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Tony Hobbs | profile | all galleries >> My Walks. >> Dartmoor Camp in Cuben Trailstar July 2012 (3rd Camp!) tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Dartmoor Camp in Cuben Trailstar July 2012 (3rd Camp!)

It's been well over a month since my third camp on Dartmoor, please excuse my tardiness, and my first camp in the MLD cuben Trailstar.

I set of as is my want at about 8.30 from Brat Tor car park following the old railway line towards Sourton Tor. Bypassing the Tor I headed for the tiny rivulet west of Shelstone Tor to top up my water. Water is probably my number one priority and I like to have a good supply. Having said that, I carry a lot less than I used to, so making these top ups is vital.

From here I headed north west and then north east behind Meldon Reservoir, through a gate, deliberately missing the dam. It was just along here that I followed a lane and saw a ford heading into the moor. The river was very fast (to my eyes) and knee deep. I got about a quarter of the way over and looked back at Bess. Alone in that current with my lack of experience, no way was I going to hold my balance with two poles and get Bess across. I'd have needed to lead her up to direct her and she'd have been out of her depth. Not a chance.

Thankfully 100 yards, or is that meters, further on a footbridge resides. I knew of the bridge, it was marked on map but I wanted to cut a corner! After the bridge I headed past a youth group and youngsters playing in Red-a-ven Brook. This is actually a very impressive series of waterfalls leading to the open moor and Black Down.

From there it was easy cross country walking towards Row Tor and the military road which easily took me towards Dinger Tor. I found a "track" down to Brim Brook / West Okement River over a ford and up to Great Kneeset then over to Little Kneeset. It would have paid me to fill up at Black Ridge Brook between the Kneesets, but despite my addition to the walk early on, the direct route of Dinger to Kneeset rather than my previous Cranmere Pool route, put me ahead of time.

I think I was at Little Kneeset by 2.30 or 3! My original plan was to walk over to Amicombe Brook (hense being “ahead of time” – I had allowed for that extra bit if I wanted), but mentally it just wasn't in me. I had reached camp...

I could see two hikers crossing towards Fur Tor, I wandered at their heading...
I walked down to Cut Combe Brook to stock up on water. Four liters in 2 Platypuses. As I was so far ahead of time, I chilled out here. It was very relaxing. There was no sign of the walkers. I was not sorry. I was at peace in the solitude. Despite being a bit sad by it.

After about an hour or less I headed up to set up camp. I was pretty chuffed with my cuben Trailstar pitch. Naturally Colin marked me down a bit on my door in a private fun message. Later Ron also made a suggestion, no not that sort, on setting the door correctly. I suspect the door will always be a bit of a nemesis for me.

I used a few new / different things inside the shelter, namely an OookWorks Cuben groundsheet fitted for the Trailstar and a Klymit XL waist length mat. I had also brought along my PHDesigns quilt as I wanted to try that combination. I think the night temperatures got no lower than about 10c but I must admit I was cool under quilt on Klymit despite wearing three light thin layers and trousers.

It was a stunningly beautiful evening, warm and sunny. I needed my sun glasses and Tilley. I shot some video, wondered about bare footed, did a few tweets. I have to admit time did fly.

Having said that it was moving emotionally for me early on in the camp and I never really fully settle down until the point of no return. That's a mental point in time where I'd be unable to pack up and walk back to the car in daylight. So three hours before sunset. So in July I settled down and relaxed between 6 and 7 for the rest of the evening.

The weather stayed fine and dry all night. I am very happy by that!

I ate a meal on my stones, a cairn on Little Kneeset and one inside the Trailstar a bit later. Tea was drunk. It was a wonderful experience! I am unashamed to admit I relive the experience with fondness and enjoy sharing it, despite the actual day being at times mentally challenging for me. But that is my bug bear! I look forward to next camp. I dare say the fact I'm now "regularly" camping is a surprise to some.

I slept fitfully, being on the cool side didn't help. This was surprising as I prefer to be cool than hot at home. Just shows home and camp are incomparable! I still find the shelters constricting to some degree, though very roomy, again I'm used to a house. Even to me this sounds Irish!

I woke at 5, saw and filmed the sunrise, from the comfort of my quilt, it was beautiful. I ate breakfast and had a single tea. So little tea is unheard of for me. My mind was now on getting ready to pack up and leave. This is a bit of a shame, as a more relaxed feeling would be more enjoyable. Again, it's my bug bear and may ease in time / different situations. I only took a couple of photographs; seemingly walking “takes over”! I must try to “stop” myself and get more shots!

Packing needs care and a bit of time. Seems about one and a quarter hours is my time at the moment with summer kit.

As my pack is an MLD frameless pack, Burn here, I need to deflate my mattress, fold and carefully place in the back of my pack to act as the pack frame. I find this works fine and is very comfortable as long as I pack properly. Unsurprisingly I fill up the pack more here than at home when I actually have more! That doesn't sound as daft as it sounds. More care and time is probably taken at home!

I was ready by about 7.15, this is very very early for me and only due to having woken a bit earlier.

The walk was wet and slightly tussocky cross country to Green Tor and reasonable tracks towards Brat Tor (via Great Links Tor). I tried to shoot a video walking towards Brat Tor and my foot caught something and my left ankle twisted under me and I went down in a painful heap! This really annoyed me as I'd stepped on a bad stone on Fur Tor four weeks previously! I got up, cursing, and limped for a short distance. It soon eased somewhat and I was back at full speed. I stopped at Brat Tor and passed my respects.

Half an hour later I was at the car and strapping my ankle, just in case (this was my left ankle, the right which I twisted in January has never been better!). I never felt any pain from it. Until I twisted it again, very mildly this time, four weeks later back on Dartmoor!

Trying to explain to a friend why I insist on trail runners and not boots was not easy a week later! But I'll not be in boots except if the weather dictates. My ankle recovers very quickly. I just need to stop twisting the bloody thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the camp.

Red-a-ven Brook
Red-a-ven Brook
Me and my wonky door - MLD Cuben Trailstar
Me and my "wonky" door - MLD Cuben Trailstar
Me and my wonky door - MLD Cuben Trailstar
Me and my "wonky" door - MLD Cuben Trailstar