The camper van is sitting at the end of the garden looking a little forlorn. It is still used over the winter but only as a second car. It is demoted. Just a vehicle. No longer a home, no longer an engine of escape. I miss it during the winter months. The escape, the exploring and the quiet times with the family.
But why let the end of the camping season stop us from exploring this beautiful country we live in?
Lucky for me we have developed a tradition of taking night away without the kids for our anniversary. Partly to be pampered, but also to go on a decent hike without the kids. Please don’t misunderstand, I love walking with the kids. It always makes me laugh because they always moan and groan when I mention going on a walk yet their laughter, smiles, chattiness and sheer energy is all I need to see that they gain so much. However, going for a walk without the kids is a different thing, fast paced, more challenging and also time for us as a couple.
So a couple of weeks ago, under dark and gloomy skies we left the kids with their grandparents and headed for Dartmoor. Crossing the top of the moor as we approached Postbridge, visibility was very poor and the rain, though not heavy, was persistent. We weren’t put off we were well equipped with walking jackets, waterproof trousers (see here to fully appreciate the wonder of waterproof trousers) and my new walking boots.
As we walked the cloud and rain intermittently closed in and then cleared. We trudged uphill against a fair wind, we scambled over tumps and bracken and strode purposefully feeling the weather all around us.
The most memorable moment was when my husband’s leg disappeared in a bog, right up to above his knee. I was unhelpful and gasped and flapped as he extracted himself. Remarkably, the combination of waterproof trousers and decent walking boots meant that he was pretty unscathed. It made us walk a darn sight more gingerly after that though! Suddenly I can see a point to those walking sticks people carry.
At the waterfall we stopped for lunch sheltering behind a huge boulder looking down the river as we munched our provisions. To cross the waterfall we picked our way over large flat stones just above the main drop. I can’t get enough of rushing water, it is so meditative and soothing.
We then followed the river back to Postbridge seeing no one at all, just sheep. The weather slowly cleared and as we returned to our starting point the sun broke through.
This was my first Dartmoor hike and I will definitely be returning. I am also determined to try some wild camping as one of our family adventures and Dartmoor may well be just the place.
This was the walk we did should you fancy giving it a go. Only 6 miles.
Despite the fact that my anniversary present was a new walking jacket and my birthday present was new walking boots, I do enjoy a touch of pampering too! So we rewarded ourselves with a night at Hotel Endersleigh, which is set in stunning grounds with the wide Tamar winding past below. An utterly gorgeous weekend in yet another fabulous corner of the UK.