Tuesday, 9 November 2010

pixie powder plodge

Time to get round my south 20 mile loop on a day of sunshine and showers. My north run was fuelled by Morrison's trail mix with a dash of salt which worked OK so I thought I'd experiment with some SIS powders I'd had lying around for a bit.

Starting from the High Moorland Visitors' Centre in Princetown it was off for a warm up down the motorway to Nun's Cross Farm and round to the Scout Hut. The track to the ford was much improved being used as access to the Warhorse set at Ditsworthy Warren.

After recent rain the Plym was a bit lively and while I stood weighing up the pros and cons of a crossing Spook the Wonder Dog took the plunge, hauling himself out 20 yards downstream. He didn't fancy doing the return journey so I ran upstream to cross at a more sensible spot as he followed me on the opposite bank.

Excitment over, and me still being dry from the waist up, we headed up the Shavercombe on to Shell Top and half ran - half swam to Broad Rock. Dropping down to the Black Lane Brook I mixed a packet of pixie powder (or PSP22 as it said on the sachet) with fresh, sweet, peaty Dartmoor water, drank half and headed up to Green Hill. Skirting Fishlake Mire and on to Naker's Hill with its collection of ponds it was time for the slog up to Ryder's Hill. Always heavy going from this angle, the semi-solid ground sucked at my feet as the tussock grass grabbed my ankles. Spook, as usual flowed effortlessly over it, wondering what all the fuss was about.

Down to Wellaby Gulf it was west to Skir Gut, Terrill Posts, Sunshine Valley, Fox Tor and back to the track at Nun's Cross Farm via Headless Cross.

Two sachets of PSP22 seemed about right - I could feel a definite kick after about 10mins which only gradually tailed off and it didn't taste too bad either. South loop completed in four and a half hours, more or less the same time as for the north loop.

In the midst of a pixie powder-induced sugar rush I got to wondering about neuro-linguistic programming (as you do). If the small and delicate Dartmoor is continually referred to as a barren wilderness (sometimes by those who should know better), then that's what it will become. Before we know where we are the armed forces will be closing huge areas to the public, leaving skip loads of blank rounds and paralume cylinders and driving tracked vehicles across it (because it's hostile as well. And vast.). Then this practice will continue largely unchallenged despite its questionable value and the status of Dartmoor as a National Park. Mark my words.

Oh, and don't get me started on folk who call Bronze Age people 'our ancestors'

Wonder what the use-by date was on the pixie powder..........


  1. good rant mate! not forgetting that our 'ancestors' (Ugg Fox et al) roamed dartmoor (as it was known then too!), under a lush (depending on the season - all of which were unbelievably harsh back then)canopy of stunted / dwarf oaks and other deciduous trees - makes you wonder about the 'ancient / victirian stone row alignments if they were nesteld in clearing in the forests...? Still cracking run - well done =)

  2. ps pixie powder lasts forever unless touched by iron - apparently.

  3. Next will be the 'standing stones and stone rows are ritual/spiritual sites'. No evidence for this at all!

  4. 'standing stones and stone rows are ritual/spiritual sites'...of our Bronze Age ancestors.


    now off for a mince round tracks of Torri following the ley lines (don't get me started..!)

  5. careful - you'll be 'connecting with the landscape' next

  6. Sound like a good run...... till you had a sugar rush!
    I'm always amazed at how dogs can keep going, where as we need gels, pies and cake just to get out of the door!

  7. Don't diss 'Wilderness'. The term Jungle sounded dangerous and formiddable and was replaced by 'Rainforest' to make it seem more worthy of support. Dartmoor is more likely to lose its National Park status because no-one officially classes it as Wilderness - but just as rolling Devon hills!

  8. Heh, and leave my ancestors out of this... :D

  9. But it isn't wilderness. Or hostile. or barren. My back garden has had less human attention than Dartmoor and it is this unique palimpsest which sets the moor apart and will ensure its National Park status.

  10. or could be termed horizontally challenged wetland area..?

  11. Hi Stu - yeah, they're amazing things, dogs. Must look at us sometimes and wonder what the hell we're doing.