By: Blonde Two

It was a pleasure to see team after team of boot and rucksack clad youngsters trekking through bog and pasture, backwards and forwards across Dartmoor this weekend.  A pleasure but it did make it rather difficult to find a spot to relieve one’s feelings.  Every hillside, valley and tor had people on it – the Two Blondes had to stand watch for each other in the rather bushless zones around Holming Beam.

We spent a fair amount of time gathering in some of ours who were too exhausted or ill to carry on (no mercy next trip!).  This meant a little less walking than usual and some waiting in car parks which were laden with minibuses and their respective adults.  Not being people to waste time, the Two Blondes occupied themselves gainfully by categorising these adults (we told you, we are walking snobs at heart).  We found three types:

1.  The Slogger – The Slogger is not afraid to get dirty or tired and is happy to walk with his team through bog, mud and river.  He knows his students well and delivers excellent training en-route.  The Slogger may be reluctant to let his team go off on their own too soon.  He can be easily recognised by the mud and grass attached to his boots, the wearing of gaiters and the shattered look on his face as he hauls himself into the driver’s seat to drive the minibus home.

2.  The Organiser   – The Organiser has a really good handle on which teams are out on the moor and exactly where they are at any given minute.  He manages this feat by virtue of a well organised clip board, a selection of coloured pens and several sets of VHF Radios.  The Organiser has a strong working knowledge of the phonetic alphabet and is not afraid to use it all of the time and in a very Lima Oscar Uniform Delta voice.  The Organiser can easily be recognised by the tall antena on his car and his clean shoes and trousers.

3.  The Tor Namer – The Tor Namer is a phenomenon that must be unique to Dartmoor.  Nothing makes the Tor Namer happier than listing the tors that he can see and a few that he can’t.  Cries of “Beardown”, “Rough”, “Crow”, “Devil” gush forth from his lips until it appears that he is stuck in some weird kind of loop.  He almost certainly does the same thing in his sleep.  The Tor Namer is easily recognised, he will be the one standing in the middle of the car park waving his arms around in the general direction of hills.  He won’t have a map out in public but will occasionally disappear behind a bush or into the car to check his tor list.

I probably sound like I am being very mean here and it is important to remember that, no matter what category each person falls into, most of them are volunteers and all of them feel passionately about what they are doing.  But still – people watching can be enormous fun and watching walking people particularly so.  I wonder what they all made of us!