Sunday 4 February 2018

Dartmoor: Ten Tors Training Camp 1: Hexworthy - Trowlesworthy - Princetown

The Trowlesworthy Tors from Ringmoor Down

This was an interesting experience for me, being my first ever camp. I was also very anxious, not only because I was camping but also because of the distance we were going to be covering, but I can happily say I completed the majority of it!

Day 1: We got dropped off at Hexworthy where we began our walk, and boy do I remember just how heavy my rucksack was: a 75-litre rucksack which was overpacked. My friend Jake remarked how it was probably the heaviest after his, and he is much better built than me; taller, stronger and has more experience and endurance.

We headed down to the Swincombe Fairy Bridge where one of our leaders, Mr Burningham I think, took a photo of the Year 10 35-mile team.

Swincombe Fairy Bridge - image courtesy of Coombeshead Academy

It was a boggy route between enclosure walls, sections of which forced us to leave the 'right of way' onto the embankments just to avoid getting muddy boots and legs. It was still wet as we progressed towards Whiteworks, fording what Eric Hemery calls the 'Lanson Brook' where we halted at Strane River. This river was so difficult to cross not only because it was deep but also because it is surrounded by bog, so we had to contend with that first beforehand. I was one of the last to make it.

Past Whiteworks we joined up with the Princetown - Eylesbarrow track to pass Nun's or Siward's Cross, descending after passing the tin mine to the Scout Hut below Gutter Tor. We then took the track to Ditsworthy Warren House where we stopped for lunch. Unfortunately, we noticed a pony which we deduced was injured as it was standing on three feet. I don't know the outcome.

Injured Pony at Ditsworthy Warren House

Injured Pony at Ditsworthy Warren House

Injured Pony at Ditsworthy Warren House

We struck up onto Ringmoor Down, fording another stream, the Creaber Brook (thanks, Hemery) to reach Ringmoor Cottage, where I started to tire with my shoulders struggling to carry the load. I am indebted to my friend Jake who offered to carry it for me until we got to the small parking area at the Cottage where I dropped out.

I was driven in one of the school minibuses to Trowlesworthy where we set up camp. I was new to all this and, still having a fair amount of water left, decided to decline the filtered water from the River Plym. For dinner, supper, tea or whatever you want to call it I had Meatballs in Pasta by Wayfayrer which was delicious; the meal was cooked in a large trangia atop a stove along with my teammates' food.

The Campsite looking up to the Trowlesworthy Tors

It was a mild night, somewhat stuffy as I was wedged between Jake and Angus, but they were very good at understanding the fact that I was new to all this. I charged my phone as I 'socialised' with the rest of the crew.

Day 2: At about 5.00 o'clock in the morning, I was awoken by shuffling before our teachers rang the bell to wake up everything else. I accidentally forgot to bring breakfast but I was lucky that Mr Burningham had a spare Porridge Pot with him; it was yummy!

At the time I didn't know how to tie shoelaces - yes, I know, you're allowed to laugh as I am! This in part was one of the reasons why I wanted to drop out immediately before reaching Cadover Bridge, but I wasn't allowed. I tried again at Ringmoor Cottage and the only thing that was done was removing some of my excess weight.

It was a slog over Ringmoor Down because we lost the footpath for the majority of this stretch, so that meant a lot of tussock grass walking. Unpleasant. Finally, we found the path up to the summit trig point and, climbing a stile, made for Gutter Tor. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the tor probably because my focus was on dropping out at the car park below - but I wasn't allowed; all I did was eat a Cadbury chocolate bar for energy!

Gutter Tor

For the next section, Nicole and I spent the duration talking to keep us both motivated as the Eylesbarrow - Princetown track is so dull. We passed Nun's Cross again on our final leg into Princetown past South Hessary Tor.

Nun's Cross Farm

Nun's or Siward's Cross

South Hessary Tor

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