King of the hill
My weekend walk took me to the far East of the moor. To Shapley Tor, King Tor and Grimspound. The fog that hung low over Cornwall and the Western moor combined with gusty South-Westerlies seemed to lift as I passed Okehampton. The Challacombe Valley also appeared to be benefiting from being in the moor's weather shadow.
The route I'd planned began around the head of the East Bovey river. The landscape were scarred by closely cut firebreaks and charred heather - evidence of recent swaling activity, over now for another year. Next was the slog up and over Shapley Tor. A spot of unsuccessful boxing here - primarily due to distant bearings being impossible. I was forced to retreat to the line of the newtake wall to head South and avoid the pelting rain that had finally made an appearance. The target now was the East Vitifer Mine below King Tor. This interesting little mine last saw activity in 1913 when it employed 6 miners, albeit only in surface level works. The warning signs around the area refer to the deep pits worked between 1845 and 1876. It was never particularly successful as a tin mine. The current owner of the mine has recently been in trouble with Teignbridge Council for not maintaining the fence around the one of the pits.
I side-stepped this danger, and instead opted for the lung-busting climb to Kings Barrow. I'd received some new clues the day previous to the walk, and was keen for a first-in-book opportunity. Due to an oversight, one of these new clues also lacked a grid reference, and the owner of the boxes had pleaded for one to be obtained for his records. I was happy to oblige. I felt I needed to test my GPS batteries, sat idle in the bottom of my rucksack for months.
The clues took me up to Blue Jug - the boundstone on the slopes of Hameldown. The cloud and fog were down and wind and rain steady. Bearings were difficult, but not impossible. Mission was achieved, but I knew it was time to return to the car. Taking a compass bearing, I struck out for Grimspound. I had a handful of boxes to find around Hookney Tor. When I was done here, I wandered back to the car in the relative calm of Headland Warren girt. A good day. 7 boxes found.