By: Blonde Two

This morning the Two Blondes have woken up with Anthony Stile (just as well we brought the bigger tent).  Anthony is not a hunky bloke, a nasty eye infection or a character in a Bond film.  No, Anthony Stile is a spot on Dartmoor.  I am not sure why it is called Anthony but I like to think that it was named after St Anthony who was the patron saint of lost articles (including people).  We send some pretty precious articles off from here once a year and we haven’t managed to lose any yet.

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This morning all is calm, it is peaceful and quiet despite being bang next to an army camp.  A stream is babbling, the birds are singing and even the kids are subdued as they prepare for their long walk South.  It has just occurred to me that as well as never meeting Anthony here, I have never noticed a stile before.  I am going to investigate in a moment but there is a good reason for my lack of observational skills.

In a few weeks time (not enough weeks) this quiet part of Dartmoor will be filled with over 2000 youngsters, their accompanying adults and cheering crowds.  It will be seven in the morning and a prayer will just have been read, a cannon will be about to fire and the surrounding hills will be about to be filled with intrepid youngsters off on an amazing adventure.  Anthony Stile is the starting point for the annual Ten Tors Challenge (my favourite weekend of the year).  I am so soppy that my eyes are filling up just thinking about it.

Like many of my favourite spots on Dartmoor, Anthony Stile has its own cross.  This is an odd, concrete cross and not at all ancient.  It was originally to be found at Denbury Camp near Newton Abbot, the site of the original Ten Tors challenge having been presented by the people of Bovey Tracey.  The Ten Tors Cross is crumbling at the edges and the Ten Tors Challenge is under constant threat of cutbacks but neither have given up just yet and if the strength of feeling and commitment of all involved is anything to go by, they will both be around for longer than I will able to walk across Dartmoor.

I have to go now, I have important porridge to eat and a tent to pack away – we have a very long way to walk today.  See you in Princetown …