By: Blonde Two
Those of you who live in certain parts of Devon will know that anywhere North is considered to be “up-country” and more than a little bit foreign. Coming from Northish of here myself, I don’t have a problem with leaving Exeter (although I have to confess to not doing it as often as I used to). I do, however, get a bit of a headache when I have to start walks at the top of my Dartmoor map instead of around the middle.
Dartmoor’s North Moor is different to its softer compatriot the South Moor. Let’s (in true Blonde fashion) examine the issues);
1. On the North Moor, people with real guns might shoot you. I am not talking about the locals here but the army do live firing exercises and you would be wise to check their timetables here http://bit.ly/1dyJi4x
2. On the North Moor, there are some big steep hills. Not a problem for us Blondes unless it is misty because we intend to send our Ten Tors kids up most of the big hills on their own. We may choose one strategic hill for ourselves to climb!
3. On the North Moor there is a valley called “Killer Valley” which is fierce by Dartmoor standards but maybe not if you are used to the Brecon Beacons or the Cairngorms (on the to-do list). Lots of lovely birds nest there at this time of year so we are not allowed to train there (shame!)
4. On the North Moor, the ground shakes. I know that the South Moor has its fair share of bogs and mires but the only time I have experienced the earth moving (apart from that earthquake in NZ) was when being followed by a rather tall chap mid North Moor.
5. On the North Moor, there are lots of army tracks. You could argue that this is a good thing but give a youngster a track to follow and they will often do that … and keep following it … and keep following it. This weekend we will be talking a lot about timings!
There are, of course, some amazing things on the North Moor. Last year we woke up to a cloud inversion over Okehampton and the sound of skylarks and cuckoos. It is beautifully remote and you can really feel cut off from reality (yes please!). The North Moor has Dartmoor’s highest tor – High Willhays (fun to call it High Willies) and its most remote tor – Fur Tor (not furry).
As ever, the only way to find out for yourself is to go and look, so come and join us. We will be the two ladies sitting at the top of a beautiful hill.