Sunday, 17 January 2016


Betwixtmas : The period of time between Christmas and New Year

This Winter has been poor so far, hasn't it?  If this is what 'climate change' has in store for Great Britain's bleakest months from now on, it is high time someone should arrange a mid season break for the hobby.  In spite of my extra curricular activity, I have been aching to venture out on the Moors again.  Yet, I have found just one single day in the last 3 months that suits both my plans and those of Mother Nature.  It was before the current snow fall, and after the rains stopped.  It was obvious when I arrived that I was in the eye of a storm, or that I was interrupting something.

Tis the season, although it seems ages ago, for Christmas walks!  There were many word-of-mouth letterbox series sited for this year, but I was as yet to search for any.  I intended to make the most of my day and seek out 3 such sets. The first stop was at the village of Belstone.  A short trek down the ridge to Taw Marsh, and returning along the river.  An overtopping river that bubbled and boiled with the previous nights downpour alive between (or betwixt) its banks.

The early light, the rain and the washed atmosphere made for dramatic images, across a valley that never fails to impress.  I couldn't hang around though, and I splashed my way back to the car, having located 5 letterboxes, and headed to Bellever.

The owners of a series of letterboxes on Riddon Ridge actively advised wellington boots to complete their walk.  I anxiously considered their words as I pulled on my trusty waterproof socks overlooking the angry East Dart.  Fortunately, there were no river crossings to negotiate, and my feet stayed dry on this entertaining stroll over the ridge to Snaily House and back.  In the shelter from the Westerly wind here, the day was turning out quite pleasant.  The crowds were absent today, and judging by visitors books, they had been absent for most of Christmas too.

I had one final set to find, although the sun had already set behind a large bank of cloud that engulfed Princetown.  Four Christmas boxes to seek around Wind Tor.  From up here, I couldn't quite see the rushing River Webburn in spate, but I suspected it was down there in the valley washing Widecombe clean. I found these Christmas stamps easily enough, and so I returned to the car to reflect on my day of Dartmoor.  

Despite the cruel weather (and other, perhaps more human factors) dampening spirits in Northern England and Scotland this Christmas, I was personally pleased to see Letterboxing, Dartmoor and Devon have shook off the worst of the storms, and carried on.  

Lets hope I can return before the Spring!