Day 3’s solo walk of 16.97km 652 mtrs Ascent and 573 mtrs Descent!
Day 3 was the stand-out day for me. I felt that I had been away from civilisation for a long time, even though it was only a little over two days!
This day held some of the most interesting parts of the walk – with bogs, hill climbs and many river crossings. Once again I’ll let a few photos from my Facebook walking journal tell the story…
The view from my tent on the morning of Day 3.
The tent is all packed up and I start to head South following the East Dart River.
I decide to head up onto Riddon Ridge to avoid the bog and dense foliage by the River.
As I head South I spot Belever Tor in the distance to the West. Below is the East Dart River.
Following Riddon Ridge Southward. The going was nice and smooth – though even at this time of the morning the sun was blisteringly hot!
I have now turned Westward ready to cross the East Dart River.
I’m now at my crossing point. It doesn’t look it here but some of the stepping stones were wide enough apart that jumps were required. With a heavy rucksack on this meant that I had to be very sure of my footing…
Half way across! This is the view Northward up the East Dart River.
Having crossed the river and walked through part of the Belever Forest I end up on this rather good track which takes me South Westward!
Here I have crossed the main road that divides the moor North and South. I then get onto this track which turns out to be a mud bath!
I’m now hand-railing the West Dart River Southward. This entire area, despite its looks is very boggy! I guess the heavy rain we have had this year (2012) has had an impact!
I get to my crossing point for the West Dart River – time to play Super Mario again!
The scenery is beautiful and the water is crystal clear. It’s times like this that make you glad to be alive!
After another long jaunt Southward through some of the most boggy ground on the trip (I was too knackered to take pics!) I get to another set of stepping stones that will take me over the River Swimcombe – a tributary off of the West Dart River.
I rest up at this gate at the bottom of Down Ridge. The track goes around the base of the hill, but I’m going straight up the hill! As a result I’m taking on a lot of fluid and snack out on sugary foods!
My climb has started up Down Ridge! From here on in it will be cross country all the way to my Day 3 camp spot!
Continuing the long journey up the first ridge. I loved the rocky outcrops – they made perfect rest seats!
Taking a quick breather in the sweltering sun. One can already see some of the elevation that I have gained!
I’m now at the top of Down Ridge. The terrain up here is surprisingly boggy given the elevation. Right now I’m trying to track toward Skir Ford.
I eventually run into this brook which I know from my map and compass will take me to Skir Ford!
There it is Skir Ford!!!
I now know exactly where I am on this cross-country section. It is time to rest up, refill water bottles and take my boots and socks off to perform the ford.
If my boots were water-proof I might have left them on, but alas they are not 😦
After a bit of walking I start my ascent of Ryder Hill – The highest on the Southern moor. The terrain is very uneven here with seemingly random boggy areas. This plus the slope impedes progress.
The view to the North from a ridge line on Ryder’s Hill.
After many false ridges I finally see the real top of the hill as the Trig Point comes into view!
Woot!! I made it to the top of Ryder Hill. This hill top was unusual in that it also had two boundary stones, in addition to the trig point!
A little while later I make it onto the top of Snowdon Hill. Here I’m looking far too pleased with myself – and a little too sweaty!
After unsuccessfully trying to dry my socks in the tent, I discover that the best way of drying them is to place the off-duty pair onto the back of the rucksack like this. By the end of the day they were dry!
After another small jaunt I make my way to Puper’s Hill seen here!
At the top of Puper’s Hill I find a number of wild horses just chilling out!
I descend Puper’s Hill and look out for an old settlement to the South marking my turn off point towards Hickaton’s Hill. The old settlement can just about be seen in the photo above, bottom centre of the hill directly to the front.
I clear Hickaton’s Hill to find my final target for Day 3 – the Avon Reservoir!
I pick a camp spot around 300 mtrs from the water’s edge. I leave my rucksack here and proceed downhill to the water’s edge to top up all my water bottles ready for camp.
The tent goes up – and for the first time in two days there are no flying ants! This gives me the option of airing out both my sleeping bag and tent.
Day 3’s supper consisted of Chilli-Con-Carne and Coffee! I really enjoyed this one!
I’m now fed and watered and the tent is prepared for the night. The socks I had been wearing today are now seen hanging on the tent guy ropes to dry out!
There are many solo tents out there – many much lighter than my trusty Akto. But I would never swap any of them for the Akto. For me the Akto combines the right amount of weight with space and durability – no other solo tent comes close!
With no flying ants around I can take my boots off and just chill in the hot sun. I remember the feeling of pure bliss being here in the warm, with my boots off and a great view!
The sun starts to go down on day 3. I stay up late into the night to do visual astronomy – with the dark skies available on Dartmoor this was a no brainer! The night was a cold one, but my 3 season sleeping bag kept me warm. I had a sound sleep, all except for one incident where a very low flying helicopter decided to fly over my tent!
The final camp site for Day 3 – right by the Avon Reservoir!
My intention is to get the final two days of this epic 2012 journey published tomorrow and Friday – so that the blog is clear and ready for my 3 day 2013 jaunt into the Northern moor! In the meantime..