Sunday, June 8

Dartmoor walk - route planning

I've just spent many hours sat in the garden in bright sunshine with the OS Map of Dartmoor laid before out in front of me. As I finally pour over the many bits of route/place ideas collated during the last few years I've been trying out combinations of North-South/reverse trips.

At the same time some of the descriptions and hand drawn maps taken from my well thumbed copy of 'Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks' by Eric Hemery are also being laid out on the OS map to get a feel for what's possible.

I've so far come to two conclusions.
1. Why do I use reading glasses indoors, when outside, in full sunlight my vision is 20/20
Solution: Wear a head torch indoors

2. The Dartmoor OS map is woefully inadequate when trying to route plan in any detail. Tracks clearly described, or better still visible via on on-line photos are no where to be seen on the map. May have something to do with the military zone, but I suspect its more a case of limited redrafting on the OS's part. and it really doesn't help when some of the reference material insist on using the old Devonian names for certain localities.
Solution: Wing it as I go!

Oh I do so love a good plan! And that's a reminder to me I'd better it sorted rather soon being due to travel later this week/early next and still uncertain as to the start point yet.

At least I know that's where I intend to end. Its a start, I suppose. Err, no hang on ............

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RE Dartmoort tracks

I've found that a lot of tracks which aren't marked obviously on the OS map do show up quite well on the Google Earth shots.
Careful though - many tracks are 'notional' at best, i.e. haven't existed as real trails for decades.

I've spent many a happy hour meandering along sheep-trails on Dartmoor thinking that I'm following in the footsteps of Abbots or other such types.

Dartmoor is a hugely underrated place for wildcamping - which is why I end up on there more than anywhere else in the UK.

Do watch out for boggy land though - even when it's been dry for a while it turns into a kind of spongey walking surface that drains the strength from your legs.

Where are you planning on starting off from?
I have always fancied 'letterboxing' on Dartmoor, sad that I am. Whether that is more or less geeky than train spotting or county top bagging I am not certain.
Mark - Ivybridge is the kick off

SW letterboxing does get you to some out of the way spots
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