My Biggest Dartmoor Challenge EVER - blog 3

January 23, 2021  •  1 Comment

A big challenge deserves a big target, if you would like to support the Dartmoor Search and Rescue team Tavistock the sponsor/donate page is now live. Thank you for your support

So…… the planning begins.

With all good plans you need a purpose, a target, an outcome and at least one benefit.

The purpose

To help raise £50,000 for the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Tavistock to purchase a replacement operations vehicle.

The challenge

Visit all the marked tors and some “rocks” (total 170) on the Ordinance Survey map OS28, that’s walking 400km!

The target

Raise £20,000 to help fund the new operations vehicle. A huge target, this is a huge walk and needs a big target!

The Outcome

That’s easy, to complete the walk and raise £20,000

The benefit

Keeping the search and rescue team operational to continue saving lives and help people on and off the moor.


Well, I have a route, that took longer to create than I thought. Hope that’s not an omen of things to come, everything takes longer than expected. Not sure I could cope with more than 14 days and even that might prove to be a step too far! Time will tell.

Now to start thinking about what else I need. Mobile for emergencies if required, I’m hoping not, but I need to keep it charged so battery packs or solar chargers? Oh dear more research. What food do I take for fourteen days? that’s going to be a lot of weight. I’m guessing up to 30kg but that sounds horribly heavy.

Drinking water, now this is one area that does send shivers down the spine. At the moment my potential camping spots are not too close to rivers, surprisingly, so one of those “special” water filter things will be needed. I hope they work really well as I don’t have the hardiest of stomachs. This could be a challenge for me.

What about if I get into trouble and no signal, as I’ll be on my own, I’m really thinking I should have a personal locator beacon. Help at the press of a button if you get into serious trouble. A bit pricy at a couple hundred pound but I guess better that than end up in trouble with no help in the middle of nowhere.

Blimey, I haven’t even got to the basics yet. I wonder if I’m over thinking it.

For those that hike and camp on Dartmoor frequently you’ll probably be thinking providing you take care and have the right gear it’ll be fine. What you haven’t taken into account is I’ll be walking consecutive days further than ever before, wild camping for the first time, very aware of de-risking as much as possible. So yes, I’m probably being over cautious but let’s face it, it’s not the place to go unprepared! I’m suddenly starting to feel like a 61 year old!

OK, less of the mundane, I’ll do a full kit list later plus all those necessary gadgets to ensure safety for fourteen days.

Distance per day, now that’s an interesting one. Twenty years ago I would be clocking up 45km per day no sweat, but guess what, the head says I can still do that, unfortunately the body has a bit more to say about it. Actually, quite a bit more! Having tracked recent walking with my GPS (ah, another must have gadget for me!) it seems I have an average for the day of 3km per hour… ish. Well, I do like a good coffee break and admire the view when I stop for lunch!

Maybe I should rethink my tactics and try eating and drinking more on the go rather than stopping. That’s it then, an enjoyable and steady 30km per day, that’s still 10 hours walking a day though. Maybe a bit more training can improve that.

Right, with a back pack full of all the required essentials and weighing in at 30kg’s, what! That’s got to be stripped back, I’ll never carry it let alone finish the route.  I could do what they do in the artic and pull a sledge behind me, ok stupid idea. Back to the packing plan, something has to go, actually quite a bit. Blimey, this is getting a bit tricky already.

At least I already have some decent weather gear providing it doesn’t leak between now and next year. Can I name drop? Ah well, my Arterix jacket was a great purchase, I know it was expensive but is a dream fit and stayed waterproof for almost 10 years! You do get what you pay for I guess. Don’t forget my boots, yes I love those too, Meindl Bhutan, sounds just the business, built for walking.

Side-track moment – Gortex guaranteed waterproof boots leak! There, I’ve said it. I won’t say too much but three pairs handed back before I got the right ones, enough said!

Enough of this, back to the more interesting stuff.

Next time, boots on the ground, I start checking out the route in the field. Maybe a training programme?


Mike Stopporton(non-registered)
Quite a few points that will certainly need action.
Who might lend you a Spot Tracker?
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