Showing posts from January, 2009

Dartmoor: out with the old!

Vur Tor

Sandy Hole Pass

The Grey Wethers

As it's the last day of the first month of 2009, it seems appropriate to post a couple of shots from the last day of the last month of last year. I took myself off to Devon to visit family and to see in the New Year on Dartmoor. New Year's Eve was a glorious day, a better end to 2008 could not have been possible!

The Grey Wethers are two seperate stone circles adjacent to each other, dating back to the Bronze Age. 'Wethers' is an Olde English term for sheep, presumably the stones looked like sheep grazing on the flank of Sittaford Tor to some olde English person.

Sandy Hole Pass is an area near the upper East Dart with extensive tin mining evidence. There is a tradition of mining and quarrying on Dartmoor that goes back to prehistoric times.

Vur Tor (or Vwr Tor, or Fur Tor) was the spot I chose to camp on New Year's Eve. It looks fairly peaceful in the shot above, but Vur Tor lies within an MoD live-firing range. Consequentl…


Looking at my kit list leaves me thinking about knives. I remember a thread on an outdoors forum last year where someone asked if people carry knives when they're backpacking. The opinions on the thread were very polarised. People either do or they don't. Those that do wouldn't be without one and those that don't can't see any reason to carry one. I do. I always carry a knife when I go backpacking. I always have done, I guess it's something that goes back to my time as a Boy Scout many years ago! We learnt how to use a knife safely in those days. Usually it's my folding Victorinox camper, which I like because it has features that I use regularly such as a can opener and corkscrew. I find it useful for slitting boil in the bag rice, and preparing food for instance. The other knife I have is the one above. It's a Spanish-made (Muela) mini Bowie knife. The blade is about 3" long and it is a very nice thing to use. It will be going to S…

Kit Lists

Plans for my wilderness canoe trip in Sweden in May are just about complete and I've been thinking about kit again. I'm not a gearholic, but it's inevitable that you build up a considerable amount of equipment when you have been involved in several outdoor activities over many years. Some of my kit is over 20 years old and still gets used. It's like having old friends along who won't let you down! I'm not an ultralight fanatic, but I can get my base weight down to around 2.75kg with tarp and bivibag for a weekend away. Some of my equipment is utilised between activities. I've seen a few blogs which have extensive equipment test reports that are far better than anything I ever read in outdoors magazines when I used to buy them. Maybe I'll get around to writing up a few gear reviews later. In the meantime, here's a few lists according to category and activity:

MSR Microzoid
Phoenix Phreeranger EB
Terra Nova Solar 2
Vango F10 mk4st

Whose hands?

Gindslow Knoll

Whose hands set this beautiful old gatepost and built these walls? I look at such things in awe. They add to our landscape and our conciousness, I stop and think a little about how life was and how values change. Things that were once both functional and necessary have a different place now. Cause and effect. Land-shaping and the passage of time. Monuments to monumental change.

Cold light

Above Grindsbrook

A Sunday when the blanket cloud showed some promise of lifting, but it never did. That's Kinder! Odd thing was, this cloud blanket was much higher than usual. Strange how failing light has a quality of it's own. The blueness sets in and the cold wind bites.

Sunday strolling

Above Edale.

One good thing about dawdling on the hill on a post-Christmas Sunday walk is that the hordes will descend before I do, leaving me to enjoy the plateau in solitude. I can't remember when I first went to Edale, but it was probably some time in the 60's on a school geography trip. I never tire of Kinder Scout, I've seen it's many moods throughout the seasons and a good long day on Kinder Scout is a good work-out.