The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 20 July 2008

Dartmoor Goes Awry

Actually, that heading is perhaps a bit misleading. I imagine that Dartmoor today is exactly as it should be. It was just our day that went awry.

Just a couple of hours after I posted yesterday’s report, I awoke to find Mick writhing in pain and looking somewhat less than well.

After a couple of trips out of the tent, we spent the rest of the night with the doors unzipped so as to disturb less our neighbours and Mick spent a poorly night. We assume it was food/water/unclean implements poisoning.

So, instead of a lazy start to the day and a pleasant amble back across the moor to our starting point, we had very little sleep and at 4.45am, as the day was getting light, I figured I may just as well go and get the car, park it at the nearest road and evacuate Mick to the nearest hotel with en-suite bathroom.

It’s not the ideal circumstances in which to be out walking at that hour of day, but it was a mighty fine morning for it. The sky was clear, the moon was still up and a heavy mist clung to the fields below me, with the higher ground poking out. I did break stride to take a photo, but it just doesn’t do the spectacle justice. A sea of cloud over the fields

Given the circumstances, I didn’t take the scenic route. I went to the nearest road, power walked along it for a mile or so and then picked up the disused railway line – at the very same point where we had picked it up during our LEJOG. I had said, those three months ago, that I’d like to return to Dartmoor. What I didn’t expect, after an excellent day yesterday sampling the place, was to be repeating part of the LEJOG route early this morning.

The notable thing about the railway track was that it was quiet, and I don’t mean an absence of people (I would have been very taken aback to have met anyone there at 5.30 on a Sunday morning!). There wasn’t even any bird song. Rabbits did abound, but that only gave me a visual diversion.

I covered the 5.5 miles or so in very good time and just before 7am, as heads were starting to poke out of other tents, I arrived back to pack away and to bundle an even poorlier looking Mick out of the tent.

We didn’t book into the local Travelodge as planned. Mick insisted that he would be fine to make the 3 hour journey back north, and admittedly early on a Sunday morning is one of the better times to contend with the motorways. My brake pedal was not used between joining the A30 and leaving the M5, about 170 miles later.

I’m pleased to say that he’s all better now, and we’ve both caught up on that sleep we missed last night.

An unfortunate end to our weekend away, but we agreed that even with the less-than-ideal weather, yesterday was a very good and very enjoyable day, and that it was good to catch up with John Hee, Aktoman, Darren, Alan Sloman and Litehiker and to meet Martin and Martin.


  1. And there was me thinking you were just another pair of early risers this morning

    Glad as well now.

  2. ..glad to see in true Blogger tradtion you managed to get some pixs. Hope Mick didn't find out

  3. May I suggest that you update the "Go for a Walk" box at the top of the web page, as it says you haven't arrived at JOG yet. It might help a newcomer.

  4. Good point Richard. I've now changed it.

  5. I have a lot to go through here. Some walk that LEJOG...Dartmoor was great and hope to see you again.

  6. Well it was nice to meet you all. But I am sorry that Mick was suffering on Sunday Morning.

    If only you had looked for the green hex at the camp-site I would have driven you both to Okehampton. But then you werent to know that....

    I just hope it wasnt the beer


  7. Martin & FB - good to have met both of you too.

    FB - if you were at the campsite behind the Fox & Hounds, then I did pop in there on my way down to the road but didn't find the toilets that I was looking for, and I admit that I didn't think of checking out the tents for potential lifts at that time in the morning!

    I don't think that it was the beer, in that at least four of us were drinking the same ale and only one suffered. It will remain a mystery - but at least it was a relatively short-lived maladie.

  8. The 'Dartmoor' Ale was pretty tasty, and my cheesy chips (2nd Supper) were pretty good too. Having said all that, I don't usually suffer from food poisoning when all around me are writhing around in agony. (It's what I put in their food that does it...)

    Anyway - good to hear that the 'beardless git' is fine and dandy again.

  9. Being a late riser, I missed all the action. Glad to hear the emergency passed. I wonder what caused it. I too had sampled the local tipple and chips, but with no (noticeable) detrimental effects.

    Much kudos to Gayle for her medivac yomp.