Hitting the highs
It has been a blisteringly hot week, with record temperatures across the South of England. Dartcom suggests that thermometers peaked at 26.1 degrees on Dartmoor last weekend. With little, or no wind, it made for a hot, hot, hot walk up to the roof of Devon.
WITC was not alone of course, and there were many people looking to enjoy the sunshine, the views and the opportunity to look down on most of the Nation.
Our route started close to the Target Railway below West Mill Tor. As I was not driving my car (yes, I had permission!!), I was pleased that the MOD had at least resurfaced this stretch of metalled track. Smooth (yet un-melted) tarmac to the top. From here a walk along the gravel paths and trails led me up to Yes Tor. Appreciating the breeze from on high, I had boxes to search for on this ridge, and then headed over to Fordsland Ledge. The West Okement valley stretched out before us - the view never fails to impress. Turning for the highest spot of all, and lunch just below it's cairn, in what little shade could be found. The cairn on High Willhays appears to have grown since my last visit...
After eating, it was a descent to the Red-a-ven Brook - the highest water-course on the moor. Cotton grass hardly swayed in the hot, stillness of the blanket bog at Red-a-ven Head. We rejoined the military track close to the ruin of Observation Post (OP)2. Of the 22 Military Observation Posts built in the Okehampton range, only 7 remain intact. OP2, now demolished, recognisable only by pieces of wall, and a barely visible grassy former access track.
The sweltering walk back to the car used up the last of my 1.5 litres of drinking water, and a very welcome refreshment stop in Okehampton was called for!