Monday 21st to Friday 25th July 2014- Sticklepath to Ivybridge: Dartmoor
Paddy Garcia, Kate Force One and Burge
Day One/ Stage One: Sticklepath to Wonson ‘The Northmore Arms’ Sticklepath and South Zeal very lovely. Signposts for the Pilgrims Way poor. Two fields with bulllocks crossed, hedges jumped, back to roads, beautiful countryside and the first bit of moor. A lovely green lane (Deave Lane) took us out of picturesque Throwleigh to the Northmoor Arms for bitter (Dartmoor IPA), cidrax (Sam’s cider) and fish and chips.
Day One/ Stage One: ‘The Northmore Arms’ to Fernworthy Reservoir Through a wood, down to a river and up onto the moor; via Fernworthy Tor and down to the reservoir. A swim for Burge and KF1, whilst PG hung out in his pants. Idyllic illegal swimming and a beautiful campsite (although a bit bitey).
Day Two/ Stage One: Fernworthy Reservoir to ‘The Warren Inn’ Up and over the reservoir and onto the moor. Brief stop for KF1’s blisters and a phone call. Onwards via a well-preserved cursus towards the Warren Inn and baguettes and beer. Sleepy. Lots of tourists admiring the charming half pints. Clouds developing.
Day Two/ Stage Two: ‘The Warren Inn’ to Cockingford Hard climb up to Grimspound and along the ridge to Widdecombe. Steep descent to Widdecombe- quick summit meeting. Trip to shop and National Trust information. Decision made to have a drink and then head to campsite at Cockingford. Fine campsite on river*.
Day Three/ Stage One: Cockingford to Chalksford Rested and cleaned, another scorching day. Opted not to strike up steep valleyside and instead went riverside along the Webburn. Had an icecream and then stopped for a swim in Salter’s Pool. Out of the valley to Holne, first pub stop without a pint in readiness for the big pull onto the moor. Stocked up and walked to Scorriton (no pint) and onto Chalksford where an idyllic campsite by the river prompted a curtailment of the stage. We are ready!
Day Four: Chalksford to Harford Bunkhouse Steep climb first thing, hazy sun with breeze at our backs. No sign of sad sheep. Feeling fit but painful feet soon set in as we hit the hard road across the moor. Much archaeology to admire and keen family doing the whole of the two Tors walk. Nuts and plenty of them. Soreen and cheese. The last of the pure water. PG’s screenplay discussed: Fool’s Gold a definite goer.
Burge hard taskmaster despite KF1 at 80% pain (100% is death). Some controversy remains about timing of lunchbreak. Down, down, down into Harford and a sting in the tail climb to Harford bunkhouse and hot pasties (giant), meringue cakes and a free lucozade. Delirium. Peacocks, firepit, ‘Horse and Groom’ pub and wobbly bench to imbibe cider and beer. Taxi to campsite, hilarity**.
Day Five: Harford Bunkhouse to Barleymow Hot in tent. Hangover (red wine)- more peacocks. Who knew they could climb trees? Slow pack up and final push, one and a half miles, to Ivybridge station. Emergency food and drink run by heroic PG. Sweaty hot train to Newton Abbot and beyond. Slow walk to end point at Barleymow (Dings, Bristol), where this tale endeth.
Team Banjo!, 2014
*Editor’s note: PG says a book could be written about this stage.
** Editor’s note: possibly assisted.