Lutyen's building is in danger due to its flat roofed construction and poor state of repair. The windows, pointing and roof are leaking and it will require a super-human effort and a lot of fundraising to make it good again.

On Friday February 11th, a public appeal began with the intention of raising £1.5million as part of a larger sum required to make permanent repairs and save Castle Drogo forever. Please check out the support website:

Friday, 4 February 2011

The future of Dartmoor letterboxing

Welcome to the fortune teller! Come in, and gaze into the crystal ball... This is the future of letterboxing...

It will begin with a makeover - as most things do. Adopting initials like DLB (Dartmoor Letter Boxing) will make it seem fresh and inviting. The 100 club will go online. Your unique membership number will grant you access to online cluesheets and catalogue. Meets will be more frequent and more local. With more online communication, unmaintained boxes will be harder to forgive. With more local meets, the word of mouth clue scene will blossom. The younger generation will adopt letterboxing. Geocaching will be kept at bay again. 10 figure grid references will vanish so to banish the LBT (letterbox thief). Stamping up and posting on postcards make a comeback in honour of James Perrott and the pioneering days of letterboxing...

Is all this impossible? I don't think so. I've seen the future. Its LBNA (Letterboxing North America). Since our hobby transferred to the New World some 13 years ago, it might have experienced a few amendments and alterations (Not many bearings here!), but I think we can learn a lot from them. WITC has yet to try American letterboxing, but are due to visit the the USA and attempt it later this year!