On 17th November 2016 I took to the road and travelled down to the north west of Dartmoor in Devon. I parked up near the little village of Lydford to camp overnight at Arms Tor.
These places continue to fascinate me. They promise so much in terms of mood and drama – and if you spend more than a couple of hours there you’re probably going to see a lot of variety in the weather. I was there for less than 24 hours and went to howling gales, torrential rain, bright sunshine and heavy snow! It’s a place where you need to be prepared for all of them.
This was always going to be a tricky camp – the weather forecast was not great – storms moving in and a heavy band of rain moving across Devon and Cornwall. I have to time my trip so that I would arrive at lunch time, eat in the car and stay sheltered until the rain passed. I reckoned I’d then have enough time to get to my pitch before the next bad weather band moved in. And it pretty much worked out.
I admit that the snow in the morning was something of a surprise. It was very cold overnight – well below zero. Those of you with a delicate disposition will not want to know that I know this for a fact because the contents of my pee bottle began to freeze my morning! (Sorry ladies…)
I love it when a trip exceeds expectations. This trip had really been about gaining experience with my wild camping. Any photography was a bonus. I had anticipated grey skies all round and no real sunset opportunity. In the event, whilst I was taking a video of the camp setup, the sky cleared for a short time, just as the sun was going down, and I took the opportunity to grab a few really nice shots.
It was a long night – the sun set about 4.15 pm and didn’t rise until gone 7 am. It kind of makes you slow down. Making a simple meal ceases to be a chore – it is something that is simply a part of the journey to be enjoyed; even if it comes out of a tin or a bag! In the wind and the rain, on a cold night, the warmth and comfort of a hot meal takes on a very different dimension.
It’s a part of the world that I shall definitely be returning to, but probably not until next year now. This was my third camp, and I now officially have “the bug”! Expect further posts…