Day 5’s short 5.3 km route with 162 mtrs of ascent and 278 mtrs of descent.
As with all my recent walks, the last day is a spare filler day with not much to do in the way of walking. All I had to do was walk around 5 km to Ivybridge’s railway station. So for the first time on the walk I woke up with no real time pressures.
As per usual I’ll let the pictures do the talking:
During the night I had got up to relieve myself. I was so gobsmacked by the night sky that I spent a lot of time doing visual astronomy and hadn’t noticed how cold I had become. In my haste to get back in the tent I had accidentally torn a small hole in the outer door, where the wind had blown it into the zip of the inner door. Luckily I don’t think this will compromise the tent’s integrity in any way.
Day 5 opened up with a beautiful sunrise. I was transfixed by the warm orange tinge that now coloured the surrounding landscape.
The view down off the moor. I had woken up a little late, due to the watch alarm not going off – either that or I just didn’t hear it! Time to get my skates on and head for Ivybridge via Butterdon Hill and Western Beacon.
I initially decide to head North and shadow the stream until I found a suitable crossing point.
Everything was tinged in orange which completely transformed the landscape and myself! Despite the sun, it was a typical cold Winter’s day, but in many ways that added to the magic of the morning.
Here I’m keeping an eye on Butterdon Hill to the West as I proceed Northward looking for a stream crossing point.
A perfect fording point!
Here I’m headed Westward up Butterdon Hill. I just love Winter days like this where all the shadows are cast long from the low sun! Unless one gets up very early, many day walkers miss out on this magical combination of colours and shadow.
I’m nearly at the top of the ridge line, so glance back Eastward toward the rising sun. I cannot describe how the simple change in light has completely transformed this countryside.
I have now switched my direction to the South West in the hope of running into Butterdon Hill’s Trig Point.
If you look carefully to the left of the left hand mound, you can just discern the Trig Point that I’m headed toward!
I make it to the Trig Point marking the top of Butterdon Hill. Behind me, the edge of the moor awaits.
Oranges soon give way to blues and whites as the sun continues to rise. Up ahead is Western Beacon to the South the last hill climb of this journey.
Directly ahead is the saddle between Butterdon Hill and Western Beacon. There is supposed to be a large water pool here called Black Pool, but I can only see mud.
A close up of Black Pool. Good job I didn’t rely on this as a water source as it is practically empty. This seems to be quite an astonishing feat, given the amount of rain that the Uk has received.
I don’t know what breed of cows these are, but they are the largest and fluffiest cows I have ever seen!
The way up Western Beacon is marked by numerous Boundary Stones like this one.
I *think* I’m looking to the South East here. Down below I can see a foggy haze has engulfed the low ground.
As I approach the top of Western Beacon I run into this rather large cairn, which seems to be the standard size in these parts!
After passing that cairn, I’m presented with two more and a boundary stone. This marks the start of my descent back down off Dartmoor.
My direction has now switched to the South West. The idea is to keep going until I run into a catchment feature of a track running around the side of the hill.
Down below is Ivybridge the final destination. The whole town is shrouded in a cold Winter’s mist. For some reason it gives me a very Christmassy feeling to see this town nestled snuggly at the bottom of the hill.
As I head downwards I run into more signs of the industrial past of this area in the form of this old quarry.
Down below I spot the track running around the side of the hill. I just need to walk to it, then head Westward.
I’m now on the track and headed Westward. According to my map I need to head for the corner of the South Western boundary of this area to find the exit off of the moors.
I take a last glance back up toward Western Beacon. I always feel a little disappointed when leaving the moors.
In the far distance I spot the corner of the boundary that I need to head towards. Luckily there is a track taking me directly there.
Finally at the corner. This is the boundary to the moor.
Here is the gate that will take me off the moor. The track going through it is the Two Moors Way Track, the very one that I had been following for most of the day yesterday.
It’s now a simple case of following this track until it leads to a road.
And there is the road! Just need to hang a left here toward Ivybridge and the train station.
The road has a fair bit of traffic on it, but luckily it is all very slow and I get plenty of warning.
As I cross the railway bridge, I note that the railways are very busy. For me this is a bit of an odd moment. As I have mentioned on the previous blog entry, I have made this train journey numerous times from a relatively young age and had always gaped upwards in awe at Dartmoor’s hills and let my imagination roam free. But here I was having now actually been on those same hills – it was almost like I was fulfilling of some kind of destiny.
I’m now on the road running parallel to the railway track that should take me to the train station. What I hadn’t taken into account was that today was a Wednesday. The majority of people in Ivybridge were just about getting up to go to work or school. Every now and then I’d run into them, which seemed at odds with my ‘wild’ isolation of the previous 5 days. In some ways it felt like I was visiting a familiar, yet alien planet!
Across the road I soon spot the turn off to the railway station! Nearly there!
I run into numerous people here and got some odd looks from some of them. I’m not sure why this is, as Ivybridge must be a common start or finish spot for hikers on the moors.
And there is my platform. I have arrived with plenty of time in hand. So it’s a case of checking the timetable, finding a seat and then just chilling out to reflect on the previous five days of adventure.
I couldn’t resist taking this photo. For a train to be on time is unheard of. For all of them to be on time is simply unprecedented, so I thought I’d better get some photographic evidence! Sorry First Great Western 🙂
It’s now a case of waiting for the train. Of all the memories that came flooding back from the previous five days, day two’s were the strongest. I could remember the wind, the rain, the fog and the bogs – a place so far removed from this one. I was also feeling a great sense of elation too. Simply knowing that I had walked from Okehampton to Ivybridge lent a sense of pride to the occasion – something that one doesn’t tend to get from the more circular routes.
So this entry marks the end of 2013’s last walk. It had been quite an eventful year, for which I will post the highlights on the next weeks blog. Until then…