The walk and camp was purely a social, something very much needed following on from lockdowns and being stuck to a routine of short local walks. May 2021.
The initial plan was to meet people in Belstone and walk out from there. Belstone has a good-sized car park but on this occasion, it was packed due to a local event. We had a quick rethink and thanks to mobile phones, managed to get hold of everyone and make a new plan. Steve would meet Jon and me at Row Tor, Jay and Robin would walk in from Postbridge. Karl and Jim were already on the moor and having a spot of lunch at Oke Tor.
The GPX of our walk from Row tor can be downloaded here. It’s a fairly easy route, a lot of tracks with a little overland and 3 river crossings, each has good crossing points if the rivers are low – https://explore.osmaps.com/route/12136112/row-tor-to-watern-tor-and-back?lat=50.689471&lon=-3.985517&zoom=12.8393&overlays=&style=Leisure&type=2d
The forecast was for a clear day with a little cloud cover later in the afternoon, clearing overnight with the possibility of a frost overnight. This was fairly accurate, however, we did have around 30 minutes of snow while walking from Oke Tor towards Steeperton and again, another 30-40 minutes of snow at Watern, just after most of us had pitched.
Jon was using a pack I had made him, its first outing and I was happy that he found it comfortable and functional for all his gear.
It was fantastic to see friends, we’d all been chatting online, but none of us had seen each other in person for well over a year. On arrival at Watern we all had a catch up before pitching. Jon chose to wait for all of us to pitch up, as he can’t sleep with people snoring around him, he picked a spot on the other side of the tor hah hah.
Once pitched, whisky and food were shared while we all caught up. We were talking well into the evening and the forecast was correct, the sky did clear and the temperature dropped.
For dinner, I had a REAL Turmat Reindeer Soup which hit the spot nicely and was delicious. I enjoyed some homemade beef jerky, olives and biscuits with cheese through the evening 😛
There was a good selection of shelters used by everyone. Karl and Robin chose bivys with tarps, Jay brought his new Hex Peak out, the coyote/desert brown looked really nice, Jon and Steve had Duomids, Jim his Luna Solo and I took my Supermid for a spin using the new ‘Double’ inner.
The Supermid is a palace for one person, even with the ‘double’ inner fitted, which is really a large one person. There is tons of room in the second half to get changed, store gear, cook etc. In bad weather, other than pitching the fly, everything else can be done from inside with ease. I know this is the case for plenty of other shelters as well but I don’t think there are many that offer the room for weight or ease of pitching all in one.
I pitched the shelter a little off the ground as I expected to be cooking inside and like to have good airflow unless I am expecting driving rain or very heavy wind. Dropping the pole 3-4 inches and tightening the corners would have been simple enough if needed.
The following morning was a cold one, none of us had thermometres but judging from the frost on all our shelters, it had dropped below freezing for quite a bit of the night.
The sunrise was amazing and a number of us enjoyed a coffee and breakfast marvelling at the views lit by stunning golden orange rays.
Once everyone had eaten and packed away, we set off back towards the cars. Jay headed back towards Fernworthy, Jim said goodbye as we headed towards Wild Tor and Robin broke off as Jon, Steve and I headed towards Steeperton.
The views were stunning as is pretty much always the case on Dartmoor. Even when its claggy or raining, the moor has majesty and beauty.