By: Blonde One

Little Miss Blonde has started training in earnest for some serious Dartmoor challenges that lay ahead of her. She has always been a runner but the lure of Dartmoor has proved impossible to resist and she is back out on the hills. I always advise youngsters that the best way to train for walking up hills with a heavy bag is to walk up hills with a heavy bag. This was my advice to Little Miss Blonde too. One miserable weekend we bundled ourselves into the car so that she could walk up and down a very familiar hill a few times. Little Miss Blonde packed her rucksack so that it was full of the normal pieces of kit for a weekend on the moors and I packed my bag full of paperwork. On this occasion I was going to sit in the car with a coffee bought from the ice cream van in the car park and do some essential paperwork before going back to work the next day. Upon arrival at the edge of the moor we remembered that Dartmoor weather is totally different to town weather and it was actually raining rather heavily. We decided (rather sensibly, I think) that the rucksack should stay in the car to avoid having a house full of wet kit unnecessarily. When we arrived at the car park I was really annoyed to find no ice cream van to sell me the much needed coffee. We were also reminded that rain on Dartmoor often meant low or no visibility! The mist was most definitely down and visibility was down to about 5 meters. Even though this hill was quite familiar to Little Miss Blonde we decided that it would be very sensible to take her map and compass just in case. I have had occasion to help someone down from the same hill one very misty day when they became disorientated just 5 minutes from their car. To our amusement (and embarrassment) we realised that we had not got with us either a map or compass! School girl error! In true Pollyanna style though we decided that having a coffee at Ullacombe Farm was the only way forward. The training walk was abandoned in favour of some mother/daughter bonding – a much better option on this occasion!