After last week's walk, I was thumbing through the stamps collected. That I'd found as many as I had was pleasing for a few reasons. Since stashing the GPS away last Winter, I had noticed a considerable decline in my success rates on walks, and Tuesday reversed this trend. I'm also planning a trip to Cut Hill - where stumbling on unexpected letterboxes is expected - and the pace and efficiency required at the box site requires practise. Also, my scrapbooks have big pages - I need at least 15 stamps to fill a page!
Yet there is the important question of motivation.
To some letterboxers, 'boxing is about the healthy walk, the fresh air, the landscape all around, the chance encounters. Take a camera; Take a dog; Take your time. The letterboxing provides a little je ne c'est quoi, a bonus, an extra. To be on Dartmoor is enjoyable enough. Why not select the boxes, and the places you enjoy visiting and finding? If you find it - great - if not, never mind. There'll still be plenty more boxes on the moor next time. You'll never find them all anyway! What with the price of petrol, there's also no reason to be criss-crossing the moor every weekend.
To others, the letterboxing is the purpose. There is always time for 'one more box'. Even if there isn't time. Maybe its competitive - between friends and family. It could be about being first in book, completing the series, or being 'seen'. To some its about ensuring maximum return of stamps from limited time on the moor. Letterboxing is, of course, highly addictive, and the thought of passing potential letterbox sites unsearched is absurd. There is the next badge to aim for: with just another 100/1000/10,000 stamps to go! Aim high! There is no such thing as bad weather: only the wrong clothing, and besides, if you go in the rain, you'll have the whole moor to yourself, and won't have to worry about being 'watched' by grockles at Combestone Tor. And when sunset forces you off, why not take a torch, and pack clues for the 'roadies' on the route home. (Or was that just me?!?)
Which brings me on to which camp I sit in. I have flitted between both groups at various times recently. I get withdrawal symptoms when I am away from Dartmoor, not from letterboxing. However, I miss letterboxing terribly when I'm on the moor without clues. I would probably count myself among the first group at the moment. During the past 2 years, I started leaving The Upland Trotter personal at home, and carried only the whoisthechallenger stamp instead, so I cannot be sure how many stamps I have actually found. Who am I actually counting for? Who counts anyway?
Above everything else, it's about personal choice. The reasons for letterboxing can be so varied and individual.
Letterboxing, eh? This Victorian pastime. This means to an end. This numbers game.