By: Blonde Two
Every now and then I get a really strong urge to visit a particular place on Dartmoor. I have a few, select places that conjure up these feelings – you know the feelings, the itch to lace up your walking boots, the yearn to fling on your rucksack (to be honest, mine is a bit heavy for flinging) and the idea of striding out to somewhere that you know really well. The current object of my desire is a place that Blonde One and I call “Kink in Leat”.
The Devonport Leat carries water from the Cowsic (not yellow or lumpy), the West Dart and the Blackabrook (not black) to the Burrator Resevoir from where it supplies water to Plymouth. It goes some other exciting places on its journey including a radon filled tunnel, a noisy aquaduct and some interesting foot bridges.
I cut my first navigation teeth along the section of the Devonport Leat that runs between Nun’s Cross Farm and the aquaduct. I counted the footbridges, paced out the length and got the runs from drinking the water. I have had many of my Dartmoor “firsts” by its side; first wild camp, first time in charge of a group and first time standing in my knickers shouting at a fox (he deserved it!)
But for the Two Blondes, the best place of all along the Devonport Leat is the place that we fondly call “Kink-in-Leat”. We have been there many times and, whatever the weather, always try to stop for a cup of tea. My son, Six-Foot-Blonde loves it too and I send him a text message with just the words “Kink In Leat” whenever I am there. For some odd cosmic reason, every time I have had any type of navigation assessment or training, someone has asked me to find the kink in the leat. Even on my final night navigation session in February, finding the re-entrant that is just above Kink-In-Leat was the leg that saved my WGL bacon.
I have thought long and hard about whether or not to share this peaceful spot with you and have decided that I am happy to but you need to do a bit of work for yourself. Get hold of a 1:25000 OS map of Dartmoor, flip it over to the South Sheet (you are always on the wrong side to start with) and put your finger on Princetown. Now follow a path out past South Hessary Tor all the way to Nun’s Cross farm. From here you will find the leat (be careful, it does disappear in a tunnel) – it is a blue line that follows the contour lines on your map. Follow the leat along to the West and just before you come to an aquaduct (about 1km), you will see a big bend in the leat where the dip in the ground (re-entrant) has forced it off course a tad.
Now get your rucksack, make a flask of tea and lace up your boots – off you go and we will see you there for a cuppa sometime. If you work for Ordnance Survey, please could you mention that we would like to make our name for this fabulous spot official and see it in writing on the Dartmoor map one day.