Friday, May 07, 2010

Dartmoor Two

Woke up in empty YH - ate yesterday's lunch for breakfast.
My legs ached but I felt better this morning than yesterday when I set off. Had to first of all hand my keys in to the main YH building by the station then off onto the Granite Way.

Sunny - no wind. Glorious. Made my way to Lydford without incident. Castle (below).

- by the way - click on the photos and they SHOULD become bigger.

Soon after Lydford I was on Dartmoor proper again. to my right the little church on the hill. See panarama's below for an idea of the rather marvellous view to be had along this stretch of road.

Stag beetles. I saw two. I also saw lots of rabbits and a stoat running along beside me for a bit - till he realised I was there and panicked, diving into some undergrowth.

The off road routes were variable - this is a stretch between Mary and Peter Tavy. Who they?
Peter Tavy = proper chocolate box west Dartmoor village. All the years I lived round here and I never knew such places really existed...although my family on my mother's side originate from around here...they left these villages behind in the 19th century. Plymouth drew people in from miles around - the promise of jobs and decent living standards acted like a magnet.

It was upwards and upwards as I headed on towards Godsworthy - on a dirt road through fields of sheep with newly born lambs.
The locals weren't happy about my being there, especially with their lambs about.
I turned right through a farm, deserted, and yet so clearly working with materials and equipment scattered about in the yard...two men in the distance driving quad bikes around a field, apparently to steer the sheep into the upper field...and it was working...who needs sheepdogs these days? Then it was a steep climb up a muddy road through another deserted yet working farm - this time with dogs - and up and up finally onto a proper tarmac road, with a visitor's car parked and an impatient horse rider who'd stopped her horse and was waiting for me to pass.
The hill in front of me was Cox Tor and I followed the road around its contours - relishing the flatness and having the wind behind me I sailed along passing ice cream vans and car parking areas until I reached the main road between Tavistock and Princetown.
It was a relatively steep climb, wind against me once more, miltary helicopter flying overhead, I stopped for some food and a quick piss. Then onwards towards Princetown on what was probably the most inhospitable road on dartmoor - not even able to freewheel downhill thanks to the tremendous wind - I kept on pedalling. Finally, it was a steep downhill to Merrivale, which sounds like it's straight out of the Shire, where the hobbits live in Lord of The rings, but in reality it's a couple of rundown farms and a shop. I decided instead of continuing in this icy wind all the way to Princetown, I took a right turn onto a public bridleway heading south. It was reasonably easy at first but became harder as I went on...eventually I had to give up on any fancy ideas of actually off and walked it pushing the bike along.

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