Vur Tor Sunset

Vur Tor Sunset

Monday, 31 May 2010

Bank Holiday Weekend Wild Camp

This trip had been in the diary for some time, fingers had been crossed for some nice weather with taking Louise out for her first wild camping trip with me. As per usual with bank holiday weekends the weather was less than favourable at least on the Saturday,

Nine O'clock Saturday morning saw me looking out the window watching the rain fall, a quick check of the weather forecast(not to be believed) said drying up in the afternoon with just light showers, so gear all packed and loaded in the car i headed off early to meet Louise at two bridges, being slightly ahead of time a detour to the foxtor cafe was in order for a breakfast to fuel me through the days walking.

By ten thirty i was sat in the old quarry car park at two bridges, looking at a rather badly parked and abandoned car( Louise's) as she too had arrived early but headed for the pub for a coffee.

With one car parked up safely at two bridges, we bundled all the kit needed into the other car ready to head out to prewley and the start of our two day walk. While driving out towards Tavistock a brief discussion about the weather( the fact the moors were clagged in with mist ) we decided a detour to the gear shop in Tavi was in order with the hope the mist might lift as the day went on.

Gear shops are dangerous places for bank accounts at least, but will power succeeded this time and no purchases were made by me, and just a roll top rucksack liner dry bag bought by Louise, and with that sorted it was time to make a move for Prewley.

So this was the start of the walk, out of the car kit sorted out and Louise's kit transferred to one of my spare rucksacks(AK37) and the dry bag being used (a wise move) but what should happen just as we were about to head off, the sky's opened up with a nice downpour, being delusional as we all can be sometime we thought if we waited 5 mins in the car the rain would pass and we would stay dry, how wrong could we be.

Now we really do start walking heading out onto the open moor past the old ice factory built in 1875 by James Henderson and run through till 1886 when the ice pits were filled and leveled tho you can still see today the banking running across the hill in staggered levels.

Onwards and upwards to Sourton Tor we headed following a large group of ramblers, and also enjoyed the view of the mist closing back in on the moor, a quick check of the map and a bearing set on the compass, we watched the large group head off ahead towards Great Links the route that we would shortly be following.

Heading towards the old tram way that ran out to the peat workings we aimed to hit the track just below the tram turning point then follow the track up and out towards Gren Tor, along the track we had the fortune of bumping into two old guys that must have been in there late 60's if not older, a right pair of characters they turned out to be, after a brief chat and having had them ask if we had a GPS and if we could help them try find a plane crash spot that they had a grid reference for. Why not we thought so the grid reference programed in we headed off into the mist and away from the track in search of the crash site, along the way we passed a pond of water that i suspect might have been the crash point, tho the grid reference was some way off from this spot and the only real distinguishing feature at the grid reference was a large bolder( will have to do some research and see if their grid ref was right).
Having done the good deed for the day we bid farewell to the two gentlemen and headed onwards to the Rattlebrook peat work ruins and eventually Bleak house.

Bleak house on a very bleak day, turned out to be a good spot to take respite from the weather behind it's walls and grab a bite to eat, all the luxuries today cheese and pringles, and a quick discussion on what had been forgotten, in my case the essential moral boosting hip flask of whiskey for when we pitched up at night, Louise's turn to forget things happens later.

So from Bleak house the next stop was to be the settlements at Watern Oke, a nice easy bit of navigation following the Rattle Brook down to where it joins Amicombe Brook on this stretch the rain did cease for a short time, just long enough for the wind to help dry out the trousers, but it didn't stop long enough for us to not get wet again before reaching our chosen wild camp spot. As we approached the settlements the mist broke for a fraction giving a short glimpse of Vur(Fur) Tor in the distance spurring us on to cross the Amicombe and start the ascent up to the Tor at this point the rain decided it would start again and not quite the showers that had been forecast.

A slight lack of concentration and  with the mist once again closing in we headed upwards soon to realise we were heading for the Meads and not Vur Tor, time for the GPS to get it's second use of the day and guide us across and up to the Tor, and a lesson learnt, not to be complacent when you have only had a fleeting glimpse of where you want to head it's always wise to use the map and compass. Walking in towards Vur Tor, the gps telling us we were getting ever closer but even at 90 meters away the bulking mass of granite that is Vur Tor was still not visible through the mist, at 80 meters a faint outline could be discerned and it was a view i think we were both glad to see as this was to be our wild camp spot for the evening.

Pitching up in the lee of the tor we were grateful to be out of the wind and driving rain, our home for the night was an MSR Hubba hubba, in a tasteful yellow which has a surprising talent of making you think it looks nice out, until you open the door and all you are welcomed with is a view of mist.

The next challenge of the day was the fight over sleeping mats, a short neoair and a regular length thermo6 airmat, I ended up with the thermo 6 with my golite ultra20 quilt and Louise on the neoair (her choice) with a pipedream 400, both more than adequate for the conditions, if anything to good but better to be to warm than cold.

Next challenge was food, and some how i got delegated the role of chef, not that I'm complaining the menu was not overly challenging, pasta with a peperoni style pasta sauce and added peperoni, a chance to make first use out of the new Coleman Exponent cook set, it may not be as light as some Ti offerings but when cooking for two the pan sizes are near on perfect, easy to clean, and the grooved base makes for a very stable pan when on the stove no chance of it slipping off. We are both still alive today so my cooking can not be all that bad.

The evening was spent chatting due to the lack of views, well unless you enjoy watching mist, my usual evening entertainment of taking photo's such as sunset shots or doing night shots was not going to be happening this time.

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