Showing posts from March, 2015

Spring Meet 2015

The 72nd Meet took place this past weekend.  It has been 37 years since Letterboxing's first Meet at the Forest Inn near Hexworthy.  A Dartmoor pub which has since closed, but up for sale for just a £1!

The bi-annual gathering now calls Lee Moor Village Hall home.  I did attend.  It was great to catch up with some familiar faces, and purchase the new catalogue.

The introduction to the new book of clues offers an update on Godfrey Swinscow - the 'father' of modern Letterboxing.  In the 1980s as the burgeoning hobby threatened to incur the wrath of the National Park, it was 'God' who stepped in and created the 100 club and the concept of registering boxes.  Godfrey - who celebrated his 96th birthday on Sunday - now resides in a Devon residential home with his wife, Anne.  He still has an interest in Letterboxing, albeit by only enjoying looking at stamps brought in by his visitors.  It was fantastic to hear how Godfrey is doing, as it has been so long since the last u…

The Getaway - Part III

My final far-flung Letterboxing excursion was to the closest National Park neighbour - Exmoor. Think of Exmoor and you may think of Lorna Doone or the Valley of the Rocks, Lynton & Lynmouth or perhaps Johnny Kingdom and the red deer.  I'd always considered Exmoor, away from the coastline to be characterised by tight valleys and grassy upland, far less rugged than Dartmoor.  I was keen to discover if my preconceptions were true.

I'd found two clues for boxes around Wood Barrow via Gamblenet.  This grassy hill sits to the West of the park, and the summit cairn straddles the Devon - Somerset border. It also is located on the Tarka Trail, an undefined long distance path that links the North coast with Dartmoor.  My walk up to Wood Barrow followed this trail from the main road at the Edgerley Stone - one of several uncut, local rocks intended to mark the 13th century boundary of the Royal Forest of Exmoor, but now marks the county line.  It is inscribed with 'F Isaac', …

The Getaway - Part II

With a week's annual leave, I put aside my studies for a while and made a long overdue visit to some friends in the North of England. This also provided me with an opportunity to attempt (again) Letterboxing in the Lake District. I've been here before.  I used to live in Keswick, in Northern Lakeland, and I have tried, unsuccessfully, on more than one occasion to find Letterboxes around here.  This time would surely be different.
There are now longer lists of boxes in the National Park, but to cast my net wider still, I approached some Letterboxers who had links to the Lake District.  Perhaps they had knowledge of existing Letterboxes.  One reply sounded perfect...  last confirmed on site 2-and-a-half years ago by the owner...  No more than a mile from the road...  Hidden with a bottle of beer...  Lets go!
This particular box belongs to 'The old man of the Moor' aka 86 year-old Ken of Tavistock.  He has been Dartmoor Letterboxing for many decades, but has visited fam…

The Getaway - Part I

- March -

Lambing season - Dogs on leads please!                  Swaling in progress - Stay well away! Ground nesting birds - Do not disturb!
Phew! Well... I didn't want to visit Dartmoor anyway...

This month I have decided to escape from the normal haunts and hidey-holes.  To explore the nation, and try letterboxing in other UK hotspots.

Yesterday was the turn of Bodmin Moor.  For me, no trip to Dartmoor is possible without a drive over this patch of green.  On the A30 approach to Jamaica Inn, my eyes are always drawn North towards the highest and steepest visible land.  These are Rough (pronounced Row - this is Cornwall) Tor and the absurdly named Brown Willy - it's Cornish name is Bronn Wennili or 'Hill of Swallows'.  I will point out, steep and high are both relative.  Brown Willy is about as lofty as Cramber Tor, and about as steep as Leather Tor.  Not to poo-poo the peak though: Kernow's highest point puts it high in the English County-Top league table.  Ranked …