Thursday, 26 February 2015

End of season clearance

While I was on Whitehorse Hill the other week, I took pity on an abandoned artefact.  Not a part cut millstone, or forgotten granite trough, but an old tin that was more Litterbox than Letterbox.  All that was immediately visible in a collapsed section of bank was a broken, rusty ammunition tin.  Inside, a plastic ice cream tub with a few damp, unreadable pages of a once full visitors book.  No stamp, and no identifying marks on any part was to be seen.

I was left in no doubt that this old timer needed removal.  The fact that it had not already been removed was possibly due to its weight and size.  I don't carry a large rucksack so I did have to repack all my belongings to make room inside.  As stated in previous posts (such as "Merry Christmas" - Dec 2012), I am no box thief, but I do like responsible behaviour when it comes to damaged boxes.  If they cannot be repaired on the hill, and it's condition has deteriorated to such an extend that it is a hazard, eyesore or detriment to the hobby, a letterbox should be removed.  Whenever possible, the owners should be sought and informed.

This box was sited 34 paces on 247 degrees from the top Peat Pass marker in the East Dart Cut.  I noted this information hoping I'd be able to identify it later.

An ammo can suggests it was sited pre-1997 when rules were updated.  However I have scoured old Letterbox catalogues for clues reminiscent of this - so far without success.  If you can identify it, please let me know.  It has seen it's final Dartmoor Winter though.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

New clues: The Depths of Winter




No.4   (Contains visitors book)





This series has now been removed from the Moor.

Questions and comments to

Monday, 16 February 2015

Hangingstone Hill and surrounds

The mist was thick, the temperature low.  That I'd found the Tor at all without a GPS was something of a miracle, and the walk had taken a little longer than usual. Hopes that I'd rise above the cloud up here were dashed, and instead of looking out on the glorious vista that I remember, I could only see the far side of the outcrop.  As Letterboxing goes, these first 2 hours had frankly been a disappointment.  The one box that I could search for, given its limited clue - was missing.

I decided to cut my losses and head for Hangingstone Hill.  If the mist were clear, and the sun was to shine (as forecasts led me to believe would eventually happen), it would start at the highest point.

I crossed Watern Combe and headed West for the track between Wild Tor and high Hill's summit hut.  I stumbled on a letterbox and my day improved a bit.  As I reached the track and set off South, I glimpsed patches of snow.  My day improved a touch more.  I could handle a patch of snow.  Then the cloud started to clear..

To start, I could just make out the Thirlstone, then Wild Tor, and the lone fir tree between them.  A touch of sunlight, and the scene warmed up.  Bearings achievable, I could find letterboxes again.  Then I found a moving box.  Yes - a moving box!  I haven't found a moving box since 2009, on a walk around Sharpitor.  By now the views were extensive.  The day was improving at quite a pace!

One of my main reasons to do this walk was to visit the cist on Whitehorse Hill.  This recent discovery - only made when part of the burial chamber fell out of the peat bank forcing archaeologists to excavate the site - was subject to a major exhibition in Plymouth Museum last year.  The contents of the site radically altered our view of Dartmoor in the Bronze Age.  The discovery of artefacts made of organic material which would have usually disintegrated after 4000 years in acidic soil were fascinating. Textiles, leather, wooden ear studs, amber, shale, tin studs and bead - the earliest evidence ever found of metal working in the region.  This was a burial of significance in the bronze age, and also in the 21st century as we try to make sense of our past.

After reflecting at the spot for a while, I noted rain clouds building far to the West, and left the hill.  Making tracks for Hew Lake, I decided on a direct path for the car.  I must commend the Dartmoor Rangers for replacing all the Manga Rails since my request in my blog post last year. They are fine new set, and ready for any storm, I reckon!  

I wandered into the car park at Scorhill at sunset. As Letterboxing days go, I'd had better.  I'd only found 11 boxes and walked a very long way for them.  Perseverance is always rewarded, and this day was no exception.