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Thread: North Dartmoor tomorrow!!

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Hi all, firstly I'm new to this forum, so hello and Thank you for any advice in advance. I'm (stupidly) committed to getting to Fur Tor this weekend with a small group of mates - I'm imagining it's pretty boggy.... Anyone know what the North moor is like at the moment with all this rain? Impassable / dangerous / foolish?! I've only done that part in drier conditions and even then it was pretty full on! Thanks in advance, any advice greatly received. James

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Sorry, James, only been out on the Brecon Beacons recently - and they're the sloppiest I've ever seen them. But there are a couple of Dartmoor regulars on OM so hopefully they'll see your questions and be able to answer them.

    Welcome to the forum, btw!

  3. #3
    Initiate Toot's Avatar
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    Well, the only good news is that no firing appears scheduled on Friday, nor over the weekend of course.

    The moor is extremely wet underfoot everywhere - you can't expect anything else after weeks of rain. A top-up over the past few days and heavy rain to come this weekend will not improve that situation. Travel will be over "heavy" wet ground, slippery, plus it will be windy and in all likelihood raining heavily! I hear it gets dark early this time of year too...

    The marshy bits on the map will be more not less marshy, and plenty of other areas will try to do an impression of the same. Expect rivers/streams to be high and swift-flowing. Further heavy rain forecast will increase those conditions quickly as the ground is so saturated it's not going to soak any rainfall up, so it'll go immediately into the nearest stream, then river. Might be worth remembering that anywhere you cross even a stream on Friday might not be possible after prolonged heavy rain forecast for Saturday, and even well-known crossing points might be "interesting" - if visible at all! Any river crossing in these circumstances will be more dangerous - more so if you take unnecessary risks, so why not try to avoid it? It's far, far better to go higher up to cross more safely, than take increased risk downstream of falling in and drowning. It's a very simple choice and there's only one sensible response

    Forecast Friday/Saturday is for heavy rain with Met Office warnings for the area, winds constantly 20+mph and although South-Westerly/Westerly rather than a bracing North-Easterly it's still going to feel chilly, especially on Saturday. Be properly prepared, or potentially be a cold wet fool!

    Which route are you taking to Fur Tor? I'd be avoiding the claggy South approach through peat, and avoiding wet ground from East and North too, and facing into the weather. North from say Meldon would offer a little shelter up the valley to Lints Tor, but after that it's exposed if you go higher up and very marshy low down, plus wind-rain will be towards your face from the side going out or coming back .I'd probably go in from Lane End and over high ground North of Tavy Cleave (easier navigating and easier going than the riverside route), then try to cross Ambicombe Brook and approach Fur Tor from NE. If that crossing is not possible you'll have to go further NE in a loop and do more crossings higher up. That route will put wind/rain mostly to your rear/right rather than head-on. If Tavy Cleave is chosen to get some shelter, watch the river level, expect wet areas and be sure to stay on the North side of the river going out, and be especially sure to get on that side early on if coming back that way - if you're on the wrong side of the river in the Cleave you wont be able to cross and it's a long walk to a bridge. Lynch Tor direction is another option, but it's exposed and probably wouldn't be much fun facing into the wind/rain on the way back.

    You're not committed to going to Fur Tor - there's always the option to cancel for another day, or turn back. It's only stupid to go if you feel that you, your chums, or your kit will not cope with the obvious conditions and forecast. Hopefully, you'll judge that appropriately beforehand. If not, at best you'll feel uncomfortable, at worse need rescue. Discomfort is to some degree inevitable to the Dartmoor traveller over time, but need for rescue due to foolishness is always to be avoided.

    There will be a few other people out on the North moor this weekend (not Fur Tor), me included if I'm not helping my son move house. I know I'll cope with current and forecast conditions, in acceptable comfort. Fur Tor probably isn't somewhere I'd aim to go this weekend if I wasn't confident in that thought - there are plenty of other places you could choose instead.

    Enjoy

  4. #4
    Widdler
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    Thanks for that - v useful. We were planning on going from Postbridge.... I've let one of the other guys plan the route which would've been fine had it not rained solidly for the last month!!

  5. #5
    Widdler
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    Hi James, i'm also a newby, did a loop from Postbridge last sunday it was wet wet wet !!!! but it was great to get out !! If you've got the gear get out and enjoy, just expect to get wet !!

  6. #6
    Initiate Toot's Avatar
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    Postbridge eh? Well James, at least you'll know what it's like underfoot by the time you get to Fur Tor! Not hard to find thanks to the East Dart, but last time I crossed Cut Hill in weather like this I resembled the Thing From The Black Lagoon by the time I arrived.

    If the forecast is right, and it probably will be, James and his gear will get a good wet weather test.

    It is of course good to get out. Even now, no matter what the weather is doing, I know the heart beats a little faster as I get near the moor and my departure point. It's playtime. Endorphins, and all that. I also know it'll be more enjoyable if I determine what happens to me and my kit rather than leave it to the elements to decide! To my mind, comfort is agreeable, discomfort less so. The longer you're out, especially in dire conditions or overnight, the more any failing becomes apparent - especially being wet. It's all an interesting process of education...

    There will be a tale to tell one way or another, depending on the longevity and condition of experience.

  7. #7
    Goon
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    Hi James,

    Did you go to the moor? if so hope you had a great time. How were groundconditions up there and which areas, routes did you walk ? I'm interested to hear how things wereas I'm going this weekend for 2 nights.

    Many thanks

    Sam.

  8. #8
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Was up there all day yesterday Sam.

    Windy/driving rain all day. Yum. Not too cold.

    We did a circuit from near Merrivale out to Beardown Tors, Higher White, Rough Tor, Devils Tor then back over via Great Mis again. It's sopping underfoot at the moment and rivers highish.

    Normal for the time of year!

    The Postbridge route out to Fur Tor though not having the most interesting views, is the most appropriate if wanting to avoid river crossing issues/detours.

  9. #9
    Initiate
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    Hi Mole!

    I was out on Saturday, by the Erme. It was ok, surprisingly low - but can change so fast.. Went up to Erme Pound from Wrangaton and the ground was pretty reasonable. But this is on the sounthern-most part of the moor, where it always seems much easier than other parts.

    James, hope you had fun?

  10. #10
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Hi Rob.

    Maybe James n gang got stuck in a mire?

  11. #11
    Initiate
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    Oh no - a call-out perhaps? Would be good to hear how they got on. I'm up there tonight, wild winds, frost last night...

  12. #12
    Mini Goon Chmusar's Avatar
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    Just got back from doing a 2 nighter with my son did the route below

    http://v-g.me.uk/Trips/G0088/G0088.htm(great website and routes)

    It was not as bad as i thought it was going to be until this morning as we headed back to Princetown the weather was awful and high winds and water crossings difficult so going was very slow but got back safely with a bit more wet gear than normal . Did not see one person until back at Princetown over the 2 days. Had a good time though and good for my son to learn navigation in bad visibility and conditions

    Coming back in the car lots of roads where flooded but passable.


  13. #13
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Well done. Geoff had better weather!

    It's certainly soggy going at the moment. I stayed in today. Horrid here let alone up there! But from working outside generally, I know it's nearly always easier out than you think it will be though.

    Last Sunday lunchtime:




    Out Ten Tors Training with our younger Explorers.Good nav practice - 30-150m visibility all day. With almost constant driving rain/wind. And some "fun" river crossings. Explorers were fantastic- a happy but soggy bunch.





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