The Ex-Chippy Pages

Silver Expedition to Exmoor

Who washed up and who cooked the meals?

The washing up was shared more or less equally between us: we all did our own cutlery and crockery and whoever had cooked the meal washed the trangia. Jenny did most of the cooking as she carried the trangia, but others did the cooking as well. Jenny does breakfasts particularly well, so she did Saturday and Sunday breakfasts. Lizzie did Friday evening including pudding and Ruth did Saturday evening including pudding and we all did our own lunches.





Who cleared the campsite, and did it need cleaning up?

The campsite was untidy as we packed up with food wrappers, chewing gum and matches on the ground. As everyone finished putting the tents down, members of the group who were ready looked for rubbish with a rubbish bag, luckily we could leave our rubbish in bins at the campsite.

What were conditions under foot like?

On the first day, the ground was dry until we reached the campsite. The soil was really red in some areas. As we walked up to Dunkery Beacon, the soil was really stony with loose soil but covered with lots of heather and gorse.

On Exmoor, the ground underfoot was littered with stony tracks and long tough clumps of grass. This made it quite difficult to walk on, especially walking on a compass bearing, as if you don't look at the ground it's very easy to fall over. The moor was wet after about 11:00am when it rained heavily for five minutes.

As we came off the moor it became easier terrain such as normal fallow meadow land and grass. On the third day we were walking along mostly grass and soil footpaths, then along a well worn path next to the river which was hard ground, luckily not muddy as it had not rained. The hardest terrain was probably on Exmoor.


Group morale
How did you keep this up?

"Na...Na...naaaah! Superwoman!! To the rescue!!!!"
Our group morale was generally high as we were not lost at any time, the weather conditions were good, and we all worked well together. To keep our morale up though whilst walking on easy parts of the walk that needed little or no navigating such as on roads, we sang songs and played word or noise games, we also waved at cars.

For off roads amusement we had both nonsensical and sensible conversation, as some members of the group didn't really know each other, and conversation is better than silence as it takes the mind off the tiredness and fatigue. To have silly conversations was almost refreshing as it didn't require a large amount of concentration. Apart from conversations, we played in a really nice meadow spontaneously to revive ourselves, and there were also some hilarious incidents involving electric fences.

Names of farms passed, villages passed, roads crossed etc.

Our starting place was Wooton Courtnay, a small village with a post office and a church. From there we went to off the road until we crossed one less than 4 m wide where we stopped for lunch on Friday on the way up to Dunkery Beacon. Dunkery Beacon was a cairn that was at the highest point of Exmoor at a height of 519m. From there we walked to Exford where we camped at Downscombe Farm. On the Saturday from Downscombe Farm we headed out of Exford towards Hill Farm. From there we were on Exmoor until we reached Oare, which has a famous church in it. Then we descended the hill to our second campsite. Cloud Farm.

From Cloud Farm on Sunday, we went past Lorna Doone Farm to Malsmead, then on the road to Leeford, a large village on a river, we followed the river until we came to Watersmeet, a National Trust Property, and our finishing point.

Team work

On our Expedition we got on surprisingly well compared to the practice walk. Every member of our group was willing to shift their weight to help others. James Shayler was particularly good with helping on the walk such as shutting gates after us and lifting planks of wood which had come out of place. (See below) Everyone was very good at the campsite helping to tidy up each other's mess, e.g.. Matt gave Ruth late at night my coat which was outside our tent so we wouldn't have been marked on our assesments that we were very untidy! Each morning of the expedition we helped and allowed others to help taking down tents and clearing up after breakfast.

We originally thought that this expedition would be very difficult mentally getting on with each other so we wanted to tie this on with our purpose of the group emotions, but as it happened we got on very well. There were a few blips where certain members wouldn't let the girls progress through gates but those incidents were so minor they are hardly worth mentioning.





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