By: Blonde Two
Dartmoor is a game of two halves. On one side you have The South Moor; in general easier to tackle and less intimidating. Above this (on the map and often in height) sits The North Moor; a place of wind, mist and uncrossable bogs.
I get confused about where the North/South line should be. Take Sittaford Tor (now visited twice) for instance. To my mind, Sittaford is positioned on the North Moor, but has ‘Southerly’ attributes: lots of walls, three stone circles and a whacking great forest; all of these combine to make it pretty easy to navigate (cue embarrassing blunder!)
One could draw the line at the roads (literally not figuratively). The B3212 and B3357 make a rather neat North/South divide, but that would be a bit boring and predictable. Because of bird-nesting, Ten Tors rules restrict training sessions on the North Moor; they state this to be, “… north of the Tavistock, Two Bridges to Moretonhampstead road and west of the 68 easting.” This makes sense if you understand Ten Tors routes, but is a bit of a mouthful!
In my mind, Dartmoor’s North/South Divide is as bendy as the International Date Line. I have crossed that many times, but until Tuesday, I had never crossed the North/South Divide. I had walked from Okehampton south and from Postbridge north, but I had never properly joined the two up.
So on Tuesday I did. I walked from Postbridge, north up to Sittaford Tor, crossed over to Quintin’s Man and then carried on north until I came to Hangingstone Hill (a cheerless place that I have only visited from the north before). And so my dots were joined; I know that I started on the South Moor because there were tasty ice-creams and friendly European tourists, and I know that I ended on the North Moor because there were uncrossable bogs and ridiculous tussocks.
I did stay the night on my own on North Dartmoor; but not at Hangingstone Hill! I would rather have tackled a couple of bogs than camp somewhere with such a creepy name.
Tell you more later …