After a week which saw floods across the Country, Devon being no exception, 22 walkers anticipated a soaking as we met at Hound Tor car park for our annual walk to remember the fallen and visit the RAF Memorial Stone on Hameldown, Hilary once again leading this annual pilgrimage.
A chilly start but it remained dry and from lunchtime onwards the skies cleared and the sun appeared, bathing the moor with sharp sunlight and showcasing the tors and distant hills in their autumn hues.
We set off towards Jays Grave for our usual photo stop and Karen reminded all of the tale of poor Kitty Jay who took her own life and was placed here at the crossroads. There were fresh flowers as always and some momentos and coins.
The lane to Natsworthy was reasonable to traverse, having been laid with gravel by the DNP. We recalled it being so bad in years past it was almost unpassable. A brief tea break at Natsworthy before the climb to the memorial stone where we arrived just in time for the 11am minute’s silence. John Lowe was there as always, author of ‘The Boys’ the tale of the Hampden Bomber that crashed here. He read a list of airmen who had lost their lives in crashes on the moor. A moment to think now of those who gave their future for ours. Mike J also said a word and Mandy read Rupert Brooke’s ‘The Soldier’.
Onwards now across Hameldown, stopping at Broad Barrow and Two Barrows, ancient burial mounds, as the grey skies parted on our way to Widecombe. Anti-Glider posts still in evidence on this part of the moor, erected to prevent Nazi Gliders landing. Records tell us the remaining posts are merely matchsticks compared to their younger day and it would have taken considerable time and effort to place them.
Lunch in the sunshine beneath the chestnut tree – what better. Widecombe welcomed us today as the cafe was open. The challenge of Bonehill and the well known climb lay ahead and was taken at a steady pace, as always. A breather at the top and time for a group photo.
Hilary decided the day was so enjoyable, she didn’t want it to end too soon, so a diversion was added to take us across Emsworthy Mire. Clue in the name. A challenge indeed but all survived the crossing and beaming with self-satisfaction we crossed Becka Brook and climbed up to Hound Tor again. A pause to enjoy the splendor of the view here, over to Hay Tor, Smallcombe Rocks, Black Hill and Greator Rocks lay before us like a gift-shop postcard. Blessed indeed.
Tea and cakes at Ullacome Farm Shop were welcome as over 9 miles completed and another excellent Remembrance Day walk enjoyed by all. Thank you Hilary.