An Idiot Celebrates
After a roast feast, thinking of Solstice resolutions, put Dog in the back of the old red car, drive to the car park at Feather Tor. We are heading out, just Dog and I, to that intriguing stack but it's past mid-afternoon on the shortest day and that is not the easiest route without a torch. I have my phone for a torch and emergency contact. I have misplaced my gloves, and though the rest of me is adequately togged, this is a sign of poor boding. We change tack, head up Cox Tor instead. It has a nice clear path up and down, level with the car park. At the top the wind is impressive. Stop to take a picture, holding on to the vantage point and my phone: my camera, my torch, my emergency contact; is almost whipped from my fingers. Uh oh. I decide it will be easier to descend shielded, and cross back to the easy path: which at this height on the tor is also easy to miss, especially if it has been raining and the terrain is boggy, slippery, littered in pointy rocks and a person is hurried because dark and mist are blowing in. When I remember to take bearings the car park is not in sight. The wind still blows into my face, Tavistock lights, twinkling for Christmas, are down to the right, therefore this should be the correct side of the tor to be on, roadside, not moorside. Squint and just about make out what could be the intriguing Feather stack… or am I seeing what I want to see… It's rather dim, and boggy. What now? Glaring in the last light is the skeletal remains of an adult pony. Dog gives a femur an appreciative lick. I like her pragmatism. One cannot fret if one is jollied up. A few more brave steps and a dark line suggests a path and the shine on the surface says tarmac. Aha! Civilisation is reached. It's mapped, all we need is a clue. A cattle grid and a signpost: two clues! I phone Boy, our navigation expert. 'Cattle grid? Between Princetown and Tavi? Is there a steep hill? Turn left. You'll reach another cattle grid. If you do, that's where the car park is.' I have a conversation with Dog about how the whole point of going up Cox Tor was to come down the same way, and how rude of her not to remind me, though I did appreciate her company and what do you know, there were three clues not two, the incline of the hill included. We reach the other cattle grid. I can see a lone car shape waiting, am fiddling for the key when the storm breaks. Spontaneity can make an idiot of you, and if you survive you get wise. Also, you decide to get a proper torch. And stick to the route plan.