By: Blonde Two

We had lots of answers yesterday about our contour conundrum. Your challenge was to get from purple circle to pink arrow, without passing Go and without collecting £200 pounds!


Well done to everybody. There was, of course, no ‘right’ answer. Blonde One and I both selected the same route (telepathy) but we used the one that our Young Leaders chose (very successful).

We asked you some questions yesterday; here are the answers:

1. What is the feature that you are heading towards called?
I would love to say that the feature was called ‘Jeremy’, but it wasn’t. It was, in hill-speak, a re-entrant. A re-entrant is a dip in the ground, usually trench-like. The contour line is shaped like that because it has to follow land of the same height. Another name for a re-entrant is a draw (but not if you are Blonde!)

2. What will it look like?
Imagine a big ditch, this one wasn’t much more than that, but some re-entrants are deeper. They are tricky to find at night and require very accurate distance measurements (usually by pacing).

3. Reasons for following the wall?
The wall was there (this is not always the case on Dartmoor where it could be a fence, a mound or nothing at all). A clear wall is an example of a ‘handrail’ (a feature which is easy to follow). Tracks and leats are also good handrails; sheep are not!

4. Reasons for walking on a direct bearing?
Quite simply, it will probably get you there quicker. But, if the terrain is rough, boggy or gorse covered, or if the distance is too long, you risk missing your target.

5. Reasons for stopping for coffee?
Grumpiness is a good indicator of the need for a coffee stop. Night nav is more tiring than you would imagine, you need to think, count and walk at the same time. Walls are good to shelter behind!

Interesting things:
Our youngsters chose to follow the wall and then field boundaries until they reached the nearest point to the re-entrant. Then they walked on a bearing and measured their distance. All got within a metre, one went straight there! This is no mean feat.

The green bridleways that you see are interesting. If you look carefully, you will see that one is along a track and it is very clear on the ground. The other one is much less clear, and all but impossible to find at night.