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.
Or more likely, those two tiny dots on the far horizon that a pair of ancient legs can’t catch.
Believe me, my legs feel ancient this evening. A lovely weekend out on the moors though!
Male walker on Dartmoor gets arrested stalking two blonde females claiming he wanted to share his Jelly Babies with them. He is currently helping the police with their enquiries.
I think we spotted that character!
Reckon the police ate the Jelly Babies while he was waiting to be questioned – after all, they would have been material witnesses.
With reference to 3, fairly sure Killer valley is passable, if you mean the one between Kitty and Dinger, having walked it this Saturday.
Plus if anything, the North Moor is more hilly but provides easier navigation than South Moor legs such as the one between Red Lake and Higher Hartor Tor.
Was a pretty good day to walk the North Moor Saturday, after the mist blew off.
Oooh, you mustn’t mention Red Lake to me, it is where I broke my leg. I agree, tricky navigation but we have seen good navigators go wrong on the North Moor tracks. Lots of success and miles for our youngsters this weekend though 🙂
Red lake is not the best place agreed, rather makes you feel like you’ve covered no distance when walking away from it!
Will testify to going wrong on the tracks, having completely missed the turning for Yes Tor from camp before, and continued on at least two thirds of the way to Dinger before realising our mistake!
Much the same for our youngsters too, been positively spoilt weather wise thus far. Everyone finishing before lunch on the Sunday is always welcome!!
We are now secretly hoping for poor weather for our last training weekend. Our new youngsters all think Dartmoor is a lovely, sunny place and could be in for a rude awakening on May 10th!
It is in a rare bird nesting area, meaning that you cannot go on it for ten tors or any serious training
I believe this point was made in our blog post.