Sunday, 17 July 2016

Up North....

I regularly visit Meldon Reservoir.  Its proximity to the A30 makes it a convenient stopover to refresh on my frequent drives up country in recent years.  The narrow lane from Okehampton thick with Summer growth leads to a National Park car park and the smashing views around the reservoir here - an easily accessible and home to a unique island nature reserve.

My walk was to take me up the West Okement, with views North and West towards Cornwall. I had to dig deep in the family archives to find clues to justify a walk up here.  Yet I was keen to explore the hills above the - now well worn - trails around Meldon.

The weather was terrific.  Hardly a breath of wind.  My mind wandered, considering the path closure on the Western side of the reservoir.  A different circular route was required today.  I would head out to Snipers Gully, Fishcombe Water and Black Tor, returning via Longstone Hill.

I was surrounded by iconic Dartmoor features. The Slipper Stones, Fordsland Ledge, Black-a-tor Copse, High Willhays. Features which make the West Okement such a gem in a granite setting.  My walk finished with a sighting of another iconic feature of the West Okement valley.  The Ring Ouzel.  In 2014, there were an estimated 15 breeding pairs of Ring Ouzel on Dartmoor, the most Southerly population in the country.  I spotted one individual hopping amongst the clitter near Black Tor, only the second time I've ever seen this elusive bird. Their numbers have been in global decline for decades, vulnerable to climate change.  An action plan is in place to support them on Dartmoor.

Another fascinating day out all round.  Unknown distance walked, 11 boxes located.

Who says that my blog lacks imagination, by the way!  The North and South moor have so much in common!

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