By: Blonde Two

Yesterday, the Two Blondes decided, after coffee and cake, an exploration of Heatree Outdoor Centre and some Foxtor Cafe cheesy chips (the best cheesy chips ever) to go on a good old Dartmoor exploration.  We chose the Combestone Tor carpark as our staring point.  It is always a lovely starting point for all sorts of adventures and, being rather exposed, often very windy – we have nearly lost minibus doors up there in the past.  Yesterday, however, was calm and sunny, a real treat after all that mist and moisture.

The walk (a little bit more than a Bimble) was like a mini pre-expedition season Dartmoor test.  It gave us a little taster of most things that we usually experience.  We had a bit of micro navigation, bog treading, tussock balancing, water crossing, stile climbing, boundary counting, hill trudging and Blonde giggling – all squashed into a few kilometres.  Needless to say, the Blonde giggling was our best event but we did quite well at boundary counting and bog treading.

In true Blonde style, on our way back I suggested a little treasure hunt.  To most people, a treasure hunt suggests coordinates and shiny prizes.  To the Two Blondes, a treasure hunt means finding something interesting looking (in our heads) on the map and seeing if we can find it.  We compared maps and on mine, there was an odd gap in a boundary with unusual perpendicular lines next to it.  Upon inspection of Blonde One’s map (newer) with the magnifier, we found that this intriguing feature wasn’t marked at all.  This really should have given us a clue to what was about to happen.

I found a good attack point (known point from which to take a bearing) and got the bearing right with no problem at all.  As we set off down the hillside, however, the going got tough and the Blondes started to sink into the Dartmoor mini-bogs.  It was horrid walking ground and when we finally reached the boundary, it was of the very old (as opposed to old) type and more of a grassy mound.  The Two Blondes have lots of favourite sayings but one that must be in the running for favourite is “Where there is a dip there is a mound.”  This was certainly true yesterday and even if we had managed to get to the boundary, we would have struggled to cross its accompanying moat without a soaking (I had left my gaiters at home).  A quick glance along the boundary showed us that it was so covered in under (and over) growth that we wouldn’t have found the feature even if we had got near to it.  It was a struggle getting back onto our route and a less than successful treasure hunt.

The moral of the story is that if the Ordnance Survey see fit to take a feature off a map, it is probably not there anymore.  It is almost like they know what they are talking about!

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