Destination Dartmoor!

The destination of my next 4+1 day walk - Dartmoor!

The destination of my next 4+1 day walk – Dartmoor!

Whilst waiting for my next walking slot I have been doing a lot of thinking with regard to where it should be.

I had originally wanted to walk the Cairngorms in Scotland. I have never been there, but on looking at the map of the place I immediately fell in love with its sheer scale. I had produced a detailed route plan for the place, but once I did some research it became apparent that there is a lot of snow there.

Whilst I do have winter hiking experience (see, I don’t have any experience with either crampons or snow axes – both of which would be needed for the Cairngorms. Rather than put myself and potentially others at risk, I have decided to abandon that walk until I get some proper training and the kit.

This meant that I had to find a new destination!

At first I couldn’t think of anywhere to go. I think that my recent walks have inadvertently resulted in me slowly transitioning from walker to climber. This has in some ways made me blind to all the great places in the Uk that have much lower hill elevations.

However, on reflection I remembered the fun and the sheer feeling of ‘rightness’ that I got from hiking in Dartmoor. I don’t know what it is about that place, but when I’m there it feels like home. I don’t get this feeling anywhere else in the Uk – odd really.

I guess Dartmoor had initially fallen under the radar because its highest hills just about push the 600 metre mark and in my blind quest to climb high, I had all but forgotten that it is a great place to walk.

Luckily I have broken out of the rather narrow must-climb-high mindset and have started looking at other destinations for their natural beauty rather than the height of their hills and mountains. I guess this is an easy trap to fall into.

The planned Dartmoor trip is going to be another 4+1 day walk. However, I expect to get there at around 1300 which means I will only have around 3-4 hours of daylight on day 1. So in effect day 1 and the spare day will be fairly low mileage. However, that doesn’t matter, it’s the walk itself that counts!

In terms of equipment there are only a few minor changes. I think I’m now at the point where I pretty much have the optimal setup for my style of walking.

The first thing I wanted to address were the blisters that I was getting. You might want to avert your vision before looking at the next photo!

The last Snowdonia trip really shredded my feet. These are shots of the heels for my left and right foot. I don't think my last day's high speed walk to make the train station on time helped either!

The last Snowdonia trip really shredded my feet. These are shots of the heels for my left and right foot. I don’t think my last day’s high speed walk to make the train station on time helped either!

To help prevent these, I will be taking heal plasters, though luckily not of the see-through type that trashed a pair of hiking socks on my last walk. In addition to these I am going to be trying out a different set of hiking socks by a company called 1000 mile. These socks are double walled – almost like wearing two pairs of socks. I’m hoping that all the sock friction will be happening between the two layers rather than on the heels of my feet.

Kit changes for the next trip are relatively small!

Kit changes for the next trip are relatively small!

Another item of kit that I bought is the ‘Evernew Titanium Companion Cup (EBY265) shown in the picture above – thanks for the recommendation John! This will take the place of the plastic protector for the Jet Boil Sol. The cup fits perfectly on the bottom of the JetBoil and not only provides much greater protection, but is lighter and provides me with another cooking option.

Speaking of the JetBoil I am a little concerned about how it will perform in the cold. I will do some research on this as I don’t want to be caught out. The Trangia system that I have might be bulky and heavy, but it does work well in sub-zero conditions, even if it can be a pain to light!

After my research, it could be that I end up buying a for-winter-cooking system, but I am hoping that here in the Uk at least, the Jetboil Sol will be fine.

The final piece of kit to be changed is the hat! The previous one I had never really fitted properly and got quite uncomfortable. This one seems to fit me like a glove and is very warm.

All the planning is done, and the holiday is booked off of work. The only thing left to do is order the Freeze Dried food. I’m hoping to go with Fuizion, but I can only use them if they will be able to deliver on time. If they can’t, I will have use them on my following January walk and use Mountain House food for this walk.



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! :)
This entry was posted in Backpacking, Dartmoor, Food, Hiking, Kit, Multi-Day Walk and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Destination Dartmoor!

  1. Robin says:

    Those blisters are horrible! I think you need new boots/shoes. I’ve gravitated to flexible mid boots. My Salomon X Ultras are like wearing trainers. My Ecco boots (Biom Hike and Biom Terrain) are also very flexible. In my experience, blisters are caused by overly stiff boots and/or a membrane that doesn’t breathe properly. I had a pair of Zamberlan boots with a proprietary membrane and they were sweat boxes, so were a pair of Adidas boots which had a GoreTex liner. The GoreTex liners in Salomons and Ecco seem to work well. Above all a correct fit is imperative.

    • RobP says:

      There is no gortex liner on my boots, but the boots are very stiff – which is handy on rocky terrain, but probably to the detriment of the rest of the walk. I had a pair of Salomon Quests and never got any blisters from those, but alas, they did leak :/

      Seems like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, but I do like the idea of going back to lighter weight boots.

  2. GR!Z says:

    Glad to see you have the Evernew cup Rob, I think it adds a lot of versatility to the Jetboil Sol.
    Have you tried a different lacing strategy for your boots? A different lacing technique might hold your heel more securely in the boot and reduce the movement. I use a zoned lacing system when I wear boots. Explained here

    I quite like the 1000 mile socks but I have found that I still got blisters with my old Meindl boots. Salomon Boots seem to fit my feet better but I still get hot spots after 20 miles with them. So I tape my feet in advance with Zinc Oxide tape if I think I will walk further than 20 miles. I never have any problems if I tape the areas I get hot spots in before I walk. I have also found that gore-tex lined boots are great when its the winter but they do not breath enough for my feet the rest of the year so I am currently walking in Innov8 Terrocs, but once it is colder I will get my Salomon Boots back out of the cupboard.

    Looking forwards to the write up of your Dartmoor Trip

    • RobP says:

      Thanks for the video link – her tips look like that they are worth a go. I will use the zone lacing technique with the zinc tape. If my feet still end up in the same state, I will go with Robin’s suggestion and get some lighter boots.

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