September 2012 – Dartmoor solo 4.5 day walk – Day 1

The overall route I took on my 4.5 day Dartmoor walk - it amounts to around 72.02km :)

The overall route I took on my 4.5 day Dartmoor walk – it amounts to around 72.02km 🙂

Given that in two weeks time (May 2013) I will be on Dartmoor for three days, now seems to be a good time to document my big Dartmoor walk last year. This was the walk where I feel I came of age in terms of being a solo backpacker.

Early September 2012 was the set off date for my big expedition. Everything I had trained for and practiced for was for this moment.

The Gods and Goddesses must have been watching over me as the weather over the week was stunning – in stark contrast to the usual persistent rain experienced for the rest of that year. I couldn’t have planned a better week if I had tried!

I have many great memories and experiences from this walk – it is a shame that most people never leave civilization and get to experience the country side properly.

As with all my other walks I took 100’s of photos each day for my Facebook walking journal. Due to the space limitations of this blog I can only publish a handful and only in a reduced size. Hopefully I have provided enough to let the photos do the talking!

What really set this walk apart from the others that I did was the sheer isolation and the fact that a lot of it would be cross-country with no trails to follow! Having done it, I can quite safely say that cross country walking is much more tiring than walking on a trail!

Day 1's solo walk of 18.7km with 778 mtrs of ascent and 351 mtrs of descent!

Day 1’s solo walk of 18.7km with 778 mtrs of ascent and 351 mtrs of descent!

I get dropped off in Okehampton, but end up getting lost! It takes me over 30 mins just to find the way out - one of the reasons why I now use Google Maps to practice town exits prior to departure!

I get dropped off in Okehampton, but end up getting lost! It takes me over 30 mins just to find the way out – one of the reasons why I now use Google Maps to practice town exits prior to departure!

Crossing the East Okement River! I would be following this Southward onto the moors!

Crossing the East Okement River! I would be following this Southward onto the moors!

Feeling hungry? :)

Feeling hungry? 🙂

A lovely scenic spot that would have made a great camping location - but alas I had other plans!

A lovely scenic spot that would have made a great camping location – but alas I had other plans!

One day I will learn how to apply lipstick!

One day I will learn how to apply lipstick!

Belstone and Higher Tors from the West.

Belstone and Higher Tors from the West.

It's all cross country from here on in - so out with the compass!

It’s all cross country from here on in – so out with the compass!

Walking cross country on the Northern Moors is extremely tiring due to the grass tussocks and great unevenness of the ground. After a little while I learnt to follow animal trails like this one - makes the walk a lot easier!

Walking cross country on the Northern Moors is extremely tiring due to the grass tussocks and great unevenness of the ground. After a little while I learnt to follow animal trails like this one – makes the walk a lot easier!

A shot from a ridgeline on Cosdon hill whilst getting my breath back. At this point I had no water, due to a bad decision not to fill up my bottles prior to the ascent....

A shot from a ridgeline on Cosdon hill whilst getting my breath back. At this point I had no water, due to a bad decision not to fill up my bottles prior to the ascent….

At the top of Cosdon Hill and once more the pesky horses beat me up there!

At the top of Cosdon Hill and once more the pesky horses beat me up there!

This puddle was the water source that saved me from my earlier bad decision!

This puddle was the water source that saved me from my earlier bad decision!

The water from the puddle - it tasted very good!

The water from the puddle – it tasted very good!

On my way South I spot a Stone Circle directly ahead...

On my way South I spot a Stone Circle directly ahead…

At Hound Tor looking Southward toward Wild Tor.

At Hound Tor looking Southward toward Wild Tor.

A quick crossing over Walla Brook - my eventual camp spot for day 1.

A quick crossing over Walla Brook – my eventual camp spot for day 1.

This is one thing I didn't plan on - a flying ant invasion!

This is one thing I didn’t plan on – a flying ant invasion!

My first day camp spot on possibly the only bit of flat grass for miles around!

My first day camp spot on possibly the only bit of flat grass for miles around!

Day 1's main meal was a spaghetti Bolognaise - very nice!

Day 1’s main meal was a spaghetti Bolognaise – very nice!

The flying ant invasion meant I had to get changed between the outer tent and the inner.

The flying ant invasion meant I had to get changed between the outer tent and the inner.

Day 1's wild camp spot by Walla Brook. It was in the middle of nowhere - the silence was both welcoming and deafening!

Day 1’s wild camp spot by Walla Brook. It was in the middle of nowhere – the silence was both welcoming and deafening!

Laters
RobP

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About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
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