Another very hard day waking. The moors are tough, they are out to get you; bogs, unmarked routes, stones and boulders , wind and rain and sheer inclines. So why walk on the moors? Simply because they are amazing.
I think it is because I am slightly on edge when walking alone on Dartmoor; the very real fear of getting lost or tripping and hurting myself adds another dimension to the amazing views. So does the absence of others and the knowledge that few people ever venture that far from their cars.
Walking some 15 miles over the moors today is no mean feat; over Kitty Tor at 584 meters, down the very steep valley to the West Okement River, then along its boggy valley and up the steep climb to Yes Tor with all of its false horizons. Just when you think you are nearly at the summit a new higher one appears. Yes Tor is 619 meters high. The wind was blowing on the summit and there was rain in the air.
I decided to see if Okehampton YHA had a free bed and called from Yes Tor thinking it might be auspicious: ‘yes’ they said. Next time I will try calling my bank and asking for a thousand pounds!
Up on the higher moors I found myself checking and rechecking my bearings, count a hundred steps and check again – I am tired and could easily make a mistake, 1,2,3…….100 check again.
The Dartmoor rescue team are busy enough without silly old codgers like me wandering the moors with huge back packs and getting lost…….98,99, 100, check again. Luckily I made to Okehampton without incident.
This Youth hostel is more traditional than the one near the Eden Project. No shipping containers. I hope I don’t snore as I’m in a 4 man dorm.