Saturday, 12 October 2013

Dunkery Beacon - Exmoor

A couple of weeks ago I set off after school for a weekend of camping and walking in Exmoor once again. Last time it was for my training as a coastal and countryside walking leader, this time it for my assessment. I left with some trepidation knowing I had not had enough time to get the walking experience I really did need for this.

But of course I didn't need to worry.

I spent the Saturday night in my newly acquired tent, having been for a night walk in fog that gave us 10m (that's metres not miles!) visibility. We had set up the tents in a nicely sheltered place with natural banks on 3 sides and a hill so any rain would not drain into our tents! It's strange how a hill suddenly seems a lot steeper when you're lying down. I spent a lot of the night pulling myself and my sleeping bag back up to the fleece that was acting as my pillow.

On Sunday the three of us who were being assessed sat down to plan our route which had to take in Dunkery Beacon (the highest point in Exmoor). It was a potentially good route, taking in a river walk and then of course the view from the top of Dunkery Hill. The river was a little trickle with no wildlife for me to photograph. Following this was a steep and difficult hill which proved a challenge for me. I hoped the view would be worth it at the top!

Our first bit of wildlife was a cute little exmoor pony with it's mum - mum was staying decidedly out of shot!

We stopped to get a group photo once the pony had disappeared. Thankfully the weather was warm!

The last bit of the walk was the easiest. Just follow the path to cross the road and then up to Dunkery Beacon which came into view when we were nearing the road. As we came nearer, there was a riding group on the top of the hill, getting photos taken. I took the opportunity to get some interesting silhouette photos. Of course if the sun had been behind them it would have made better photos. But the sun is shy of Exmoor and was hiding behind lowering clouds.

The group setting off down the hill again.

In the far distance, just beyond the clouds is Wales. Why is Wales always obscured by cloud from England?

We stopped at the top to take a snack break and look at the scenery.

And to appreciate that we had made it to Dunkery Beacon!

The view was very pretty. Imagine what it must look like on a cloudless day!

The way home.

Oh and if you were wondering... yes, I passed.

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