Ice climbing at Kinder Downfall
They say only in a blue moon does Kinder Downfall freeze enough to turn from what is normally a picturesque waterfall into the Peak District's premier ice climbing venue.
24 hours might not sound like much time. But when spent outdoors, time seems to roll a bit differently - you can sufficiently top up your rechargeable odometer without feeling like you need a recovery holiday when you get home!
So one sunny afternoon in June, I headed to Dartmoor, to meet up with a couple of fellow Adventure Queens, for 24 hours of exploring!
Dartmoor National Park, in the south-west, is the only place in England where, like Scotland, the right to roam is allowed. And encouraged. Its vast moorland is dotted with forests, rivers, wetlands and tors so it has outdoor heaven firmly stamped all over it!
Here’s the lowdown on what we got up to in 24 hours (yep, promise it can be done!).
Jumped on a train from London to Exeter St David’s and met Sal there, before driving south. If a couple of you are going from London then hire a car (check out peer-to-peer schemes which can be cheaper and more flexible for weekend pick up/drop-off).
From Exeter, we drove to Holne and met Nikki in the village hall carpark (bonus - free parking!).
We ditched the cars, and after a short walk through the fields, came to Horseshoe Falls on the River Dart for a spot of refreshing wild swimming (download OS maps, OL28, for this one). There’s even a perfect rock for sun-bathing so take your sunscreen and be careful of the moss as you get in.Continue upstream if time for more wild wood wanderings and a long stretch of the river with more pools and cascades, or downstream at Wellsfoot Island, a secluded spot but Holne Cliff, is a red sandy beach.
For dinner, we headed around to The Tavistock Inn for one of their scrummy steaks. They have three different garden areas so perfect for some al fresco dining!
With satisfied tums, we drove to Bonehill and parked the cars just by the rocks (we didn’t have any issues leaving them overnight).
We found a wild camping spot by the rocks, with some protection from any wind and climbed up the rocks for a cuppa (wine or tea - your choice!) and dessert, watching the sunset over Dartmoor.
We explored around Bonehill, doing a bit of very beginner style climbing. If you’re a climbing fan, enjoy!
After a scrummy BYO breakie, we drove down to Haytor and walked around the surrounding area. Dartmoor has trails galore so choice paradox is the only challenge here!
It was time for everyone to start heading back so Sal dropped me back at the train station, and I was back in London by early evening.
In just 24 hours, we rambled through fields and moorland, had a refreshing wild swim in the River Dart, feasted like queens, marvelled at the magical colours of the sun-setting over Dartmoor and slept under the stars.
I got home feeling re-charged from time well spent and time spent in the outdoors.