Monday, 30 June 2008


Lynnie has given me a 'pass' for a weekend away - happily it coincides with the Blogger's 'Summer Meet' on Dartmoor.

The last time I had a good crack at Dartmoor was with my old mate Bob Butler in the Spring of 1973. Bob and I were 17 years old and in training for our upcoming 'Explorer Belt' Venture Scout expedition to Corsica of August of that year. That was thirty five years ago.

We had new rucksacks (Karrimor Totem-Pac Seniors) and our newly bought Scarpa Bronzo boots (they were fabulous!). We had Bob's single skin canvas Good Companion 2 man tent and my one pint brass Primus pressure stove. Food was dehydrated meat, potato and veg brought in large boxes from a cash & carry. Cotton Anoraks and nylon cagoules, woolly jumpers and cotton britches and ragwool socks and 'stop touts' ankle gaiters. (We were Hard!)

Bob's Dad dropped us off at Okehampton (He had a brute of a Vauxhall Ventora car) and we walked right across the moor to finish at Buckfast Abbey with a celebratory Devon cream tea. I can't remember too much about the walk other than we were never misplaced at all! No GPS's then, either. All done with a magnetised floating needle sitting on a bath of oil and a large folding paper map. I think we took three days over it and did as many tors as we could fit in. It was all part of our very carefully constructed training for Corsica which we knew was going to be mountainous and very hot.

I skirted Dartmoor on the Meldon Viaduct on my Lejog last year and remember thinking it was a pity that I couldn't have planned a route across it - but time wouldn't allow.

So it will be lovely to get back there. It doesn't matter about the weather, really, as when it is heaving it down, it becomes a wild unforgiving place to challenge yourselves; when the sun shines a wonderful upland playground to bounce along. The experience is different but you still come away with a freshly laundered mind, all nicely tumble dried and spankingly clean, having rid yourselves of the dross that clogs it all up.

Lord Elpus has agreed to come along to look after me to pull me out of any bogs. Looking at the maps though it seems very difficult fitting a pub in for the Saturday night and still getting back to where we started from on the Sunday. We will just have to walk a little bit faster then....


  1. The Blogger's 'Summer Meet' on Dartmoor ? Sounds fun, have a good walk. Never been to Dartmoor-looks wild.

  2. Hey Martin

    Why not come along then? I can offer you a lift from Cambridgeshire. Get back to me if that works for you?

  3. When is it? I'm real keen if I have nothing pre booked on the dates. (the wife likes to spend some time with me)

    Thanks for the invite

  4. Phil (Lord Elpus, of 'Doodlecat' blog) & I will be leaving my home on the morning of Friday 18th July and returning on Monday 21st July - probably getting back late afternoon.

  5. I'll have to see if I'm required to attend a meeting in London on the 18th. If not I could swing the days of with a bit of luck. I'll get back to you asap.



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