We used compass bearings throughout the expedition and they were an integral part of the navigation procedure. We all knew how to take compass bearings so we all did them as the accuracy of seven people is greater than that of one person.
Walking across Exmoor was difficult, especially following a path that me were creating, as the track marked on the map was not well trodden. On Saturday, walking across Exmoor we walked for short periods of about 200 m then stopped to renew our bearing so if we went off course it wouldn't (theoretically] be so far off.
We also took compass bearings to check paths if they were well trodden or marked, because they could have been really new or unmarked tracks (especially in the woods). The single incidence where we all got contrasting bearings repeatedly was when we eventually all realised we were standing next to a live electric fence. We moved away and the bearings became the same, as the compass magnets weren't affected any longer by the electricity in the fence.
"According to my compass,
we should go this way."
when we set off it was really hot, warm enough for T-shirts, and it remained as hot, although it clouded over and became overcast, when we arrived at the first campsite and about half an hour later it got quite dark and began to rain steadily. This rain continued through the night, but thankfully the morning was dry.
On Saturday, there were a few spots of rain at various times in the day, and it was generally overcast but not cold, and there were two heavy, five-minute rain showers. The first was when we were in the middle of Exmoor at about 11:30 am, the second was at approximately 3:30 pm just after we had reached the second campsite and pitched our tent.
Sunday, was a really gorgeous day, with glorious sun and warmth the whole time, apart from the rain that descended on us just literally as we arrived at our last meeting place. Unfortunately we had to then walk 1 km up a hill so some people who were formerly completely dry then became wet.
The joke of the weekend was "A man walks into a bar and says Ouch!!' Ha Ha Ha
We played as if we were very little kids, who have never been to a big park before, when we got to a really big meadow of grass. We rolled around, laughed, jumped, ran and did handstands and cartwheels. It was such fun.
Another event that happened was right at the end of our walk when James went off with a big dark cloud over his head and left us.
Another funny thing, Ruth and Beth
woke up to find themselves looking like chickens, because Beth's sleeping bag
is deteriorating very badly.
Sometimes on our walk we would arrive 10 minutes late, particularly because the group walked really slowly, especially Simon and Matt, or when we stopped too many times for breaks. But on the other times we would arrive early at checkpoints or at the campsites mostly due to excitement to finish before the second group and feeling the emotion of finishing the walk as soon as possible. But most of the time we arrived on time at the various check points.
At one point we went horribly wrong well not really horribly wrong, but off course. Instead of going away from a farm (Hill Farm) we came to it. So what we did was found another path after realising exactly where we were and it took, which brought us back to the chosen path. From this we learned not to rely upon one person only and to keep checking that we were going the right way.
On Saturday we met up with Mrs. Phillips who was our assessor, which was not a problem. We set up camp straight away and tidied our things up for inspection.
The reason we chose to do group emotion as our purpose was because we knew that in our group we had a variety of emotions and everybody handled them differently. E.g. everybody got on well with each other except when one of them [James] would break that bond, making everything turn into a pear shape.
All the land hereabouts was formerly the property of the kings and queens of England. Since Saxon times it was part of the Royal forest of Exmoor. This was not a forest of trees (there have been few trees here since the primeval forest was cleared thousands of years ago) but open moorland, used for further grazing, used for further grazing, harvesting and at warren, rabbit breeding.
The Crown sold the land to John Knight in 1818. The farmlands were let to tenants who were required to reclaim the surrounding moorland, a challenge which financially ruined the tenants at Tom's Hill Larkbarrow.
Larkbarrow farmhouse survives as
residence until World War 2, when the area became an artillery range for allied
troops and the buildings were destroyed. Larkbarrow was acquired for the national
Park Authority in 1981 and Warren in 1982 so to protect the natural beauty of
the area, public enjoyment.
On the moors we saw many varieties of heather, gorse and fern and bracken. All these colours were colouring it in all different browns and dark greens.
This Foxglove was hidden away under the carpets of bracken and trees.
Did you know that bracken can be told apart from fern from the difference in the way bracken branches out of the plant?
There were many different types of animals some of which we didn't see but read about who lived on the moors. We saw many different beetles plus flies (too many midges) and some farmyard animals like the Friesian cows.
We saw two dogs at the Doone Valley campsite and of course Toby's dog, Barley!
In the distance as we were approaching Exford we saw a few birds of prey such as the red kites. We saw many other birds whichwere nesting in the heather but we couldn't identify their species as they flew away too quickly.
We saw a dung beetle carrying sheep dung probably a few times bigger than itself.