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Thread: 3-day solo wild camp in Dartmoor - routes?

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Afternoon all!

    In early September, I'm planning to do my first solo wild camping expedition on Dartmoor, probably for three days / two nights. I'll be taking a car down there, so routes will need to be circular in order to return to my starting point.

    Having done some research on various things to see on my route, I'm after some advice - primarily on where to park, what direction to start off in, and a rough idea of which route to follow in order to include some areas on the way. I'll be setting off mid-morning (around 10am), and returning before dark on the third day.

    So - things to see, in no particular order, are: Great Links Tor, Tavy Cleave, Sandy Ford, Wild Tor, Watern Tor, Fur Tor. Any suggestions of additional places to see would be greatly appreciated!

    These locations are pretty close together looking at the map, but I'm not really sure how much ground I will cover each day without knowing the terrain. I am fairly fit, for reference. If you have suggestions for extending the route to three days to take more in, that would be great.

    Any thoughts? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Goon
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    Hi anthropolyte. I was going to do this planned trip for this Bank Holiday but I have put on hold until the Weather improves. The reason for using the bridal paths was that it has been raining for the past two weeks.

    Park the van at Prince town and use the Bridal path to Whiteworks and if OK then to visit the Childs Tomb then onto Bridal path and turn left onto Buckland Ford then turn right straight to Eastern White Barrow or go via the old Tram Line. Wild camp the night.

    Then onto Erme Plains past Stingers Hill then proceed to Abbot's Way. Have Lunch at Higher Harton Tor. Then onto Sheeps Tor for Dinner and Wild Camp.
    Then through base of Forest and onto Crazy Well Pool and up and over Cramber Tor and then back to Prince town.

  3. #3
    Widdler
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    That sounds pretty good, actually, although it's going South. It gives me an idea of what sort of distance I should be looking at. It looks like there are similar bridal paths to the North of Princetown - given the weather lately, I think it's a good idea to stick to those where possible, since it's probably going to be pretty soggy in places.

    I'll try and map out a route based on distances you've described.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    hi. Might be useful to read Rob and mines comments re bridleways on Fox's thread here
    http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/forum/s...l28/68811.html

    Though, actually the ROWs mapped on the North moors mostly have something on the ground. There are also several good paths which are unmapped.

    If you want a ' wilder' experience for the trip. I'd consider staying on the North moor away from roads, it's easy to make a nice 3 day route. digital mapping helps immensely with distance planning

  5. #5
    Widdler
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    Thanks Mole, that's useful.

    So a bit of online mapping later, and I have a proposed route. I've clocked it on TripZilla at 24 miles total, with about 10 miles on the second day. Aiming to wake up and get going for 8am on the second day, probably camping at dusk (so around 8pm).

    Any thoughts on this? Maybe a little ambitious for three days?

    Park at Lane End -Climb to Ger Tor
    On to Hare Tor, on to Chat Tor
    Lunch on Great Links Tor
    On to Kitty Tor, walk around river to Lints Tor
    Wild camp on/near Dinger Tor

    Bridalway East, climb to Steeperton Tor
    Continue round to Little Hound Tor
    Lunch on Cosdon Hill
    Descend to River Taw and cross
    Climb to Winter Tor
    Wild camp at/near East Mill Tor

    Bridalway to Yes Tor
    South to High Willhays
    Descend to Black Tor
    Follow West Okement River South to Sandy Ford
    Exit valley South, cross country to Green Tor
    South to Chat Tor
    Return to Lane End

  6. #6
    Widdler
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    Looks like I may have to rethink the first and last portions of this route as it turns out... Live firing every day in the Willsworthy range during the week I'm going to be on the moor. I think I'll start from the River Taw and create a new route from there - Okehampton has no live firing during that week at all.

  7. #7
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Which week are you going - is Merrivale firing too? Some weeks are clear. Happy to make a few suggestions if you want.

    10 miles in a 12 hour day is a very leisurely pace? It's not that hard going on dartmoor. We took a group of 13 year olds (one novice) on a backpack in June and managed 10 miles in 7 hours

  8. #8
    Widdler
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    Merrivale is as well - it's the second week in September, 7th to the 11th. I may start in Belstone and head towards Steeperton, before coming back round South and making a big loop through Sandy Ford / Kitty Tor.

    Suggestions would be very welcome indeed! I would prefer to do the North Moor, purely for the landscape. Okehampton Range isn't firing that week, so all clear for that area.

  9. #9
    Widdler
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    Right, new route, starting in Sourton! Seems there's safe parking there, so happy to leave the car for two nights. This route is probably a bit easier, which is no bad thing, given that I've not done any serious hiking before. Plus it will give me a bit of extra time for photography, not to mention allowing for weather conditions.

    Park in Sourton
    Climb to Sourton Tors
    Cross to Gren Tor
    Continue to Great Links Tor, have lunch
    East to Kitty Tor
    Descend to Sandy Ford, camp overnight

    Climb to Lints Tor
    Continue to Dinger Tor
    Cross Okement Hill, continue to Hangingstone Hill
    Climb to Watern Tor
    Cross to Wild Tor, have lunch
    Cross to Steeperton Tor
    North West to East Mill Tor, camp overnight

    East to Yes Tor
    South to High Willhays
    Cross to Black Tor, have lunch
    Cross to Shelstone Tor
    West to Sourton Tors
    Return to Sourton

    I reckon that's about six to eight miles a day, give or take. Thoughts?

  10. #10
    Initiate
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    Anth - I wouldn't have thought you needed to be off at 8 if you're only doing ten miles? Why nothave a slower start and simply enjoy being there - assuming the weather plays ball? But if uncertain, an earlier start keeps options open, at least. You can always chill out in the eve.

    Even with firing going on, there's plenty of scope. You can also ring to find out if they are actually firing on the day, as they may have achieved all they wantedto a day or two earlier.

    Enjoy it!

  11. #11
    Widdler
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    I think you're right, Rob - I'll take my time. Pointless going to enjoy the landscape and wilderness if I'm rushing to get somewhere. The route above should hopefully allow for that - total distance is 16.5 miles, but that's sort of "as the crow flies", so probably more like 20 in total over three days. Should allow for a decent rest at each waypoint.

  12. #12
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    I don't know how much experience you have in such things, Anth, but I'd certainly suggest taking it easy-ish initially, find how you are and maybe push it a bit as the day progresses, IF you feel like it. I love just hanging around with a good book, just 'being there'. You can also go off for a walk having found an early, perfect pitch, up to a tor for a sunset, perhaps? You may still find a few bilberries then, too?

  13. #13
    Widdler
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    Bilberries... Now there's a thought!

    In answer to your query, I don't have a lot of recent experience of this sort of thing. I have walked the Lake District several times, and have done a fair amount of orienteering, but I've never wild camped before. I have done my research with regards to equipment and safety - the only question mark is around my fitness, to be honest. I'll plan accordingly, and take things steady, as you suggest.

  14. #14
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    Take some custard for the 'whortleberries' or 'worts' as they're known here. I think you've got the right approach - you can always extend it or other trips based on how you get on. Much better to enjoy it than hate it!

  15. #15
    Widdler
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    Other trips are definitely on the cards, despite the 3+ hour drive from Bristol. On the plus side, I do drive down that way for work fairly regularly, so I'll get my travel paid for...

    Thanks for your help!

  16. #16
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    3 hours from Bristol? Nah, surely not - I do it in 1.5 hrs - to the bridge, anyway... Or is that the round trip?

    Must do some work...

  17. #17
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Hi. Taking your time is good, but Gt Links to Sandy Ford is only 45 minutes walk at most, and Kitty Tor is OK , but not a place to hang out for hours.... I think you'll end up going further each day - unless of course the weather is so bad, you'll be tentbound with a book...

  18. #18
    Widdler
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    Rob - You're right - I've overestimated quite a bit! Good news

  19. #19
    Widdler
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    Mole - thanks for that, gives me a bit more information for the route. I may add an extra loop in before heading to Sandy Ford, possibly over to Green Tor and Great Kneeset. Gives me the option to return via Lints Tor.

  20. #20
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Your first day comes up at just 5 miles on Memory Map. Day 2 8.5miles, Day 3 is just over 5 miles. Add another mile each day for the ins and outs, and it's still very relaxed.

    Honestly, if you are fit as you say, I think you will have bags of time on your hands and want to go further each day.

    Sourton to Bristol (Clifton) for me would take 2 hours on a normal Day.

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