Sunday, 17 August 2008

It leaks!

The sky was grey at threatening as I set out on my evening run across the moor. The summer seasons wetness made tussocks grow to full volume which didn't help as I splashed through the wet ground. Past Hart Tor, beyond Black and on to Leather and Sharpitor; sky blackened and the visibility dropped to nothingness as I grabbed for my compass to take a bearing for the road I wanted to cross. The rain came down and the chill bit in as I made the old railway track that passes the back of Ingra Tor. I was chilled clean through to the bone despite a fast pace and by Swell Tor Quarry had donned my lite Speed jacket. Around Kings Tor and onward toward Princetown I reached the car. I grabbed my larger sack and popped the Golite Hex up for a nights shelter with the full intention of a good day to follow tomorrow. The rain came down like stair rods and the wind pressed against the Hex. I was puzzled: where the hell was that water coming from..... damn it's the seams....It leaks!


Saturday, 9 August 2008

A definition of rain...

Relative humidity, dry and wet bulb temperatures, due point, slide rules and saturated air... Well those are words I seem to associate with rain; I am fairly sure that if we tossed them around we could define it. I suppose what I am really driving at here isn't a definition for precipitation, more a definition of our expectations. Lets face it outdoors folk; rain is here to stay, so lets enjoy it. A glorious day in God's good sunshine is certainly something to appreciate but as we seem to be blessed with more rain than shine perhaps some appreciation may lighten our lives just that bit further.

I ran through Hembury Woods on the edge of the moor near Buckfast tonight, it lashed it down with rain. My heart was heavy as I dug into the first leaf mulched beech and oak clad hill, I felt the bite of my shoes as they gripped deep down into the mud and water trickled past, bows dipped heavy with loaded leaves and I topped out of the hill into a clearing near the iron age fort. Blood thumped through my head like a mechanical hammer, I knew it was going to be wet through there so I opened up my stride and struck for the other side with little care or attention to the depth of water in front of me; the dog too opened up his stride and startled a small rabbit who, had it been any other dog, would have been snapped up. Smiling to myself I was actually enjoying the wet as I now trusted the sole unit to grip the cobble-like rocks as I skipped back down toward the river. I took some of my usual turns through the hill and woodland with wet skin soaked and sweating, it was fabulous! There was steam rising from summer's warmth, and the top of the woodland was cloaked in a fine strata of mist, what a time of year, night, day! Back along the river as the night crept into the woodland and took life from the light, the River Dart looked angry, malevolent, or perhaps mischievous as her sides snaked and swelled into eddies and stoppers along the way. As the water falls on the Dart in spate, it glistens red with peat stain, not your normal brown of muddy waters, but a deep deep red that contrasts the summer green from the alders that grow around her banks. Suddenly it was there for a moment! a bar of silver a yard long, topping and tailing to show an ancient eye and the hooked kype of a male jaw; salmon, gone again. I dug into the final hill and again felt the hammer pounding through my veins as I reached the top.

Rain, good isn't it. I hope it comes to visit again soon.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


Having rummaged through a few old Kodachrome slides I found this little gem that I took some years ago in the Antarctic. Certainly not something that would be of much use on Dartmoor, but a reminder in the debate of tarps/ tents etc etc etc that there are also extreme shelters such as this. The pyramid tent weighs.... a lot... and is double skinned ventile outer with four large diameter allow legs / poles. It was an absolute palace to live in.

Above is the worlds finest dog team (I would argue) I have scanned this from one of my B+W prints which is why it is looking a bit ropey... Anyway, the team is 'The Admirals' of Rothera Base Antarctica taken in the winter of 1992 when the sea ice was really good and allowed John S and myself to sledge south to the Argentine base on the Debenham Islands. I suppose much of this isn't relevant to today really, nor to this blog, but what the hell I may as well share some memories alongthe way. :-)
I cant get the hang of posting pictures an text and everything seems to arrive at the top of the page so if anyone has some guidance on this I would be grateful.