A 11.6 mile walk in which I channel my inner Bear Grylls. It wasn’t the intention but, once you’re 8 miles in and the path disappears in the bog, then you’re kind of committed.
It’s still early as we climb away from the car park by the Meldon Reservoir. It’s mostly deserted apart from a few eager dog walkers and a couple equipped with full waterproofs and walking poles…perhaps, with hindsight, we should have taken the hint! The recent rain has left the ground muddy and we’re not long into the walk before the rain returns. Still, as we splash along the disused railway lines over Coombe and Southerly Down, there’s plenty to talk about and it doesn’t dampen our spirits.
The path descends towards Vale Down. The rain has stopped and occasionally the sun appears, only for another shower to race through.
An abrupt turn east and we’re headed upwards towards Widery Cross, Brat Tor and the heart of The Moor. Our plotted route seems to abandon the footpath for the steepest route to the top. We quickly change our course and instead head for the shoulder between Arms and Brat Tors…now we’re free-styling and the going is tough. Sue loses her boot in a deep crevice beside one of the many rocks. It wouldn’t have taken much for that to turn into a broken ankle. To tell the truth, it’s a bit unnerving!
From now on it gets a bit hairy! Either we’ve lost the footpath or it doesn’t exist but we’re cutting across open country, heading towards Great Links Tor and on to Kitty Tor. We briefly rejoin the disused railway only to lose it again in the bog. At Logan Rock the signposts announce that we’re entering an army firing range. This finally tips one of us over the edge…but there’s more to come! It’s a scramble down from the moor into the Okement Valley. This is declared to ‘no longer be fun’…well, there IS fun to come…there’s no bridge across the Okement River. The further we walk the faster and wider the stream becomes. Finally Sue decides upon a suitable crossing point (in any case we’re fast running out of options) and with boots tied around our necks we wade from rock to rock. It’s freezing…but I think we’d have made Bear proud!
The final part of the walk is a trifle by comparison. We climb Black Tor, cross Longstone Hill and return to the reservoir. A walk of 11.6miles in total and walking sticks and full waterproof gear would have been a good idea, it turns out!
Meldon picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):