Sunday, 10 April 2011

Friday, 8th April 2011

Back to the South Moor for a letterbox walk and another property to consider (post lottery win!)

As you drive towards Harford from the West, after passing through the picturesque village of Cornwood, you pass a particularly manicured area of parkland. On the right, and out of sight of the road is the impressive Manor of Blachford.

If you've ever been to Langcombe Head between the Rivers Plym and Yealm, or to Broad Rock near Erme Pits, then you have walked on the ancient boundary of this property. The BB inscription on their rocks standing for Blachford Bounds.

It is an impressive estate, with a fascinating history and long list of former residents, from the Prior of Plympton (14th Century), to the barons and MPs of the Rogers family (look them up). The current owner has completely refurbished the near 18000 sq ft mansion, and revamped the entire estate's land.

Savills estate agents have it advertised asking for offers over £8 million.

Back to the walk though, and on another beautiful day, we were up at Harford Moor Gate to turn a short charity walk into a slightly longer route encompassing Sharp Tor, Piles Corner, Three Barrows, Piles Hill, Hangershell Rock, Butterdon, Weatherdon and Tor Rocks. Its a great area to walk, with the terrain fairly easy, and usually, a lot of success letterboxing. It was true today, with 36 boxes found.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Wednesday, 6th April 2011

WITC headed up to Cox Tor and Roos Tor today. One of our objectives was a celebrationary letterbox walk sited for another letterboxer.

It was the warmest day of the year so far - the forecasters predicted. They probably were right.
We've enjoyed the driest March in decades and a nice, warm start to April - so we searched high and low for signs Spring on Dartmoor. Apart from a heavily pregnant pony, there were not many visible signs on the ridge above the Walkham: no lambs, no flowers, and no obvious change in colours.

So apart from the sunny view, the most seasonal image we could identify and photograph was the hairy larvae of a butterfly - more commonly known as a furry caterpillar! At this time of the year they are binge eating, before turning into a species yet un-determined.

The walk we had undertook was all outside of the Merrivale Firing Range, which as we all knew, was closed for day and night use all this week. However we did have to box under the shadow of red flags flying on Great Mis and Roos Tor and under the gaze of the range spotters on distant White Tor.

The threatening flags certainly seemed to keep the crowds away, but we rattled through the list of boxes to find and were complete by mid afternoon. 6-and-a-half miles and 49 boxes found. Just some of which are pictured.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Monday, 4th April 2011

Our week of letterboxing routes continued today with a brand new walk just released. Beginning at Holming Beam and looping the Cowsic Valley.

To begin, and avoiding the brisk wind, we headed upstream to Broad Hole before climbing to Lydford Tor on the East side of the river. As with Saturday, the views were spectacular thanks to our lofty position and the clear, well washed atmosphere.

Turning North towards Devils Tor. Once the un-named outcrop had passed by, Beardown Man came into view. At 3-and-a-half metres high, its not Dartmoor's tallest menhir, but it is in splendid isolation. Built in the Bronze Age - purpose unknown.

Human influence on the moor has been maintained for thousands of years. It continued today in fact, as after passing Conies Down Tor, and ascending towards Black Dunghill, we watched the assembly of a tent from afar. As the MOD quad bike sped away, we approached with caution and curiosity to see targets had been set up (as pictured).

The Merrivale Range is closed for both day and night live military firing now until the weekend, but it appears that the enemy, at least, are ready for action...

The day was a success for us. 9 miles covered and 27 boxes found.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Saturday, April 2nd 2011

When looking for a place to letterbox this weekend, the missing piece of our recent "Grey Links" walk was our priority. The recent good weather looked set to break any day, and there was still quite a route to complete. The walk was extended to Stenga Tor and off we went.

Having completed most of the early and late sections of this walk on our jaunt round here last month, we headed straight for Green Tor and Amicombe Hill. A decent Saturday's weather saw dozens of Ten Tors teams out training - their fluorescent yellow jacket wearing leaders unmissable.

Across the Rattlebrook and we joined the convoys of Ten Tor trainees filing towards Fur Tor. The scenic and yet barren wander below the ridge past Amicombe Hole and Lints Tor followed. The crowds melted away and we had the shelter from the wind and the whole scene to ourselves. Our target was Kitty Tor where we had plenty of boxes to search for.

We did our best to avoid the gaze of the crowds who rested at Kitty Tor's huts after their exhausting climb up from the West Okement. Meanwhile we descended to Stenga Tor for considerably less successful letterboxing. The suddenly bitter wind in our faces as we headed West to Gren Tor reminded us that the day was rapidly ending. We passed the newly erected tents of the Ten Torers at the River Lyd. Set for a breezy night out.

Back to the car with 12 more miles under our belts and 23 boxes found.