By: Blonde Two
Happy February everyone. I’m writing this post in advance so who knows what the weather will be doing. Down here in Devon February is (in Blonde tradition) the month where we bravely arrange the first camp of the year for our Ten Tors Challenge youngsters, then promptly un-arrange it when the month provides conditions that are less-than-camping. You would think we would have learned from this by now but the truth of the matter is, in order to get enough training in before May, winter camps are a necessity. They are also a great way of sorting out who really does want a place on the team (sadly this has to be considered). Being able to carry your kit for a whole day after an unrestful night in a tent, is a skill that should never be underestimated.
There are lots of fun facts about February out there. My first two are all about its name. The Saxons knew February as ‘Cake Month’, which makes perfect sense to me, although their cakes were for the gods, not the Blondes. By contrast, our modern word ‘February’ comes from ‘februum’, which means purification. It refers to spring cleaning but, as I refuse to do any of that until at least August, I will be sticking to cake. My third (and favourite) February fact is that it is the only calendar month in which it is possible to have no full moon (that should render it relatively moon-madness free!)
Winter wild camping (backpack camping)
Conversely, February is also the month when we Blondes usually hold our first winter wild camping course of the year. We don’t get as many applicants as we do for our June and August backpack camps but we have taken a few brave souls out. This year of course there will be no wild camping on Dartmoor for anyone until coronavirus restrictions have been lifted enough to allow us all to stay away from home overnight. Information relating to lockdown restrictions is changing regularly, you can find out about this more from Dartmoor National Park Authority’s current coronavirus information.
Snowdrops and skylarks
Other things we will be missing on Dartmoor this February include the fantastic snowdrop displays, the first songs of the skylarks (who won’t have been far away, just a bit quieter), and of course, all those named storms, we had Ciara and Dennis last year (ask Blonde One about the impact of her outdoor calendar on these!)
Both Blonde One and I fully intend to get in a Dartmoor wild camp (better described as a Dartmoor backpack camp) as soon as we can but, in the meantime, February offers plenty of opportunity for local fun, and may well turn out to be more spring-like than we are all expecting (I mean this in both the meteorological and metaphorical senses). There might not be snow but we are determined to find snowdrops. There might not be skylarks but we will be enjoying our garden birds, and for once, we will be able to watch the named storms from the comfort of our own homes!
There really is a silver lining to any February cloud!
Family outdoor activities
If you really want to make the most of February, how about a family GetOutside game of SPRINGO?