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Thread: Planning to MTB wild camp on Dartmoor

  1. #41
    ‹bermensch
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    On my OS mapping, the FB is on the leat to the south, not the river. This on Google Earth (at the gridref you provided),is crossed by a ford.

  2. #42
    Widdler
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    Does that mean I can not cross the river to get to where I want to go?

  3. #43
    Widdler
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    Is it possible then to cross at the Ford S/W of Cairn Mill?

  4. #44
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    rob is correct there is no bridge over the river -it's on the Leat above.

    We cross in various ways

    Either

    wade the Ford if not too deep/fast. Take crocs Or something. Or remove socks insoles and dry inside boots with a cloth.

    Or

    Upstream, cross on the Leat weir. A serious undertaking as a slip could cause injuries due to the height only - if the water low and conditions dry.

    Or safest, cross Upstream from below Hartor tors down wards the river is narrower.

  5. #45
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Velz. I think you mean Mill Corner (cairn is written in different font?)

    I'm not sure, but there are various places Upstream.

  6. #46
    Widdler
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    Thanks Mole, i will take a look at the Map at Hartor tor now.. any particular part of the river on the map you think might be worth heading for? I notice there is a foot path that runs across Plym Ford which leads to the Abbots way.. do you think that is a good bet?

  7. #47
    Widdler
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    Yes Mill Corner, you are correct my mistake.

  8. #48
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    Velz. Yes you can cross at Plym Ford . Have had wet feet occasionally in winter.

    Have crossed at various places between the above and Ditsworthy, many times between Langcombe Brook and Calveslake.

  9. #49
    Widdler
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    Thank you Mole I appreciate your help. I will replan my route and let you know.

  10. #50
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    No problem.

  11. #51
    Widdler
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    Hi Mole. Well I think I will park the car at Burrator reservoir, take the road aound Sheepstor passing Nattor, head towards and cross the Ford, forward to the Scouts Hut. Then take the Edwards Path down Past Eastern Tor to Ditsworthy Warren House then head East to pick up the river and follow the river to the Ford before Mill Corner and try to cross there, if thats a no go, then ill continue along the river to Lower Hartor Tor and see if I can cross somewhere there. If successfull I will make my way to the waterfall along the Shavercombe Brook. If not I guess I will have to follow the river to Plym Ford and try to cross there then make my way to the waterfall.. Not sure at all if this is a good route, this friday will be only my second time on the moors so still have lots to learn. Would rather not use roads as part of the route, I thought about picking up the bridal way near Burrator Dam that leads onto Sheeps Tor going up and over Sheeps Tor and straight lining it all the way to Higher Hartor Tor but im not sure if thats possible. What do you think?

  12. #52
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    I would suggest that from Ditsworthy WH, it would be easier and more interesting if you follow the path NE to Higher Hartor Tor. Thereby visiting the Drizzlecombe Standing Stones and Giants Grave.
    Then move on to the bridLE way track to cross at Plym Ford. Come back down to visit Shavercombe (via Calveslake Tor and Langcombe?). Hen Tor is worth a visit -more imposing than the map suggests... Coming back, wet feet from crossing the Plym is not such a big deal as near the end?

  13. #53
    Widdler
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    Hi Mole, thank you very much I will take the route you have advised. I was planning on setting out from the car around 11am im not in any great rush and plan to make stops to take photos. Can you recommend any good camping spots taking lightening and over sodden ground into account?.

  14. #54
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    Probably too late to mention it, but car will be nearer the end of the hike if it's parked at the car-park near Ditsworthy Warren House/Scout hut... I can't see any advantage in it being at the reservoir if you're to use the road to get to the moor at the point you suggest anyway? Parking near the scout hut means you'll have more time to meander on the open moor itself and see things there more interesting than the road! The route suggested has plenty to occupy you and that is something you may prefer, plus you may be glad of the extra daylight on the moor in these days when it's limited.

  15. #55
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    What Tooot says.

    Camping wise, I'm not sure of the general area you plan to stop at? It's sort of a day walk length. But exploring can take up time.
    Up towards Plym Ford is Wheal Katherine (spring and old ruined buildings on map). It's possible to pitch there, also just further on to the left of the track is an old wall structure which has flat pitches. In the lee of the banks in Evil combe too. Otherwise myriad pitches are available to the finder in the river and stream valleys and on the hills!

  16. #56
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    Again, good suggestions from experience. And again, looking at current conditions, I can't help thinking Velz might be discovering this the hard way!

    The internet is wonderful for advice and opinion but perhaps I was better placed in my own early days of wandering (1970's and pre-www) when the main source of moorland detail came from face-to-face meetings with people who had been there. Seeking such folks out and talking to them made friends you could see or pick up the phone to and consult in a timely manner, rather than hope someone gave advice in time online...

    Incidentally, Wheal Katherine ruin or even Hen Tor would, to my mind, make a good place to camp in that area under present wet and very windy conditions. It's exposed, fairly open and low-lying ground and it doesn't take much working out why there are ample rivers and other water about - the area looks nice but it's easily moistened. The attractions of a wall or ruin to hide behind and offer protection from the wind and all driven by it are obvious - more obvious with experience. Hen Tor has a big lump of granite to get in the lee of too, though the more obvious boulders on approach can dissuade inspection of what's above them. Again, experience offers a bonus I guess.

    I don't know how Velz goes about deciding where to camp, but from days when almost sole advice was to pitch low-down next to a river, I never forgot being told why camping close to a tor in wet and windy weather could be a better option. The lee of a tor can make useful shelter. Wind and rain can be funnelled along a "sheltered" valley. That's one reason why knowledge of a forecast and relating it to contours is a useful practice to develop.On high ground, draining or settled ground-water is likely to be less due to a reduced catchment area, and dryer moorland also means more grass and less reeds to pitch amongst.Higher up can offer more shelter and be much dryer - something to think about in planning or what you do on location. In calm but cold times the chilliest and dampest air can be seen settled in valleys not on the ground above, and in the morning sunlight/daylight can be touching your tent on high ground well before it gets into a shadowed valley - good for an early breakfast and drying damp kit before a timely move to the next interest.

    It'll be interesting to hear what Velz makes of his latest escapade. The distance isn't great but weather will still mean challenges, something to think about rather than simply face perhaps, and a chance to learn a thing or two.

  17. #57
    Widdler
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    Hi all. I didnt get the last message from Mole or Toot until I was back home in London today, so I had to work out the camping side of things for myself. Well I had a great second trip exploring parts of Dartmoor ive not seen. From the Scouts Hut Toot mentioned, which indeed would have been a perfect place to park the car, as he is quite right the roads didn't have much to offer other than a load of Sheep on Lambs hill and an old original red telephone box between a couple of house's.

    I set out from Burrator a little later than I had planned and soon realised I was carrying far to much weight in my pack but pushed on all the same. I arrived at the Scouts hut and and decided to take the path ahead rather than Edward's path to Ditsworthy WH due to time. I continued on the path to Eylesbarrow tin mine where the path forks, the path from this point becomes far less clear if readable at all from the ground none the less I found my way to the Tin workings where I made the small decent to the Ford and hopped over the narrow river, by this time it was just turning 4pm and I knew I had little daylight left. I had a little scout around looking for somewhere to camp but couldn't find anywhere flat enough around the lower part of Great Gnats head, so hopped back over the river and camped about 300 yards from the Tin mine behind one of the mounds. Didnt offer much in the way of protection from the wind or rain, but I had the tent up in five minutes and a brew on a few mins after that, at which point the wind nor rain was no issue.

    I cooked up some pasta and meatballs and bedded down for the night snug as a worm in a onesy. Outside was a very wet and windy, tho it was wet all day, another thing that doesnt bother me much so I I have the right kit on.

    Soon as a saw daylight around 7:20 I started to pack up my kit hopped back over the river and continued my journey as planned. I didn't get to see the Waterfall as I had wanted, I had the wind and rain which felt like little pellets when they hit the face going against me all the way throughout my journey I crossed the river at the Ford NW of Shavercombe Tor a bit more tricky than Plym Ford. Found a place to camp between Whittenknowies and Edwards path and spent the last couple hours daylight have a look around without my heavy pack.

    The were a one or two fails which ive learnt from 1, I need to find a less heavy winter sleeping bag, as the one I used is 2.3kg, 2, sleeping mat is to heavy 950g, 2nd pair of boots ive purchased also leak when to wet, resulting in soggy wet feet. And in future I will only pack dry foods.

    Otherwise it was a great trip, and I cant wait to get back, possibly in january/feb.

  18. #58
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Cool. Glad you had fun.

    An uncomfortably heavy pack certainly not fun

  19. #59
    Widdler
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    Yes it's very true that I'm learning the hard way, I realise that more than anything. Over the last 8 weeks i've tried to find a training course on the use of a map and compass to navigate without using a GPS. That failed miserably as no courses run this time year and anything I did manage to find were fully booked or wanted a large party of people for a booking.

    I tried to gain as much information as I could from (online) the wonderful world of the web, only it's not been so wonderful, when there is a question to ask relating to the skills needed the internet doesn't always answer them.

    I don't have the privilege of living close enough to be able to walk onto the moors as often as I need or would like to gain the knowledge and wealth of experience some of you have, nor do I have the mentor to call upon to aid with my quest to learn.



    The 260 odd mile, four and a half hour drive each way from SE London for two night stays at a time every few weeks or so might seem pointless to some, but for me it's the only way. I know it will take a lot of time before I learn enough about the moors to be satisfied aswell as knowledgeable and I'm sure I will make a good few mistakes in the process, nevertheless I aim to finish what ive started.



    At present I know very little about the Moors, but its a lot more than I knew eight weeks ago or so when I was planning my first trip. Personally I dont think im doing that bad considering the challenges ive been facing in my quest to explore the moors, I don't think there are too many disabled people out on the moors trying to do what I'm doing, does that make me stupid I don't think so, I'm just determined. Ive found something I love doing, in a place I like doing it. So happy days.

  20. #60
    Initiate Toot's Avatar
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    Apologies for late posts Velz (an occasional chuckle too!), but hats off to you for the "Can't wait to get back..." comment in prevailing conditions. Another one hooked! Your comments about learning and experience are spot-on. Others underline points I made about the internet - it's a useful resource but not necessarily as effective or reliable as personal connections. I don't think there's any stupidity in you doing what many people wish they were doing too, but aren't. Your way is far more beneficial - all it takes is making the first step to confirm that eh?

    Looking to return in Jan/Feb means your sleeping bag/mat may be a wise first upgrade. Whilst weight is an issue you've identified, I wonder how you found bulk, roominess and warmth performance of current gear? The latter benchmark is important to know and bear in mind when replacing sleeping kit. It's easy to go lighter but that shouldn't be at the cost of vital performance - no real satisfaction is gained from having light and expensive kit that doesn'tachieve the main purpose you bought it for. Plenty of posts here relate to sleeping and much will make useful reading - that process will be more efficient if you bear in mind that the words of experienced users are often far more useful than following endless links to adverts for particular kit that a vendor sells, or short-term reviews. As you're finding, hands-on real-life awareness can be a more accurate educator than advertising claims or unknowing suggestion. Once you have decided what your needs are, the classified ads here can save money in meeting them - one way the internet is a bonus.

    So far as sleeping goes I'd suggest you don't overlook mat R-value by focus on the lightest, warmest or best-priced sleeping bag alone. R-value doesn't automatically correspond with mat thickness, price, or weight. By wise selection a cost-effective improvement in sleeping system warmth can be obtained. Cold ground can draw heat away from a body encased in even the best rated bag where insulation is compressed by body weight and there's no mat as a heat-conducting barrier, so it's best to avoid that drawback. Just a quick look online to check what experience tells me has shown mats on offer with no quoted R-value (would you buy a car without knowing MPG?), and reputable company's offering 25mm mats with R-values quoted between 0.4 and 5.7. Beyond thickness, cost or weight the latter figures are a very important difference given the most important purpose of a mat. Such awareness is an expensive one to develop by trial-and-error purchase.

    I hope the enjoyment of your chosen education method continues.

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