What a Birthday.. – Richard Alonzo

Richard’s Birthday trip to Dartmoor

I recently decided to celebrate my 50th birthday by trying my hand at wild camping on Dartmoor. Having managed to navigate my way down a congested M5 I finally arrived at Widecombe in the Moor and set off eager to test my kit.

The planned route took me along the Two Moors Way, past a number of barrows, before setting up camp at Hookney Tor overlooking the prehistoric settlement of Grimspound. Everything went like a dream, the tent was up in minutes, the camping stove was soon boiling away and I sat down with a steaming cup of coffee to watch the sun set with only the sheep for company.

As the sun sank beneath the horizon I settled down or a peaceful night in the wilds or so I thought.

Awoken from my slumber at 1am by the dull rhythmic thud of drums I looked out of my tent half expecting to see the ancient inhabitants of Grimspound returning to claim what was rightfully there’s. I was therefore relived to see the farm nestling under Headland Warren lit up like Blackpool illuminations and a rave in full swing and only slightly disappointed to discover it wasn’t a surprise party staged for my benefit.

Looking on the bright I figured at least the rave would ensure I would be awake to witness the sunrise, only to see a thick Devon mist come rolling across the moors rapidly reducing visibility to zero. Had it not been for the trusty Garmin GPS I purchased from GO Outdoors a while back I’d still be wandering round Dartmoor now!