This was CUHWC’s first Dartmoor trip since 2009, and the smallest weekend trip for eight years due to the unavailability of part of the expected accommodation! We chose to stay in a new bunkhouse (housing only 12 people) at Runnage Farm, near Postbridge; this permitted exploration of both the North and South Moors. On Saturday, both walking groups chose to explore the North Moor. One group completed an epic 47km walk to the summits of High Willhays & Yes Tor (along with lots of other ‘peaks’ and tors en route); the other chose a slightly more sensible route to take in some of the tors towards the southern end of North Moor. We were pleased that all (well, most - see below) of the bog was frozen solid and we enjoyed some fabulous weather towards the end of the day. The 47km group were even able to do some stargazing during their return along the road in the dark. On Sunday, again all three groups chose to explore the same area – this time, the slightly more pastoral landscapes north-east of South Moor. Despite lots of (generally negative) preconceptions of Dartmoor, most of the trip participants concluded that it’s well worth a visit every once in a while!
Bethan Gudgeon, Andrew Williamson, Mark Jackson, Peter Kirkwood, Doug Hull, Tom Ashton, Michael Fordham, Dave Mackenzie, Lucy Stone, James Ritchie, Chris Dawson & Phil Brown.
The Wonders of Dartmoor (AW)
When Matthew asked the (now ex-)committee what their views were on a trip to Dartmoor, needless to say that my reply (and Mark’s) was one of immense encouragement. Three months later and we set off on what quite frankly promised to be an interesting epic of a day – a walk all the way out to Yes Tor and High Willhays from our bunkhouse near Postbridge. When I said in the committee-wide email that I simply HAD to bag these two peaks, it goes without saying that I was NOT joking. I was surprised to find such enthusiasm amongst the 12 people on the trip – but then maybe, on reflection, that was expected… Mark and Peter, my seemingly permanent walking companions, had been included in numerous pre-trip bagging emails to discuss the best route to actually get there. Phil and Doug are the old-timers (when it comes to Dartmoor), so they were keen – besides Doug always likes to ‘bag’ the longest walk on a trip. Bethan – well, explain that yourself… or at least try… [It was at this point during trip report write-up that I was disrupted by Doug balancing a can of Carlsberg on the wonderful MDF bunkhouse table. It was this same can with which he later tried to ply Bethan – cue a long and fascinating conversation about Bethan’s alcoholism (which had surfaced rather a lot on this trip).] I’m bored of writing now, but I’ll conclude by saying that we did indeed bag the Nuttalls (and Deweys, sub-Deweys and tors) successfully. A truly awesome day, thanks to good weather and company. See the Trip Book for walk statistics, quotes and other assorted wonders.
Noteworthy information (AW et al.)
- Dartmoor is a bit like Brimham Rocks, but more spread out
- The bunkhouse would be unsuitable for people of Dave Farrow height
- Everyone who went on the long (47km) walk was last to go to bed on Saturday evening
- Everyone who went on the 47km epic subsequently walked the furthest the following day, taking their weekend total to 75km
- Everyone who was in Michael F's cooking group (except Bethan) agreed once again that Michael should be elected Cookery Officer
- Everyone on the trip agreed that the club should visit Dartmoor more often (but then maybe that's why they were on the trip)
- Everyone present concurred that the length of Doug's facial stubble can be reliably compared to the length of Bethan's leg stubble
- 10 people on the trip were male; two were female
- A quarter of the trip had already walked extensively in Dartmoor; the other three quarters had never walked there before
Phil's Guide to Crossing the Rough Tor Bog (PB)
Peter: Take a 2km detour. Avoid bog entirely. Lounge languidly in the last rosy rays of the setting sun.
Mark: Take a 2km detour. Avoid bog entirely. Instead have to wade a river that was 'at least 20ft wide' (according to best (i.e. Mark's) estimate)
Doug & Bethan: Attempt edge of bog. Doug becomes entrapped and enraged and storms messily through. Bethan gets left behind, but struggles on regardless.
Andrew & Phil: Cross excitingly bouncy centre. Andrew falls off tussock up to ankles in bog. Phil falls off tussock onto face. Both people's trousers subsequently freeze.
Or at least the ones the President found notable; note the emphasis on one participant in particular - MJ
- Phil (sweeping hand over entire map): Yeah, that's basically all bog
- Bethan: I went single at one point over the summer
- Bethan talking about the size of her thighs...
- Andrew: Bethan, are you pregnant?
- Doug: Bethan, are your hips expanding?
- Bethan: Oh, so THAT's why you banged everybody awake, Mark
- Phil: This entire weekend's walks have been about your bottom, Bethan - this quote definitely got mangled somewhere between mouth and website