Following on from our Wildcamping on Dartmoor: Day 1 post – we leave the woods and head out onto the moors.
( That’s our red tent in the middle)
Upon waking the next day, we packed our bags (always seems to be harder than when you’re at home, nothing fits in!) and got moving. As we didn’t have much time on the moors, we decided to take the car to another point of interest to make sure we weren’t wasting any time seeing the most beautiful places!
Again we didn’t have a set plan for where we wanted to go but knew that next we wanted to camp near a big beautiful lake! As I drove, I had S do some googling next to me, and eventually pulled over to discuss our destination further! ((when we could find data signal) not exactly wild, I know – maybe net time we should go analog and go maps and compass only! I’m not sure what S would think of that!)
Anyway – Our chosen destination was found, and a good walk around some tors to match. We stopped for lunch first – kelly kettle out, this time for some sausages in bread for some makeshift hotdogs! Perfect fuel!
On the move again, we arrived at our first destination – an old pumping station, just outside of Princetown. We left the car here, and grabbed our gear, excited for the night ahead of us – we were heading for Foggintor Quarry! It looked beautiful online and I hoped I’d get to get some great pictures – it didn’t disappoint!
We started walking south-east- up to Hollow Tor: – on the OS map I saw there is a small unused quarry here, but on arrival it was so small and was full of swampy moor water – not the most picturesque place to stay!
so we moved onwards and upwards. up next was Hollow Tor. a great outcrop of rocks jutting out over the scenery – of course, we had to stop for a picture pretending to hang off the edge!
When our little climbing session was done, we continued onto the next Tor, we could see it in the distance. Rundlestone Tor. not quite as impressive as the previous, but we still had fun climbing on the rocks and some good pictures. next up was North Hessary Tor – this one is pretty easy to find as it has a HUGE television transmission aerial on top of it!!
I think we got a little sidetracked here, we climbed a stile into a field, thinking it would lead us to the Tor, but instead we found ourself stuck in a field, cut off from the Tor and surrounded by sheep!!
Backtracking, we went back over the stile and continued toward the TV mast. It’s a bit uncertain where to go here, so we skipped this Tor, in fear of trespassing but I’ve read since, that it’s totally fine to skirt around the mast and have a look! 😃
Next, from memory of the OS maps , we needed to head west (I think we need a compass) we headed slightly more south than we wanted, and ended up heading more towards Princetown than to our quarry destination – but it’s ok, we soon corrected our path when I realised my error and got to see some amazing wildlife – a small herd of wild horses with their young foals nearby. I made sure to keep my distance and move slowly around them, using my longest lens! I love wildlife, but I’d rather keep my distance and appreciate them from afar – it’s safer for me and for them; I’d hate to scare the mother or the young ones!
Continuing on and correcting our path, we found a trail at the bottom of the hill. Originally a train track that linked Princetown to Yelverton, this was used from 1800 to transport the granite mined from Foggintor Quarry over to Princetown, to build most of the town and Dartmoor prison. It was even used in Nelson’s column! The views around the area were amazing as the old track arced over the landscape below.
Foggin Tor Quarry
As we drew closer to the quarry, you could see the rocks and landscape around us rising up – we approached the entrance… a tiny little stream and an overgrown path… this didn’t look like the destination we planned on! “Maybe this won’t be so great after all”, we thought. I climbed higher to have a look down into the Quarry – no water, and pretty dried out, what a shame. I didn’t give up hope though and started climbing down the other side, into the quarry, along a steep path. S followed me dubiously – I could tell she was a little disappointed and unsure if we should go on! I insisted she follow me and continued along the path, the quarry seems to branch off into another section, and as we navigated the bottom, it opened up into a great lake enclosed by cliffs! Breathtaking! This is exactly what we were hoping for. We stopped to appreciate the view – noticing that down one of the cliff faces was an instructor showing a student how to abseil! amazing!
We checked the area and found the perfect camping spot for our tent, a little balcony of grass overlooking the lake, with just the right amount of room for our tent, giving us an amazing view as the sun set over the edge of the quarry. After the tent was set up and S was safely snuggled in her sleeping bag, I scouted out for some rocks to use as a base for the Kelly kettle’s hobo stove. luckily being a quarry there was plenty to be found. I set it up nice and level and got cooking! For tea tonight was noodles! (I must admit we did stop at a shop on the way to get an extra 2 litres of water! ) delicious with a bit of curry flavoring! We couldn’t help but marvel at a tiny little duckling and it’s mother swimming about in the lake below, searching for food and splashing around – I could have watched them for hours!
Of course, I then set off getting a load of pictures of all different angles and found the perfect place to set up my camera for a time-lapse of the area with the sun setting over us. I didn’t pack a tripod for this trip, but it would have been handy! I found a good rock for it to rest on, but still, I was worried it’d fall! I think I left it for around 2 hours and hopped my way back across the rocks with a head torch to retrieve it after the sun was gone, stopping on the way to meet (and make sure I didn’t step on) a new friend who had jumped onto the path!
When I got back with the camera, it was time for a quick cup of tea (yet again thanks to the incredible kelly kettle – I can’t hype them enough!) and off to bed! Being close to the water, condensation and the dew was getting heavy this night – although it didn’t rain, everything was DRENCHED! I woke u multiple times with a wet head, my feet soaked through my sleeping bag and freezing cold. I tried my best to curl up a little, but didn’t have much room! A pretty miserable night’s sleep, but eventually managed to drift off and get some shut-eye. I definitely need something better than a cheap ‘Festival’ tent.
We awoke to the light spilling into the quarry behind us… and damp feet.
Groggily, we started packing in time to witness some school boys arriving arrive with their parents, and insisting that they swim in the lake. Rather them than us!! It looked freezing, and from the sound of their shouts, it definitely felt it! It’d have been nice and refreshing I’m sure, but too cold for us. (The parents kept out of the water too I noticed!!)
Packed up, we went on our way , I chose to climb out over the quarry one last time and marvel at just how beautiful the area was. Incredible how it’s so close to so many people to appreciate for little to no cost! who needs a holiday right? 😉
We walked out along where the old hill cottages used to stand, now ruins where the quarry workers used to live. Appreciating the area and just how amazing it is , with nature overlaying the man-made structures, forgotten and left in the past. For all my videogaming readers, the quarry and the surrounding area looks like something out of “shadow of the colossus“, it was truly a sight to behold!
Our time up and our journey over, it was time to head back home. we made our way back (A shorter route this time) to the car with our things and loaded it up. unfortunately, something terrible happened at this point of our adventure…
As we started to drive, I noticed someone flashing their lights and pointing to us – I had no idea why and carried on…
After a few moments of thought I asked S:
“did you leave something on the roof?”
“oh my god, the camera!!”
She had forgotten to remove her new hat and my Sony RX100 camera from the roof! We pulled over straight away and checked – NOTHING!
I drove back to the pump station , where we walked up and back to the place we turned. The hat and camera were nowhere to be found! I loved that camera to bits, it’s so great for travel photography! But even worse – the SD card with all our memories of the trip were lost! Heartbroken and with no way to find the lost items, we had no choice but to continue home.
I’m hoping a good samaritan has picked up both of them in order to return them, As I noticed a lot of cyclists on the road. But nothing has been returned yet, even after our efforts to report it missing on facebook, to the police, and to the park rangers office.
I’m disappointed that we’re missing a lot of good images for this post and for S’s blog too – but life goes on! maybe it was the moor’s way of telling us to forget our history, leave technology behind and live in the now. We’re safe and we had an amazing time, and that’s all that really matters.
I have a few more pictures left over so I’ll just tag them on the end here! 🙂
The vast expanse of the moor ahead of S
Our pitch from above
and from below!
A Helicopter flies through an ominous landscape
The proudest sheep I’ve ever seen! 😄