Moors in rain and shine ... and ponies!

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May 31st 2010
Published: July 10th 2010
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teeny, tiny ones
Second UK May Bank Holiday, spend it in London? Naaaah, why bother when there's a big park a few (or more) hours drive from London. Thsi weekend it was off with one of my beloved hiking groups to hike around the Moors with some side activities thrown in!

Everyone on the trip managed to car share, so for me it was a cushy drive from South London (cushy because I was just a passenger, thanks Daryl!!). Everything was going to plan until we hit the 3 miles past Stonehenge - my tip is if possible avoid this area at all costs on the Friday of the long weekend - I could have run the 3 miles quicker and trust me, running isn't my strong point! The old 3 lanes, into 2, into 1 congestion cost us about an hour on our trip time and I'd have to say, traffic jams are rather dull. Despite that there was still time to do a quick peel off at Stonehenge for a furtive shot through the fence even if to achieve that I did manage to whack my hip on the car (huuuuge bruise) slip on the verge (banged shin and grass stains
tramping the moors in the raintramping the moors in the raintramping the moors in the rain

so much part of UK outdoor life ... oh moor cross :)
on new trousers) and then smear (said trousers) with road tar. Not the most successful 2 mins of my life (lucky the old Sards Wonder Soap is a miracle worker!). Throw in an illegal turn back onto the road south and it was on to Devon and the Dartmoor National Park.

Stayed in Okehampton just north of the Moors, a nice little town, close to lots of outdoor activities organised by the YHA hostel. As usual arrived at the hostel to midnight food and checked out the plan for Saturday - a hike on the moors in the morning and then and afternoon of throwing myself through cold water and waterfalls in the afternoon. I'd seen people having a go at gorge scrambling on my last trip to the Brecon Beacons, so couldn't knock back an opportunity to have a go at the next opportunity presented to me.

Saturday pretty much went to plan and certainly ended up being a great day for gorge scrambling as once we got out to the moors in the sky opened up and the rain came down, hard. The UK loves to bucket it down and it's a rare trip when the

site of bruise x 2 and associated stains!
wet weather gear doesn't make an appearance! That morning was one of those and I felt quite smug running off about lunch time to dash back for the wetter (only just) afternoon activity. Light rain when hiking is fine, heavy rain is a pain as you end up with your hood on, head down just to try to see the way ahead. So off for an afternoon of weather appropriate playing in the water ... a bit chilly, but soooooo much fun. I can heartily recommend gorge scrambling as it's so much fun and once you are wet, you forget how cold it is.

Saturday night was party night, but I was sooooo tired from the week I went up for a wee lie down and woke up the next morning! All that fresh air and excercise tends to take it out of you. Sunday hike was a bit more relaxed as it was broken into 2 groups as usual, the gung ho and the chilled out. As per my pattern I took chilled and it was a nice-ish walk up and up and up ... sigh ... but the view from the top was magic and the lunch spot amazing. Then it was down and down and down (not so bad) and along the river for a lovely, traditional Devonshire cream tea (yum!). I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on all my trips eating (it's a great joy!).

Sunday night was not as rowdy as the night I missed, but still quite entertaining and the food was fab. Sara the organiser had a friend come along who was a chef and the food was fab!. Monday was travel home day, but before we headed off we had one last ramble in the heart of the Moors surrounded by rocky outcrops, empty space and beautiful ponies, some just a day or so old ... good for the soul before back to London and life as usual.

Anyhoo ... enjoy!

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