By: Blonde Two
When it came down to the route choice, Saturday’s night navigation was a bit of an experiment. It can be difficult to decide exactly where to walk on these occasions. One particular issue whether or not features on the ground match features on the map.
This probably isn’t as much of a problem in more mountainous territory but on Dartmoor, there are a plethora (such a good word) of old, really old, ancient and pre-historical man-made features that are in various states of decay/disappearance. The Two Blondes have spent many navigation session uttering phrases like – “Well this is where it should be” and “The map is wrong again” – sometimes (not all) it actually is!
In order to combat this problem, I decided to re-walk the Buckland Beacon walk that I did in the sunshine last week. I knew that my chosen features – tors, building, boundary stones, contour thingy and a wall were all there (even Dartmoor can’t change that much in a week). To make it a bit more challenging, we walked it back-to-front (not facing backwards you wally) and I added a few extra navigation points. Mr Blonde Two added his own additional challenge by forgetting his torch and using the flash light feature on his phone.
It was amazing how different somewhere could feel at night. For a start, the irony of choosing a cup of tea/choccy bar stop for poor old Mr Blonde Two in a place with the most amazing views at a time of day when he couldn’t see them didn’t escape me.
The old building and pool that had looked so romantic reflecting the sunlight last Saturday were dark and creepy – I swear I could hear swamp creatures floating around. The tors were recognisable but not welcoming and sitting on top of them was not much fun – I kept thinking that something was climbing up behind me. The night-time mud was also a tricky creature – in the day, we managed to avoid it but at night we went in over our boots several times and at one point, it nearly had us both over on our bums.
There are some good things about Dartmoor at night. It is incredibly peaceful, the stars can be amazing (sadly not that night), you feel that you are really doing something different and you know that you are not going to be disturbed … that is unless you are camping with a minibus load of teenagers or near the Nun’s Cross fox!