Steeperton Microadventure Wild Camp
Many years ago I read a blog written by Alastair Humphreys on microadventures. [Edit, everyone should read his book on Microadventures] He was partly responsible for me returning to the outdoors and getting back into wild camping again after too many years away. Robin, another keen Dartmoor wild camping nut, agreed to meet me at Belstone last night for a quick up and back microadventure to Steeperton Tor.
Adventures don’t need to be big
Parking up at Belstone we made our way along the track that runs besides the River Taw beneath Belstone Common. We arrived at 7pm but both felt comfortable wandering up in the dusky light.
I was instantly jealous of Robin’s small pack. I had decided to take some home comforts (beer) even though I would be under a tarp and in a bivvy. He assured me that even though it was small, it was still heavy (dense) but I still think that made life easier on the techy climb up Steeperton gorge.
Getting away from it all
Steeperton, for me anyway, has a special remoteness. Standing proud in the middle of Oke Tor, Hangingstone Hill and looking up at High Willhays etc, it feels very wild and ‘miles away from everything’
With the clouds overhead starting to light up with the setting sun, I anxiously waited for Robin to filter some water. Shortly after this I was jogging up the steep face of the tor to catch the light. (It’s been a while since I last exerted myself like that!)
The photo above says it all for me. Robin looks so small surrounded by the landscape. This is why I do what I do. The feeling of separation from busy 9-5 work quickly drifts away in to insignificance when I’m on the moor.
I didn’t use a tripod once this weekend and it is starting to feel really liberating. I seem to have adopted much more of a reportage approach to photography as of late. I’m sure that I will still take it with me for those occasions that really demand it. The low light performance of Fuji cameras and my faster lenses give me huge amounts of freedom.
I love sleeping under a tarp during the summer. The ability to just peek an eyeball out and see what the stars/sky/light is doing at any time helps me to relax. Luckily there was a stiff breeze all night which kept the midges at bay, although the wind certainly picked up unexpectedly.
The morning presented us with fine weather to leisurely stroll back to the cars along the ridge. I snapped a very relics in Belstone as we walked.