Day 3’s walk! 16.8km with 289 mtrs ascent and 647 mtrs descent as I head back to Okehampton.
Day 3 – the final day! I was enjoying myself so much on this walk that I didn’t want it to end!
On my journey Northward I saw the Moor transform from Wilderness to Civilisation.
At first there were small indicators, like tracks starting to appear, but later on there would be other more obvious indicators, like a lot of people suddenly appearing! And later still, there was the final exit from the moor as I headed into the forest for my trek Northward into Okehampton.
My heart genuinely sank as I left the moor behind and started to embrace the civilised world again.
As usual I’ll let the pictures tell the story from a small selection of images from my Facebook walking journal:
The first thing on the morning of the third day sees me getting water supplies for breakfast and the coming day ahead. This is the view back to the tent.
As is standard for me, out goes the inside-out sleeping bag onto the roof of the tent to air out. Down sleeping bags absorb a lot of body moisture during the night so need airing frequently.
The view from the tent on the morning of day 3. The weather looks like it is going to be a scorcher!
You can tell it’s a warm morning as this morning I didn’t need to wear a fleece or down jacket to stay warm. This is in stark contrast to the previous day.
The porridge is ready!
Breakfast without bacon rolls is unthinkable!
Notice anything in this picture, apart from the shadow that is? Nope? Well that’s the point – leave no trace!!! This is the prime philosophy I follow when wild camping. No one would ever know I was here!
All kitted up ready for day 3’s hike. Still haven’t found a decent compass stowage though. That would come later in the day!
I have started climbing Whitehorse hill. This is the view back to the morning’s camp site.
The terrain on the way up to Whitehorse hill starts to get a lot more rugged and boggy.
On the way up the hill I was going to visit these rocks, but it appears that two birds of prey have made it their own! (the other flew off)
To the East I can make out the Fernworthy Forest which formed part of last year’s route.
At the top of Whitehorse hill I find this memorial stone to the workers that built the nearby peat pass.
The next destination! Hangingstone Hill! Looks like that too has army kit on it.
The rather good view Northwards from the top of Hangingstone hill.
Working out the next leg of my journey. This would be the last time the compass came out as I was approaching civilisation and tracks would soon put in an appearance.
A zoomed in photo of Watern Tor to the East. I was fascinated by this tor as it was climbed on my previous Dartmoor trip. It’s kind of weird how the mind pieces together these different trips to form an overall coherent picture of the layout of the land.
I can’t believe with the amount of rain Britain has been experiencing that I am still finding dry stream beds.
Tracks now make an appearance – the ominous sign of civilisation….
Steeperton Tor is the next hill I will be visiting. This Tor has a track leading all the way to the top, which makes it an easy climb.
At the top of Steeperton Tor enjoying the lovely view. And also, more importantly, I have finally found a great place to stow the compass – a first since I stopped carrying the Gorp bag!
A long way down to the West is the Taw River. I will need to double back a little to get to the fording point for this river and top up my water supplies.
To the East I spot Cosdon Hill – the first big hill I climbed on the Dartmoor walk I did last year.
The view along Steeperton Tor’s spine from amongst the top of the rocks!
To the North I can see Taw Marsh and some hints of the village of Belstone. I know my walk is nearly over by the proximity of the moor edge.
I’m now doubling back down the side of the hill to get to the fording point across the River Taw.
On the way down I spot the fording point below me. To my right is a near vertical drop of considerable height – time to watch my footing!
The fording point to the River Taw. The cool flowing water was a welcome sight in the heat. I drank a lot of water here, then topped up my bottle as I knew the next top up point wouldn’t be for around 5 km.
The River Taw! Words cannot describe how inviting this refreshing source of water was in the heat!
I’m now headed North towards Oke Tor – the next hill on my plan!
Finally I spot Oke Tor in the distance. By this stage of the walk I was starting to run into a number of people – another sign that civilisation was getting closer!
I near Oke Tor and it seems there are a number of peeps on it!
To the North are the next Tors that I will be visiting – Higher and Belstone Tors.
I climb the rocks of Oke Tor and get a better view Northwards. I’m taken aback at the number of people here! I guess with the proximity of Okehampton and Belstone, these are perfect Tors to visit.
Headed Northwards up the hill toward Higher Tor.
On the way up I spot this collection of Boundary Stones!
Higher Tor in all its glory!
A close up of the impressive rock structure at Higher Tor.
The view Northward toward Belstone Tor. Between it and us is the ‘Irishman’s Wall’.
A zoomed in shot of one of the most Northerly Tors forming a part of the Belstone Tor grouping. In the background is evidence that I have reached the edge of the moor.
Up close, the Northerly Tor looks like a jumble of random rocks – almost as if it were man made…
Reluctantly I start my journey off of the moor. In the top left one can just make out Okehampton, the destination for my bus pickup to Exeter.
A look back toward Belstone Tor – which seems to look even more impressive from down here!
I’m now far enough away that when I look back to the Tors I can see all of Belstone and Higher Tors in their entirety.
Down below I can both see and hear the fast moving Okement River. I will be following this River all the way back to Okehampton.
As I head Northward I spot the foot bridge that I will need to use to cross the East Okement River down below. At this point I am essentially following part of the route I used on my walk last year, but in reverse.
Here I’m in a forest following the East Okement River all the way to Okehampton on the Tarka Trail.
This wasn’t here last year! A wooden marker for Ball Hill and the Tarka Trail.
Finally at my destination! The bus stop at Okehampton. I now have to spend around 3 hours on trains and buses to get home to Bristol. I’m now very worried about my smell – 3 days out in Dartmoor with no shower! So ends one of my favourite walks so far!