By: Blonde Two
Yesterday’s blog post saw the Two Blondes setting off into the near dark with our co-opted Blonde Rob, two Dartmoor Rescue adjudicators and a four legged companion. We found the first navigation feature quite quickly, it was a cairn and cist on the opposite side of the Devonport Leat – not too tricky. After that the grid reference we were given pointed to a tiny u-shape in a contour line (possible the smallest one I have ever seen). Experienced Dartmoor navigators will recognise a re-entrant and be able to name it as such but if you didn’t want to use fancy words, you could also call it a dip in the ground. We found that as well – they are a lot bigger in real life!
The night went on in the same way. Our new Blonde-for-the-Night was a most excellent addition to the team and we fell into a pattern; mark the feature, decide on a strategy, take a bearing, pace out the distance. We had a little hiccup at our final point. At Nun’s Cross Farm (the farm itself is easy to find and quite big), there is a little, worn plaque on the inside edge of the boundary wall. We missed it several times and, when we finally found it, I was kicking myself (not actually, those boots hurt) because I had read about it last week.
We were last back to the car park by quite a long way and the faffing around at the farm nearly meant that we missed the cut-off time. We weren’t given the results straight away but after some very serious looking (and secret) discussions and comparisons of map traces, the winners were announced.
If you look closely at these GPS traces (the Blonde one is on the left) you will see that we took a shorter route to the tiny cross (most southerly point) on Hand Hill. There wasn’t much in it and the other team were quicker but when (after a suitably long drum roll on the table) the winners were announced, for accuracy, we are thrilled to tell you, the Three Blondes were the winners!
It was a genuinely good night and great fun was had by all. Mega thanks to our adjudicators for a) setting the course, b) not being too fierce on the way round and c) enjoying a pint with us afterwards. The Blondes have not stopped grinning yet and if you have been wandering what Two Blondes on Dartmoor at night look like, here is a little clue for you!