Saturday, 19 July 2008


So many similarities, so many differences. Wild ponies. Rocky outcrops on top of hills. Weather as changeable as back home. More info later.


Camp at Vellake Corner

Up into a damp day. I was using the OMM mat to save space in my pack, but some dampness formed under it.

Bridge at Vellake Corner

Collected water from the river, and breakfasted as the early starts were heading out.

early starts Vellake Corner

Gayle and Mick headed up the hill, whilst Alan and Martin went along the valley.

up West Okement River

Later, we would head up the same valley. Some ponies would come into view just round the corner, and it was strange seeing them in places where I would expect to see sheep.

Dartmoor ponies on Dartmoor hill Geoff and John

We reached the base of Black Tor, and Geoff and John parted company with us, after John examined my new TNF Hedgehog trail shoes, and then promptly dirtied them. This gave Darren a snap for his new caption competition.

Approaching Black Tor

We followed clear animal tracks up to the Tor. Swinging around the grazing ponies, it seemed strange that they did not start moving away from us. I'm not familiar with the behaviour of these fine-looking animals, so wondered if they were merely tame and used to humans.

ponies on Black Tor

Maybe they were, but it might be down to these two young 'uns hiding in the bracken, a short distance from the ponies.

foals on Black Tor

After this, Martin blazed a trail up the shoulder of the Tor and we found shelter in the rocks to discuss the rest of the day's trek. I can't find some destinations on the map, and Martin points out that there is a different Black Tor near a different reservoir. With the right map section opened everything makes sense, and we head off towards Kitty Tor.

leaving Black Tor

Darren and Martin head off Black Tor

along down right

We're heading to the ford and near where the sun is shining on the right side of the valley.

bracken boulderfields

With the clouds coming in, we head off the hill and through a bracken-covered boulderfield. Trekking poles are useful to prod ahead and find out if there is any footing in front, or just a gap.

down in the valley

We get back down to the valley floor, and head to the Sandy Ford where we can cross the river. I use the lunchbreak in the rocks to dry my feet and socks after the river ran over the top of the shoes.

Kitty Tor OP Kitty Tor graffiti

After examining the hi-tech military installation and weather reports at Kitty Tor, it is tracks almost all the way.

off Kitty Tor weather improves west Devon

As we near the end of the day's walk, Darren goes crazy and takes an interest in the local produce.


Arriving at Nodden Gate, he goes off to find the pitch. As Martin and myself arrive, we see Mick, Gayle, Alan and Martin arriving from another direction. A comical race develops, refereed by Darren, who had started pitching his tarptent before coming back for us.

John and Geoff

BPC John arrives, and lastly John and Geoff join us. Afterwards, FB and DW from OutdoorsMagic pop by.

Nodden Gate ford

A pleasant relaxing evening is enjoyed in the Fox & Hounds, and back at the pitch.

Fox and Hounds

Taking the 'easy' route, we had only trekked 12km (7 1/2 miles).


Story Quine said...

bit of an Akto convention, n'est-ce pas?


sally in norfolk said...

sounds great :-)

Martin Rye said...

Akto convention - I recall there were more Terra Nova tents. Akto's are so old hat. Good to get to know you - had a great time after we left you (and when you were around) - big guys with big guns asking me and Alan if we were the enemy? That and the 3am wake up call as the Army had a battle near us.

AktoMan said...

Proving anything with statistics ... There were 3 TN's, but all different types. There were 2 Hilleberg tents, and both were Aktos.

Sounds thrilling, Martin. I'll get round to the reads as quick as I can.

Martin Rye said...

Who is that suave chap with the Buff ? Good pics Duncan.

fb said...

I didnt realise you guys were counting. Next time I shall pack an Akto and camp next to you Martin, partly because I know you secretly want a Hilleberg, and partly because I snore - loudly!

AktoMan said...

LOL. But Martin already owned an Akto, but he's too tall for it. Shame that Hilleberg don't do a long version for Lurches.

Martin Rye said...

Lucky for me Terra Nova thought of my hight needs and made the wonderful Laser. I could list its fine attributes and why it is the only tent (Alan's tent excluded and the fact I need one of those tents)that a backpacker needs. But it is Akto Man's blog so I wont hurt any feelings.

AktoMan said...

And here's a reminder from my sponsor.


Martin Rye said...

The Prodigy have a song often sung by Laser owners when finding an unattended Akto... goes like this I'm a fire st... :0)

Shamus said...

Go to

for the evidence posted by DW (your other visitor in Saturday - the quiet one)

It is clear that Martin has taken this suggestion seriously.

AktoMan said...

Aye, I'd seen that photo a few times on OM. A warning to the rest of us indeed.