September 2012 – Dartmoor solo 4.5 day walk – Day 4

Day 4's solo walk of 16.41km with 455 mtrs ascent and 396 mtrs descent!

Day 4’s solo walk of 16.41km with 455 mtrs ascent and 396 mtrs descent!

Day 4 was, I thought, going to be an easy day of just following trails – how wrong I was! Most of the trails seemed to vanish, leaving me to once again do most of the hike across country.

This was the day of my biggest navigation cock-up too! I had wrongly assumed that West-Is-Best as far as my route was concerned, so was too lazy to unfold my map to look at the route properly. The end result is that I forded a forked stream in the wrong direction Westward! This added a further 5 km to the trip. So lesson of the day, is that if your route goes into a map fold – spend some time to get the map out of it’s holder and unfold it! No matter how obvious you think the route is!

Day 4 would also be my last full day of hiking. As a result there was an air of jubilation about this day with my thoughts turning to what I had managed to achieve. All the more remarkable, given the fact that at the start of the year I was an indoors introverted couch potato with no hiking equipment!

Once more I’ve uploaded a small selection of images from my Facebook walking journal as they say a picture paints a thousand words!

Sunrise over the Avon Reservoir - a great start to Day 4!

Sunrise over the Avon Reservoir – a great start to Day 4!

On with the breakfast for Day 4 which is a fruit porridge. This is one of the reasons why I like to take a 'proper' stove as it allows one to cook meals, rather than just boil water!

On with the breakfast for Day 4 which is a fruit porridge. This is one of the reasons why I like to take a ‘proper’ stove as it allows one to cook meals, rather than just boil water!

The finished result - a lovely fruit porridge - the perfect way to start a day off!

The finished result – a lovely fruit porridge – the perfect way to start a day off!

The start of my walk on Day 4. Based on the map I wrongly assumed that unlike previous days it would all be on trails...

The start of my walk on Day 4. Based on the map I wrongly assumed that unlike previous days it would all be on trails…

Headed Westward following the River Avon.

Headed Westward following the River Avon.

I wrongly think I need to go West due to this part of the route being on a map fold which I didn't unfold! Probably a lesson to be learned here! Either way, I have to ford the river...

I wrongly think I need to go West due to this part of the route being on a map fold which I didn’t unfold! Probably a lesson to be learned here! Either way, I have to ford the river…

My chosen fording point West.

My chosen fording point West.

Prepared for the ford with boots hanging around my neck!

Prepared for the ford with boots hanging around my neck!

Unbeknownst to me, this valley I had been following was slowly veering North as a result of fording in the wrong direction. The clapper bridge up ahead gave me a clue that something was wrong. I checked my map and compass and discovered my mistake. To undo it I had to walk an additional 5km! So the moral of the story is never assume - if the route is over a map fold - unfold the map!

Unbeknownst to me, this valley I had been following was slowly veering North as a result of fording in the wrong direction. The clapper bridge up ahead gave me a clue that something was wrong. I checked my map and compass and discovered my mistake. To undo it I had to walk an additional 5km! So the moral of the story is never assume – if the route is over a map fold – unfold the map!

I get back to the planned fording point. Here I have already forded across and just getting ready to move out!

I get back to the planned fording point. Here I have already forded across and just getting ready to move out!

On my way West I see many markings on the hills where old settlements used to be. I often wondered what it must be like to live this far into the wilderness?

On my way West I see many markings on the hills where old settlements used to be. I often wondered what it must be like to live this far into the wilderness?

On my way cross country Westward I unexpectedly come across this hut! Not sure what it used to be used for. I'm hoping to find the Two Moors Way which has so far eluded me. Getting on a track will allow my speed to pick up!

On my way cross country Westward I unexpectedly come across this hut! Not sure what it used to be used for. I’m hoping to find the Two Moors Way which has so far eluded me. Getting on a track will allow my speed to pick up!

Eventually I find Two Moors Way, but join it too late. The result is that I'm only on it for a short while before it turns Southward. In the distance Northward I notice a strange looking hill...

Eventually I find Two Moors Way, but join it too late. The result is that I’m only on it for a short while before it turns Southward. In the distance Northward I notice a strange looking hill…

A close up of said hill reveals that it is obviously man made - probably from China Clay excavating.

A close up of said hill reveals that it is obviously man made – probably from China Clay excavating.

Here I'm on a trail headed Westward. I know it's not THE trail, but it is going in the right direction which is good enough for me! At the end of this valley I need to hang a right!

Here I’m on a trail headed Westward. I know it’s not THE trail, but it is going in the right direction which is good enough for me! At the end of this valley I need to hang a right!

I make it to the crossing at Red Lake, but decide to look further upstream to find a way across that doesn't require fording. Here I have found the perfect crossing - no getting my feet wet for this one!

I make it to the crossing at Red Lake, but decide to look further upstream to find a way across that doesn’t require fording. Here I have found the perfect crossing – no getting my feet wet for this one!

I'm now headed North West on a trail called Abbot's Way. Up ahead I see some wild horses grazing in the Erme Hill Pits.

I’m now headed North West on a trail called Abbot’s Way. Up ahead I see some wild horses grazing in the Erme Hill Pits.

Here I can no longer find the Abbot's Way Trail. So instead I decide to head West cross country on a compass bearing. Once again the going is tough, but not quite in the same league as the Northern moor!

Here I can no longer find the Abbot’s Way Trail. So instead I decide to head West cross country on a compass bearing. Once again the going is tough, but not quite in the same league as the Northern moor!

I crest the hill I had been climbing on my cross country journey Westward and I'm immediately confronted with a familiar land mark - Sheep's Tor! This is handy as that Tor is my planned Day 4 camp spot. Having an eyeball on it means that my navigation end game has now just got a lot more flexible! I now decide to head straight for it by climbing and crossing the intervening Higher Hartor Tor.

*Zoomed Shot* I crest the hill I had been climbing on my cross country journey Westward and I’m immediately confronted with a familiar land mark – Sheep’s Tor! This is handy as that Tor is my planned Day 4 camp spot. Having an eyeball on it means that my navigation end game has now just got a lot more flexible! I now decide to head straight for it by climbing and crossing the intervening Higher Hartor Tor.

Here I'm headed cross country Westward toward Higher Hator Tor. Before I can get there however, I will need to cross the River Plym - which is only a stream at this point.

Here I’m headed cross country Westward toward Higher Hator Tor. Before I can get there however, I will need to cross the River Plym – which is only a stream at this point.

I get to the top of Higher Hartor Tor and run into a dead sheep. I have seen many on my journey, but this one was remarkable by the placement of it's skull on a rock *spooky*

I get to the top of Higher Hartor Tor and run into a dead sheep. I have seen many on my journey, but this one was remarkable by the placement of it’s skull on a rock *spooky*

I descend from Higher Hartor Tor and head West cross country with the intention of intercepting a well defined track. The going is tough due to the bogginess of the area.

I descend from Higher Hartor Tor and head West cross country with the intention of intercepting a well defined track. The going is tough due to the bogginess of the area.

I find the track and follow it Westward until it branches off into a road. At that point I decide to head cross country directly to Sheep's Tor.

I find the track and follow it Westward until it branches off into a road. At that point I decide to head cross country directly to Sheep’s Tor.

Sheep's Tor is now getting enticingly closer. This is the first time I have hiked so far and always had my destination in view - it kind of adds perspective onto the distances walked!

Sheep’s Tor is now getting enticingly closer. This is the first time I have hiked so far and always had my destination in view – it kind of adds perspective onto the distances walked!

On the way Westward I spot this rather craggy Tor - Leather I believe.

On the way Westward I spot this rather craggy Tor – Leather I believe.

On my way to Sheep's Tor I start to find these stone markers at regular intervals, so decide to follow them. Looking at one of them in detail it turns out they were put down in the early 1900's - so they are fairly recent...

On my way to Sheep’s Tor I start to find these stone markers at regular intervals, so decide to follow them. Looking at one of them in detail it turns out they were put down in the early 1900’s – so they are fairly recent…

I know from my map that there is a stream at the corner of the forest up ahead. I decide to go there so that I can top up all my water bottles for the camp spot on top of Sheep's Tor. It's a pain having to carry an extra 2.5kg - especially uphill - but there are no water sources on the Tor - so this is my last chance to top up!

I know from my map that there is a stream at the corner of the forest up ahead. I decide to go there so that I can top up all my water bottles for the camp spot on top of Sheep’s Tor. It’s a pain having to carry an extra 2.5kg – especially uphill – but there are no water sources on the Tor – so this is my last chance to top up!

I now start my climb on Sheep's Tor. A climb that I find remarkably easy due to its relatively low elevation and the fact that the land is devoid of grass tussocks!

I now start my climb on Sheep’s Tor. A climb that I find remarkably easy due to its relatively low elevation and the fact that the land is devoid of grass tussocks!

I make camp right on top of Sheep's Tor. The rocks are only just beneath the surface, so I have to use very shallow angles for my pegs. Once again no flying ants, so I put everything out to dry and air.

I make camp right on top of Sheep’s Tor. The rocks are only just beneath the surface, so I have to use very shallow angles for my pegs. Once again no flying ants, so I put everything out to dry and air.

As I'm a bit of a curry fan - I leave the best meal until the last day - Chicken Curry!

As I’m a bit of a curry fan – I leave the best meal until the last day – Chicken Curry!

Now that I've eaten, the tent is prepared for bed!

Now that I’ve eaten, the tent is prepared for bed!

I love this picture - sunset over my Akto tent with Burrator reservoir in the background! - Pure Bliss!

I love this picture – sunset over my Akto tent with Burrator reservoir in the background! – Pure Bliss!

The sun finally sets on Day 4...

The sun finally sets on Day 4…

The camp spot for day 4 the final night in the wilds!

The camp spot for day 4 the final night in the wilds!

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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