Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A rush around Rattlebrook

On the last day of June, reflecting on a very hectic month, I realised that my sole trip to the Moor this month was so fleeting, so brief, that I didn't even blog about it.  What better time to address this!

As time was short - I had to work an evening shift back in Truro - I rushed to the nearest point of Dartmoor by car.  Sourton Tors.  Boots already on and laced, I was eager to get walking.

The military firing was taking place, so my route was hemmed in to the North West corner.  The weather was fantastic,  if a little breezy.  Cotton grass flapped in the wind, as though held down against it's will.  A temporary army radio post at Sourton's trig actually required tethers to keep it on the ground.

My path took a steady climb up towards Great Links Tor, following the former Rattlebrook Peat Railway to the end of the line.  The line was completed in 1879, but alas the operation was never particularly profitable.  The tracks and sleepers were removed in the 1930s, and the buildings, deemed unsafe, were demolished by the military in 1961.  Mother nature is yet to reclaim the ruins, the scars on the environment still raw and vegetation free.  Rusty iron pipes and tanks, concrete plinths and scattered bricks litter the site.  Time was ticking, I couldn't hang around, so I turned for home.

The route back to the car was a direct one, straight over the summit of Woodcock Hill bypassing Tiger's Marsh and Lyd Head.  Woodcock Hill is not one for landmark spotters, with no landmarks or features to speak of.  The distant outcrop of Branscombe's Loaf was my aim, though the deep, uneven, and occasionally boggy terrain made a straight walk difficult.

As I approached the moor's edge, the views became ever more extensive towards the West and North. The chasm of the West Okement valley came into view too.  At the Loaf I could survey the famous ridge opposite, totally devoid of people thanks to the effect of the MOD flags in Okehampton Range. A final run (swift walk) down the flank of Corn Ridge to the car, and the walk was complete.  With 6 boxes found, and another objective achieved.

I hope that July is slightly less busy, and with a predicted good weather, a more productive letterboxing month too.