On the 6th of March – I received a communication from our Great Leader Old Bean – that he was planning a walk from Princetown to Meavy via Sheepstor – for Saturday the 8th March – and the weather promised to be fair; “No excuses.” was his dictate! It is a favourite route for the Beanies – not just because of the beautiful scenery – or because alot of the route is downhill and on the level – but because there is a rather nice watering hole at the half-way point too, The Royal Oak Inn – at Meavy. The partaking of hot, bacon baguettes, oozing with melted brie and cranberries, has become somewhat of a Beanie tradition.
En route, I always enjoy a quieter moment for reflection; at Saint Leonard’s Church in Sheepstor…
– and Saint Peter’s Church in Meavy…
It is a circular walk, starting and finishing at Princetown, that offers everything to a Dartmoor wayfarer; spiritual enlightenment, views that feed the soul – and wholesome pub grub to boot!
It was definitely time to christen my new boots – and rendezvous for 10 am at Princetown carpark – no excuses needed; wild horses couldn’t have kept me away!
It was one of those rare days when conditions were absolutely perfect – the fresh, Dartmoor air was so clear that one could almost drink it. With the warm Spring sunshine and just a whisper of a breeze – we headed off over the Moor – with the huge fin-shape of Sheeps Tor in our collective sight.
How it gladdened the hearts of five winter-weary Beans – who had longed for this moment to emerge together – out into the light. Old Bean was very pleased with the turnout apparently almost twenty-five percent of his group – plus a dog – and a slow-worm!
We found Brother Slow-worm on a ‘busy’ thoroughfare above Burrator Reservoir – camouflaged by twigs and leaves – and dust, it was lucky we didn’t unintentionally tread on it!
Such a beautiful, gentle creature; who’d emerged to take in the rays too – after the long, wet Winter that was…
Along the way, we passed various groups of youngsters training for the Ten Tors – and other people of all ages – exploring and enjoying Dartmoor’s wide open space too. Being able to experience the Moor on such a fine day – really did make my heart sing like a skylark on the wing.
For me – the first Beanie get-together of 2014 – had been a complete tonic; equally refreshing – was my mug of strong, hot brew served up at the Royal Oak Inn at Meavy. I tend to ‘march’ better on a relatively empty stomach – so just tea for me – coupled with the fortifying strength of the occasional Jakemans en route! However, the others would probably compare the first walk of the season – to sinking their teeth into a ‘Royal Oak’ bacon and brie baguette; very gratifying until next time…
Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, it always seems that extra effort is required to wake up early on a day off – and get out of a nice, warm comfortable bed – and head-off to the relatively cold, unforgiving Moor – with an hour’s drive just to get to the start point! I’m so glad I did though; I couldn’t have spent a more enjoyable Saturday anywhere else, and in such easy-going company.
So remember fellow Beanies – ‘Carpe Diem’! Old Bean is expecting at least a fifty-percent turnout next time; hibernation has officially ended – and Brother Anguis Fragilis agrees.