Showing posts from April, 2013

The good, the bad, and the downright nonsensical!

I love a challenge, but as I sit here, planning my next walk, my mind has drifted to the tricky letterbox clues.  The bearings of 132.25 degrees, the 'tucked back and to left' sites, the visible, and 'not-quite-visible'  '2nd highest holly'.  The 'logan-type', 'Africa-shaped' rocks.  The catalogue is chocked full with imaginatively descriptive and more unconventional clues.

A genuine clue taken from the catalogue a few years back reads, in it's entirety: "FREEDOM ??? ???  On a knife edge.  Check out an old site."  We're all in favour of getting back to basics, without GPS and all, but give us a clue!

If we face a future without GPS to assist us (or at least the 10 figure grid references), decent bearings will make all the difference.  Wherever possible, siting a letterbox on a calm day helps.  For when a clues states "(Windy)" at the end, its very hard to know how to act on the moor.  You can either only search on a…

Theft from a charity

Surely there can be no lower, no more despicable crime than stealing from a charity.  In Plymouth last month, a news story appeared of thieves who smashed their way into the Jennycliff Cafe, overlooking Plymouth Sound, during the night.  They caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage, and stole the till float, as well as 3 charity pots belonging to the Devon Air Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation and St Lukes Hospice.
The vandals remain at large, and when caught, will face criminal prosecution and a stern sentence - though I'm sure even this won't be enough.  Charities depend on donations and public support and the sick crooks who help themselves to the charitable gains are simply the dregs of society.  (Full story here)
Transfer this to Dartmoor, and the charitable funds raised by charity walks.  For many letterboxers, these routes provide enjoyable and successful letterboxing days.  For most boxers, it was through completing these routes and finding these boxes that got…

Battle Plans Part V

It has been 18 months since we saw published Ministry of Defence plans for their military ranges on Northern Dartmoor.  You'll remember (from post "Battle Plans Part III - Any clearer?") that during the 2012 financial year, the MOD had accounted for a series of actions to take place including:

- Removing 3 flagpoles in the Okehampton Training area, with Yes Tor being a priority for removal.
- Combining Watern Oke Flagpole with a 'look-out'.
- Walkham Spur flagpole to be relocated, with a 'look out' constructed and access works to take place on slopes near Fuges Post and Walkham Head.

Well, the wait continues, even as we approach the Summer of 2013.  The MOD's Integrated Rural Management Plan did say that work would require the amendment of the local by-laws in order for the work to take place.  The original 1980 by-law for Okehampton Training Area, for instance, listed the precise locations for flagpoles.

I have now received communication from National Par…

Roving the Ring Road

Returning to the South West for a rare, second consecutive weekend, whoisthechallenger went North to complete an attractive little charity walk around West and East Mill Tors.  The 11 box walk was sited in order raise funds for the Plymouth branch of the PDSA.  The 'Birds Eye View Of Dartmoor' series is the sixth and latest installment of this group's Charity walks, and their stamps and clues are always reliable.

We parked at Row Tor in bright sunshine, and were delighted to find that the wind was not bracing, nor was it bearing inhibitive.  All the boxes were within paces of the metalled army tracks, some of which formed the 'Okehampton Ring Road'.  This was looping track from Row Tor out to OP15 on Okement Hill.  The track was often rutted and pot-holed, with a couple of deep fords thrown in, but at least the Western (ford-free) half of the track was negotiable with a 2 wheel drive car.  On September 18th 2009 the track was closed to all public traffic.

The trac…

Tuesday, April 2nd 2013

I can now confirm that the Rangale of deer set is off the moor.  Please delete your clues now.  I was delighted to discover that all the boxes were on site, and stampable.  I've had my fill of the East Dart valley for a while though...

Monday, April 1st 2013

A Bank Holiday off work and the sun shining, whoisthechallenger needed no further excuse to get out on the moors.  After purchasing a couple of charity walks at the meet, it was to Brat Tor and Arms Tor that we headed.  The car park wasn't exactly overflowing.  The Ten-Tor trainees were out in force though.  As the route took us up the River Lyd, we were fortunately sheltered from the chilly Easterly wind.  Early Spring is the best time to walk the Lyd valley - no bracken.

Boxes were generally on site, and for the first time in a long time, the moor was dry underfoot.  Circling Smallacombe Rocks, and heading up to Arms Tor, we suddenly found ourselves exposed to the full force of the wind.  Dartcom suggested winds peaked at 26 knots this afternoon - though I suspect their instruments are not as exposed as Widgery Cross.
Retreating back to river level, splashing across the Lyd and back to the car on High Down, WITC is pleased with the 8.5 miles covered, and the 38 box haul too.