Tuesday, November 09, 2010

skaigh valley

This morning we set out to walk onto Dartmoor proper, first by traveling to Sticklepath and following the river Taw upstream in the Skaigh Valley, around Belstone Cleave and out past Belstone and onto the moor. This is a very pretty walk this time of year as it is early Autumn and the leaves are just beginning to turn. The path is mostly fine for walking but does become rocky and slippery in places so good walking boots are very much recommended and keep an eye on those rocks underfoot as we don't want to turn an ankle out here.

The river Taw where we are walking is mentioned as a location in Henry Williamsons Tarka the Otter and the river winds its way northwards from here until it meets the coast of Devon 45 miles away. The Taw is in a sunless valley this time of year for most of the first part of the walk and the river courses over many rocks and boulders on its way. As we reach the latter parts of the walk we will come out onto the open wilds of Dartmoor where there will be another very rocky part of river and finally a very quiet smooth stretch on the moor to look forward to. We should also be able to see some Tors on the tops of the hills but we won't have enough time to go up and look at them today so we must save them for another time. There will probably be wild Dartmoor ponies too, which I will not eat my sandwiches in front of so as to not upset them or arouse their curiosity.

The weather as we set off is very fine; still and sunny and bright, though this being Devon and more specifically Dartmoor it can change pretty much instantly into torrential rain or dense fog, so it is good that I am fully equipped with my all terrain mountain hiking slippers, kiss me quick hat, a bit of water, sandwiches and of course plenty of good healthy cigarettes to help invigorate the lungs. Actually it already looks like its going to rain soon and although we are out of the wind down here we won't be when we get out onto the moor. I'm starting to think that waterproof trousers would have been a very good idea and seriously, a compass and a map are a must.

Hopefully next time I might have the space to talk about some of the myths and legends associated with Dartmoor. There are more legends and myths around these parts than sticks can be shaken at, even here with all these sticks we have at hand to shake at things. You go on for a bit and I'll catch you up, I've got a few photos to take and a fag to smoke. See you in a bit.


nobody said...

Tolkien-esque! Thanks mate, and now that I've been suitably warned, next time I pop in I'll have a stout stick, and see if I can't indulge myself in a bit of brandishing. It's a great word that. Brandish.

Otherwise this may sound daft but I didn't think there were places that pretty in England. What a silly thing to think. Anyway, too perfectly gorgeous.

Anonymous said...


john said...

Cheers nobody. Are you brandishing the word brandish at me? Maybe I should arm myself similarly with a radish. In the same way that brandish is brandlike radish may be considered radlike. I'll hold it up and wave it a bit to see if anyone's intimidated by it... oh they're not, never mind I have other ishes at hand.

You are right there, it is very pretty in the Skaigh. There are a good number of very pretty places and I spend a fair bit of time with multiple bus timetables trying to figure out how close I can get to them on public transport.

john said...

Cheers neil, it's always nice to have another viewer comment. I never really know who's around. As I expect you have noticed, Autumn is no longer in the early stages as this was my attempt at writing in the present tense rather than an up to the minute description. I generally have a bit of lag between taking the photos and putting them up. More coming soon. Cheers for now and thanks.

evat said...

Hi john , these are nice photos here , i like that tree in photo 8 , it seems imaginary one , these climbing plants on its trunk are so beautifull .

always ,nice photos from Devon .

enjoy life there john .