20 November, 2017

The Longest Row

There was something I've wanted to do for a long time.

I tried to do it earlier this year, but SWW's unreasonable behaviour foiled my attempt. So, I came up with an alternative, only to foil myself.

But things come around with time, and on Saturday I had another chance.
Things did not go to plan, indeed some things went rather wrong, but I persisted and dear reader I succeeded.

There is on Dartmoor the longest stone row in the world and I have now walked its length. Getting there was beset by difficulties, getting back a pain, but the row itself, despite traversing bog and gert and stream and indeed full-on river, was a magical experience.

I would love to be able to unleash upon you the 50-odd shots I wanted to take, but one of my woes was my camera going kookoo and junking its memory card before I even got to the start point.. I still had my phone [uh oh..] but the camera eats charge and the battery faded, so I had to ration my shots [stop cheering].

Starting out

Fox Tor

Navigation made easy

And then zap....

So, old-style pics - don't bother trying to enlarge;

Crossing's Memorial
Duck's Pool

Green Hill Cairn
With Ryder's, the Heap, Three Barrows on the skyline
[the row goes south {right}]

North in the row
Only the odd stone still upright and above the peat

Further south
Slightly easier to see

Reaching the circle

The Dancers
[Stall Moor Row on the horizon]

One interesting shortcut later;


Camera woes aside, Whiteworks to Fox Tor to Duck's Pool was familiar and enjoyable - though my camera dying right before a Merlin popped up right there [argh] was a pain - until I realised I was minus a glove.. I did find it, about a mile back across the peat, but combined with my vain attempts to get my camera to work, I was an hour behind the plan* when I finally stopped there.
A serious think ensued, where I decided that I wasn't going to be put off so easily.

I took myself along a path I'd walked once before, and found the cairn on Green Hill far faster than before, due to the 'art' you can see above. One time I actually approve - the hill is one of those undulating topped jobs, and the cairn far from obvious!

I then found the first stone in the row straight away [for once time working to make stones easier to see]. Then the next was just over there.. and things they started working. I just kept going and going, carried along through bog, over stream, and onwards. Even a rather full River Erme didn't slow me [much]

It is not the easiest walk. There is bog, there are watercourses, and tussocks, and slopes, and a really deep gert to traverse. The OS map doesn't show all the visible stones, but there are plenty of bits where there are few to be seen above the surface [especially with the grass up], and this is no Stall Down [though some fallen stones are in that range]. The Dancers themselves are quite petite [bar one], but the site.. Ah, the site.
Of interest - especially to those who doubt the wholeness of the row - you can see the Green Hill cairn right on the skyline from the circle [remembering the nature of Green Hill's less-than-obvious summit].

I will be back, you will get photo'd all over the place.

With time somewhat more pressing than I'd hoped, I decided to cut the corner back - instead of just following the Erme - seeing that the hills to the west were being used by people on foot and quad, so must be better than the 'No Paths, don't bother' I'd noted a decade earlier...

What did I find? That there are some paths up there, though rarely where you want them to go. Ah yes, that would be the south Moor all in.
Once I'd got to the top of Langcombe Hill, however, it was all downhill and soon I was stood on top of Broad Rock, ruefully remembering my intent to get a nice 'lit by low sun' shot of it.. Well-known paths then led me to my spot at Eylesbarrow, where I tried to get a shot of the wonderful apricot light flooding the Tamar and making Plimoth look actually pretty [gasp]. Coffee finished, light fading, feet turned north and after the sunny side of 25km, I was back at my li'l car with a smidge of daylight left.

Oh yes, birds!

Not a whole lot, as you'd expect, mostly corvids and the odd Mipit and Skylark. But not all. Two Merlin - in sight at the same time! Oh, my BLEEPing camera - two Snipe and a Jack [which flushed from about 10'!], a lone Fieldfare west of Green Hill [?!?] which sat and posed, the little git, plus two groups of flyover Golden Plover.

Also fungi;

Rather weathered

Meadow Waxcap

And no, I didn't get rained on.


But my legs are still complaining..

Right, I need to get back to grey rocks and bright fungi [I will finish that post!]

Be Seeing You..

[[*Yes, yes, 'No plans survives..' - but this was pushing it]]

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