By: Blonde Two
On Sunday, I was writing a guest blog post about walking along a certain grid line across the Dartmoor. I am not going to tell you which line (you are welcome to guess) but I will say that it is a straight line and not one of those wiggly green, “might-be-there” paths that OS Explorer 28 loves to taunt the Dartmoor uninitiated with.
This got me to thinking that walking in any straight line across Dartmoor would be an interesting challenge. Imagine starting at Anthony Stile, setting your compass at 180 degrees and just walking South. You would have to criss-cross the tracks and go straight across any waterways or bogs that you found. One particular set of walls that might cause you a wee problem would be the prison walls in Princetown. I have tried to no avail to find out how high the walls are but as they are in a circle you would have to make the climb twice.
Even worse than scaling those giddy heights would be the fact that, once safely out of the prison grounds, you wouldn’t be able to stop for cheesy chips at Foxtor Cafe without leaving your line. Further South, you might have to scramble in and out of a few tin workings but you would, at least get a glimpse of the stone rows and cairns at Drizzle Combe.
There is no denying that “walking the line” would be an interesting game to play but I think that most of us would be tempted to cheat. The tricky thing would be which line to choose. Maybe the grid line for the year of your birth would do it. This might prove to be a bit unfair. For example, if you wanted to walk from East to West across Dartmoor you would need to be between the ages of 33 and 63. Anyone older or younger might risk crossing some major roads or drowning in the sea. Under these rules, my North/South route would be ok but East/West would involve some significant bog treading and a reservoir swim.
We always ask our teams to line up and do a litter walk across campsites before we leave them (our lot are hopeless at this and end up in a bunch on top of each other). You could do the same thing with Dartmoor – all line up across the North moor and walk your way down. If you spaced everybody out an 100 metre intervals, I reckon you would need at least 120 people and that would miss out all of the East moor and quite a few bits of the West. I wonder how many people would make it all of the way South – some would have a much easier time than others so maybe a lucky dip would be the fairest way to give out grid lines.
I am not sure that this is one of my better ideas but now that it is in my head, I think the Two Blondes might have to try it sometime!