The route is very easy to begin with. It is a narrow tarmac road which goes up to the striking sight of Avon Dam. We passed lots of people on this first section including families with young children because, while the scenery of green trees and babbling brook is beautiful, it is also perfectly surfaced for pushchairs! I was disappointed to also see evidence of irresponsible dog owners. Two had bagged their dog's poo and then left the bags lying around for 'someone else' to clear away and, despite several signs requsting dogs be kept on leads during lambing and nesting season, two-thirds of the dogs I saw were running loose.
We continued alongside the reservoir until it narrowed back to a stream and the ground became very boggy. Faced with a stone wall and gates, we knew we had to go straight ahead, but couldn't get to the gate for the bog. It later turned out that had we kept tight to the stream bank on our left we could have kept dry and hopped over a stile cunningly disguised in a fence section. Instead we aimed right where a brook tumbles down the hill, eventually managing to ford this a hundred yards or so uphill.
So brook and stream forded and boots still pretty much dry, we sallied forth up an old mining track - a gert. I could see the silhouettes of Petre's cross and another stone marker up on the hill directly ahead of us although our path curved to the right and then back around to circumvent the steep end of a small valley. Unfortunately just as we got near the crest this happened:
It's quite unnerving to be walking on a clear day one minute and to find yourself inside a cloud the next! Our route had a short out-and-back detour to Red Lake Quarry which we had already decided not to take, however right at this point we were struggling to see anything more than about ten yards away! Fortunately, with a combination of Ordnance Survey map, guide book and compass we located Petre's Cross.
|Eastern White Barrow|
We were never very lost and Dave was always confident of the direction in which we needed to head, if not the exact don't-they-all-look-similar track we needed to follow. It was easy to imagine though how people could get easily turned around and end up marching out into the middle of the moors, not realising their mistake until too late. The experience was a tad scary for a while!
|Small boyfriend on a big moor|