As you probably know - or guessed - I generally Letterbox alone. This month's challenge, however, meant getting someone out on Dartmoor, Letterboxing with me, in a Letterboxing lesson of sorts. I selected someone very close to me to take on their first Letterboxing trip. I'm confident they'll become regular Letterboxers, and I'll do all I can to support that.
Who was this newbie? My 9 month old son, obviously!
I wanted to make sure it was a day to remember - not forget, so a day of decent weather and not too far from the car was chosen. A route of 3 miles seemed right. A comprehensive picnic lunch was packed, as was clothing for all seasons too. There was even some space left over for ink pads and postcards!
We went to King's Tor and Swelltor, parking at Yellowmeade Farm. This was a novel experience for me. Junior Challenger was comfortable in his Littlelife backpack, and I was comfortable carrying him, but Letterboxing can be a funny business of crouching and ducking and stretching and crawling. None of which are easy with a top-heavy baby carrier! Stream crossing too, was unexpectedly tricky. These things must be considered in future trips. Time to invest in a walking pole, perhaps?!?
I was 11 years old when I started Letterboxing. I don't think I walked on Dartmoor before my 10th birthday. I wish I could pass on my lifetime of knowledge and experience. Formed through personal and shared events, occurrences and encounters. These escapades are impossible to pass on, and so a new lifetime of memorable walks and weekends need to be formed.
Our short walk passed Yellowmeade Farm and Foggintor before climbing up to the back-o'Swelltor. A perhaps ambitious, though entirely flexible, series of clues lead us across to Kings Tor, then down to the railway bridge, and following the old track along past Little Kings Tor and crossing the stream below Four Winds and returning to the car.
That was the plan at least! Junior Challenger slept until the midway point of the walk. He was awoken at the first Letterbox - a seminal moment in his life! Let it always be known that it was called 'The Dodo Birthday Box'. However, junior had little time for bearings and clues, and a great appetite. So we settled among the outcrops of Kings Tor for lunch. My shoulders welcomed the break too. Alas all food carried in was carried out, just in another form.
The walk was cut short as the wind picked up, and clouds built. There is plenty of time to instill the 'JOM' mentality: At some point, every Letterboxer surely considers there is time for 'Just One More' box. On this occasion though, we headed straight for Four Winds, which on this day, was packed with holidaymakers and walkers. A short walk up the hill returned us to the car.
Junior Challenger charmed some fellow hill-walkers, who were impressed by his carrier and Letterboxing enthusiasm. In actual fact, Junior appeared more fascinated by the nearby sheep than the hobby which took him to this point. More interested in the long swaying grass, than the inspiring views of the Moor. More engrossed in the insides of his rucksack than the significance of the day. That's kids, they say. Don't expect it to change anytime soon, they say.
That all said, I can confidently state Jnr's shirt has it right. "Let the Adventure Begin"! 7 Letterboxes found.