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Tony Hobbs | profile | all galleries >> My Walks. >> Dartmoor November 2012 in the Trailstar - Camp 7! tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Dartmoor November 2012 in the Trailstar - Camp 7!

There was a gentle breeze under the sides of my raised Trailstar, Bess was asleep in her bed, wrapped up in two towels and a brook (Walla) bubbled away just a few metres from my camp.

My meths stove boiled my dinner, water spare for tea. Light music drifted from my phone and a light tap of rain struck my shelter. I was warm, comfortable and above all else relaxed! I felt not a single pang of loneliness, I guess walking all day alone with Bess as my sole companion helped dispel that. Not that I'd ever noticed that feeling prior to last camp. But then that was only the second time I'd camped with company.

I ate my meal and looked back on my day of walking wishing that my hiking was as enjoyable as this particular camp was. It's a bit frustrating, but I have had homesickness all my life so maybe it's just to be tolerated. As I posted on Facebook one slightly mentally tough day a month (Cheddar is nearer home and I am more relaxed leaving home a bit later than for Dartmoor) is a pretty good compromise when on the whole I'm bubbling about the walk after, the beauty of it, successfully navigating around and thoroughly enjoying the camp!

I left the tiny parking area and headed over Scorhill (noting a lovely flat area!) and the two clapper bridges past a wooded section and to Kestor Rock. The walking was easy going, this area is well walked and so tracks have formed that mean tussocks can be avoided! Though it was wet underfoot and my shoes were soon soaked but as the temperature was about 6c my feet were not cold. From the Rock I followed another path to Long Stone and then into Fenworthy Forest. I crossed the forest and popped out directly opposite my entrance using the map to ensure I stayed on course.

A cow welcomed Bess and I by a gate to leave the forest and reenter the Moor. We bypassed the cow and followed the contours around a small valley to Stannon Tor. I stopped here and tried to get a ham roll down me. It was on this more exposed section I noticed a breeze had picked up and it had cooled off a fraction. I checked my weather computer, an old Silva ADC Pro, the temp was still 6c but the 15+ mph breeze brought the wind chill down to 2c! Not exactly freezing. The sun was about, intermittently. It was a perfect day for walking.

A note here, I kept my date open, if the forecast had been on the bad side I'd have changed to another date. I'm quite happy to aim for good weather where possible and cross bad weather when it catches me out! So far so lucky.

The walking was a little tougher underfoot but mostly level apart from another small valley I dropped into and out up to Sittaford Tor.

A stile needs clambering over here then a very wet crossing to Stats House. Down to North Teign Head. This is an easy water crossing and on this route the only waterway that needs jumping across! This route is ideal in winter for its lack of rivers.

I then headed up to Whitehorse Hill. This is easy in good visibility (and offers fantastic views) but care is needed in mist. I did this in reverse in mist last winter using just map and compass. When relying on my map I like to try to picture / interpret what the map says the land will do en route. This way if the map says I should be going down and I'm not...

Hangingstone Hill was next. I met the first two walkers here. Wearing boots and gaiters! I make a habit of looking at peoples foot wear on the hill. From my (limited) observations boots far outweigh trail running shoes. I somehow feel fantastic being one of the few! Ok, I'm not planning on crossing a snow field at the moment...

Wild Tor was next then Hound Tor. Heading to Hound Tor the ground was very slick with mud and my right foot kept going, skidding out from under me! My bottom had nowhere to go, other than down! I had a soaked arse and right gloved hand. No one was around, so all was fine.

I was very near my planned camping spot.

Last winter in mist I took a wrong turn and ended up at Rippator. Despite the wrong turn I actually knew I did it very shortly after doing it, and knew where I was heading. I wanted Hound Tor that time and on a direct bearing from Rippator I crossed a green tussockless area and thought it would make a good camp spot.

From Hound Tor I retraced those steps, actually, not quite, and headed for that same area. But in the process lost my left leg at the head of Gallaven Brook. One minute my leg was there, the next it was in the brook! This part of the brook, being at the head of the valley was invisible with reeds abound. This is not something I normally miss. Again it was just me, so I extracted my leg, dignity intact and carried on.

A day later my thigh ached, two days later my ankle ached. On the second day later, if you follow me, the thigh was fine, so I expect the ankle to be fine imminently. Must have given both a jolt and not noticed at the time.

This section was the roughest of the walk. Normally tussocks don't worry me and these were nothing more than gentle but annoyed me today. When I got to the "camp" area it looked slopey. In a better frame of mind I'd have probably found a flattish bit. Getting water, whilst close by would have entailed more rough ground crossing. I simply wasn't in the mood. Primarily as when I started the walk I passed a perfect pitch at the base of scorhill right next to the brook! Frankly there was no competition! If I'd not seen this I'd have stayed put. But with a flat area by a brook, I was off. It was nearer the car, in fact I had to partly retrace my early section. Only difference was I went around the south west of Scorhill rather than over the top.

I saw a group of 6 walkers off in the distance and passed an elderly couple by the stone circle of Scorhill.

As this area is frequented by walkers due to easy access I'd only camp here in winter. Also, being a small 1km hill away from car escape would be easy in emergency. Arguably it's too close to the car, but for the next few months, I'll call it home and adjust my walk to finish there. I'm quite happy with familiarity.

This time, Chris, it really felt like home.

I checked and wrote down here the distance information...

Distance 25.6km.
Asc 699m.
Ave moving speed 4.7kph.
Camped 940m from car.

This was all I wrote down. It is about as much as I'd put in my note pad. It's begging the question if to leave note pad behind and use the app Writer on phone / Nexus 7.

This was unquestionably my most relaxed camp from the moment I arrived. In fact I think I enjoy the camping more than the walking, mentally, at that moment. Though I am a walker. I want to walk as far as is sensible / feasible / reasonable in a day prior to camp. I'm not interested in parking the car, walking two miles (plucked that figure) or so and camping.

I pitched the Trailstar a bit higher to try it with a gap around the bottom. It was cool and I was glad for the bivi. The height of the Trailstar was not the issue but the cool damp ambient temperature. I suspect I'd have been chilled without the microclimate the bivi produced. In the morning the cuben base of the bivi was damp as was the side of my sleeping bag. Though the down did not appear wet. I will add a bit more cord to my groundsheet and see if I can get it a fraction more away from the sides. I'm more than happy with a single skin shelter. And an open door!

I read more than I have on any previous camp, saw half of We Bought a Zoo. Both via my phone. I also played a little music. I find it soothing.

Two meals were eaten, LWWF.

I think I slept ok, it wasn't sound, but a full bladder didn't help. I tried to use the bottle but the water works shut up shop and no matter how I tried I failed to go in the evening. I don't think he liked the idea of the bottle. Either that or he was confused. Buggered if I was leaving the warmth of my sleeping bag. I finally managed to go at about 6 in the morning! That was a relief, I can tell you.

Breakfast was had, my usual porridge. This time I cleaned the pot by making my tea in it after. I warmed my meths and had no issues lighting it with my striker whilst lying on my tummy.

I packed everything away, it still seems to take about an hour to do this. That is steady, continuous packing, including taking shelter down, putting cooking stuff away and deflating air bed. Not in that order.

Once packed, I hefted the bag on my back, headed up Scorhill and was at the car in short order. A few army bods were at the top of the hill. So getting going was wise or passers by may have, well, passed by.

I'll aim to be back, time and weather permitting in December. This will still technically be autumn.

So this is now 7 wild camps. Over the coming months I'll revisit my camp kit list. But it's pretty comprehensive but not too excessive. I may be able to thin a bit here or there. My Satmap may get relegated on well known walks in favour of my phone and Nexus.

This was by far and away my most relaxing camp! Long may that last.

Until next time....

Camp List November - Dartmoor.

MLD pack Exodus FS all options No pad. 3500ci / 57L 779
MLD cuben X Large dry bag / liner. 54

MLD Silnylon Trailstar + lines in cuben stuff sack 639
OookWorks OookStar Cuben Groundsheet 120
MLD Superlight Bivi in Cuben stuff bag 154
Quest Outfitters 0.74oz cuben sheet 2' 4'6" 24
Pegs 5 Easton 9", 3 6" Ti v, 6 MLD 6". 170
MSR Blizzard stake (Trowel) 1 23
Pacer Pole Bungs (2) 24

Sub Total 1154

PHD Sleeping Bag 350/900 MLD dry bag. -5c. 991
Exped Synmat 7M inc Built in Pump 842
MultiMat 2' 4" cut off. 79
Exped Airpillow 79

Sub Total 1991

MLD 850ml ti pot inc string pouch 106
MLD 450ml ti pot 37
Trail Designs MLD 850 Ti Tri cone 48
Trail Designs 10-12 burner 15
J Cloth tiny piece! 1
Light My Fire / Fire steel 28
Foil (aluminium) 10
Measure pots (2) 1
LifeVenture Lexan spoon 14
Spoon - MLD 16
Trail Designs Caddy 89
Bottle (1) for meths 175ml 143
Candle 13

Sub Total 521

20 fl oz / ????ml bottles (45g each) 90
Two 2L Platypus containers 36g 72
Compass Silva Type 4/54 38
Map / case 140
Silva ADC Pro 65
Phone / AquaPac (No rear protector on phone!) 143
SatMap No case. Goes in one MLD pouch. 230
Oakley Half Jacket Glasses / bullet case 119
Petzl XP Core head light 83
Aqua Mira (empty 8g) 35 drops. 10
Hand gel 23
Suncream pot 7g 22
Dyneema cord 2mm spare 10m one piece 30

First Aid kit in Ziplok bag. 140
Leatherman CS Style Knife 41
MagLite Solitaire AAA 24
Lighter 17
Lipsalve 9
Whistle 9
Body Glide Anti Chaff 5
Pod First Aid Dry Bag (Emergency items) 25

Waterproof matches 12. 8
Shock Cord 24" 6
20' Dynema Cord 1mm Emergency only. 4
Duct tape 26
Mylar tape 18" 4
Seam Grip 10
Exped Textile Glue 7
Rubber bands 4
SynMat patches 4
Ear plugs 0
Mueller Support Wrap 34
MLD Cuben Ditty Bag for above 2

Toothbrush 5
Toothpaste pot (pot 8g) 15
Soap 4
Towel Vaude 16
Hankies 2 10
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Teck Net inc lead / adaptor. 202
Ear Phones for phone 13
Phone battery BA750 30
SD card for camera 4
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Alwynch Book Lined writing pad 130
Pen Inka 16
ZipLoc bag small 7

Plastic / Freezer bags for Shoes / Feet 19
Toilet paper 22
Waste Pod stuff sack inc 6g plastic bag 66
Pee bottle 85

Gorilla Pod (no head) 241

Sub Total 2333

Arcteryx Delta LT Zip Polartec Thermal Pro Micro S cream 204
TNF Leggings 91
Smartwool Light Hiker Socks 86
Choc Fish Beanie 25
ChocFish Possum gloves 46
PHD Booties No stuff sack. 104
MLD Cuben Large 16"/8" stuff sack 9

Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody 367
MLD Cuben dry bag Medium 19

MLD Mitts eVent 42
Berhause Paclite trousers 198

Sub Total 1191


Tea bags (5) / Marvel (35g) / sweeteners (10) 74

Actual Packed weight 74

Daytime Food Kcals
Rolls 4 (Aprox weight!) 400 800
Nature Valley Crunch Oats and Honey 42 198
Nature Valley Crunch Ginger Nut Crunch 42 189
Jordans Frusli Red Berries 30 113
Jordans Frusli Blueberry 30 113

Actual Packed weight 558 1413

Evening Food
LWWF Tees Valley Beef Meat Balls 270 289
LWWF Tees Valley Beef Casserole 270 208
Potato (2 lots) 100 300

Elevenses Ginger 45 170
Elevenses Chocolate 45 182
Jordans Frusli Red Berries 30 113
Jordans Frusli Blueberry 30 113

Actual Packed weight 858 1375

Breakfast (Day Time!)
Porridge (50/20/10g) 1 Portion. 80 285
Nature Valley Crunch Oats and Chocolate 42 195
Jordans Breakfast bar 40 294
Quaker Oat So Simple Morning Bar Fruit Muesli 35 139

Actual Packed weight 225 913

MLD Cuben Large 16"/8" stuff sack 9 9

Total weight of Food & Tea / Kcals 1724 3701

TOTAL in PACK with food. NOT water . 9747

Pacer Poles Carbon 524
Camera NEX 7, paracord & 18-55mm + hood. 562
Sony Microphone ECM-ALST1 54
Cloth 6
Aquapac Medium waterproof camera bag 103


ChocFish T Shirt 187
Rohan Pants 51
Smartwool Light Hiker Socks 86
Mountain Hardwear (Pack?) Pants - light, short zip on leg. 470
Patagonia Polartec Blue Pullover S Pocket Regulator R1 284
Buff scarf 38
La Sportiva Crosslight and Superfeet 720
TrekMates Merino Touchscreen Gloves 30
Outdoor designs Taku small Windpro 57
Rab Neoshell small 450
Paramo hat 80
Watch Sunto Advizor 54
Credit card / Driving License in aLocSak


Total on Person 13503 13503

Bess List

Ruffwear Pack Palisades 850
Ruffwear Day Coat / high vis / water resistant 155
Ruffwear Bed Highlands 351
Ruffwear Bess Night K9 360
Dog Bowl 30
Food 545
Schmackos 300
Dog biscuits Shapes 60
Trek Towel 80*60cm 105
Trek Towel 110*60cm 147
MLD Ti pegs 6 60
OookWorks BessBed 131
Bess Total. 3098
From Kestor Rock
From Kestor Rock
Kestor Rock
Kestor Rock
Bess wrapped up!
Bess wrapped up!
Bess ready for the car!
Bess ready for the car!
Base of Scorhill.
Base of Scorhill.
Bess and the MLD Trailstar.
Bess and the MLD Trailstar.