Friday, February 17, 2006

The Walk - hopefully first of many outings with a gang of mates.

[I would have been back blogging much sooner, but work got in the way. Shame].

I organised a walk last Sunday, from the small village of Belstone, a couple of miles from Okehampton on the North Moor. There were six of us intrepid types and three dogs, and it didn't rain. I don't know the North Moor as well as the South East (where we all live) so I (attempted to) follow a route from Adventurous Pub Walks in Devon which my mate Cath got me for my birthday (ta muchly Cath!). It might not have rained but it was a really blustery day -

This is Belstone Tor: Irishman's Wall begins at the foot of here, and runs up over the top and down the other side towards the River Taw. We followed this route...

Irishman's Wall has an interesting history: Dartmoor has always offered common grazing for locals, but under ancient tradition, farmers had the right to enclose up to 8 acres of moorland for their own use. Towards the beginning of the 19th century two farmers hired a group of Irishmen to enclose a much greater area on Belstone Common. They had built about a mile of this wall before other local farmers realised what was happening. The resulting enclosure would have restricted their access considerably, so they gathered en masse at the wall, and at a given signal, pushed it over! The Irishmen departed not wanting to be involved in any fight, but parts of the wall remain - even if its name does seem to credit just one Irishman for its existence.This is the at the top looking down over the river Taw (and some ponies sheltering in the lee of the Tor, away from the wind. This is where we could have flown if we'd flapped our arms just a bit harder. We clambered down over the clitter to an ox bow type loop in the river where there is a ford - this is Cath trying not to get her trousers and boots wet... I won't tell you what she used to dry her feet, but the woman has ALL sorts of useful items lurking at the bottom of her bag.

From here we could see Cosdon Beacon. We walked across rough moorland and boggy bits to South Zeal and the welcome warmth of the Oxenham Arms Pub - couple of pints and a roaring fire. It was then only a mile and a half back to Belstone along the river through Skaigh Woods. Didn't bother with any more photos as there wasn't enough sunshine to make them interesting (and I haven't included the ones of my mates because I haven't asked them and they might be just a bit surprised to see themselves on the net!). T'was a 7 1/2mile hike and a good distance to amble along in no particular hurry. Couldn't resist taking this pic of a cat (in the window above the door) eyeing us up as we got back to Belstone:-

I've to read a poem at my friend's dh funeral tomorrow.


What is life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare,

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows,

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass,

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night,

Not time to turn at Beauty's glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance,

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life is this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare."

William Henry Davies

"Easy, peasy", I thought, "Piece of cake". So why did I bawl my eyes out trying to read it out all by myself earlier?


Seahorse said...

I love the pictures of your walk. What a beautiful place.

Hope the funeral goes as well as these things can do.

Lynne said...

Funerals are yucky. Hope the reading went ok.
Love the pictures you are taking of the moors. Not my image of Britain.

TutleyMutley said...

The reading went OK - thanks for the positive vibes!
I'm curious, Lynne - what IS your image of Britain? Sort of English Country Garden?
All of my favourite places are like Dartmoor - Pembrokeshire, Lake District, Cumbria, Scotland.
Dartmoor is one of the smallest 'wild' places (National Park) but all the more beautiful for that. I have more, lots more pics!

Marnie Maybe said...

Sorry I missed the walk it sounded like fun! Yes, I would be interested in hearing about next one in April.
I'm glad the reading went OK, I know these events can be very nervewracking.