By: Blonde Two
To its regular walkers, Dartmoor is a game in two halves. We have the South Moor – gentler hills, pathways and lots of signs of habitation and then there is the North Moor – steeper, wilder, and definitely more lonely. You don’t let a team of kids loose on the North Moor until you are sure that their navigation is up to it. Let’s face it, anywhere that has an area called “Killer Valley” has to have a bit of a danger factor to it.
On Monday afternoon, the Two Blondes set off for one of the afternoon “into the dark” walks that has become a speciality. We started at Postbridge and strode North – well picked our way through the mud for quite a while first. As we climbed, the mud eased a bit and we found ourselves at Hartland Tor – a nice tor in a lovely spot with views down over the East Dart valley. We spent some time around there looking for a navigation point or two (Blonde One has told you about our frustrations with Mr Donaghy) and then continued North.
Our goal was “Grey Wethers” a set of stone circles that I had never visited before and we aimed to get there as it got dimpsy (dusk), have our picnic and walk back in the dark. Grey Wethers is set in a wild and desolate spot in the shadows of Sittaford Tor and it was a struggle to get there across the water logged moor. There was a lot of tussock balancing – a skill you have to develop quite quickly if you want to get off track on Dartmoor.
The approach to the stones as the sun set put both of us into a rather strange mode. It is obvious that the landscape hasn’t changed in the thousands of years since the stones were erected – it would be a very poor imagination that didn’t start murmuring at the sight of the dark stones appearing on the ridge of a very lonely hill. I think the precarious nature of our situation hit us both at that moment. We were three hours away from anywhere, the terrain was difficult and we were out on the North Moor with about half an hour of torch free map reading left …
We obviously did get home because I am still typing but I will tell you exactly how tomorrow! If you want more information about Grey Wethers, here is what Legendary Dartmoor has to say http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/grey_wethers2.htm It is well worth a visit but I would recommend a guide if you don’t have map and compass skills.