Having been busy at the sewing machine recently the end results needed a decent shakedown ride so a riding buddy and I decided to take the published Two Moors bikepacking route and turn it into a Three Moors adventure by riding home via Bodmin Moor as well. Exmoor in particular is a terrific place for working out any kinks in gear with fast, rocky descents littered with baby-head sized boulders, tight and twisty singletrack, technical climbs and fast, flowing moorland tracks.. not to mention some hike-a-biking. We left Minehead in Somerset on Thursday afternoon and covered 229km of relentlessly steep terrain, climbing 4517m, over 2 1/2 days. Our route took us through wonderfully quiet parts of Devon and Cornwall in particular that I have never visited, and that seem to be filled only with friendly people. A thoroughly excellent mini-adventure so rather than waffle further… pictures.. and then I can go and scrape sun-hardened sheep-shit off my bike… and have a snooze.
Dunkery Beacon, the high point of Exmoor at 519m. Mist meant no views this time unfortunately.
Exmoor has a wonderfully ‘wrinkled’ landscape of high, windswept moors and steep, lush, wooded valleys.
Wonderful clapper bridge.
I love these little foot/horse bridges hidden away in the steep river valleys.
Found a wonderfully green spot to spend Thursday night. Tucked away in a quiet woodland glen with nothing but birdsong and the gentle tinkling of a stream to break the silence. I could happily have sat on my arse there all day Friday just drinking coffee and reading.
Plenty of seating all with a wonderfully comfy coating of thick moss.
I should probably retire this bottle at some point but it has become so ‘storied’ I find myself unable to do so. I bought it on a climbing trip in Chamonix 18 years ago and it has been pretty much everywhere since. This time it was doing duty as a brandy carrier… no point in suffering camp hardship after all.
The moor tops on Friday morning were blanketed in a thick, wet mist.
Conditions cleared somewhat once off Exmoor and crossing the bit in between Exmoor and Dartmoor. Peaceful trails…
.. and some tiny, traffic free lanes.. all in their early summer plumage of bright green.
The church at Chumleigh.
There is a terrific little village shop at Spreyton with fresh baked bread and a super friendly proprietor.
Dartmoor, and another terrific spot to spend the night.
We went a little off-route on Dartmoor in search of a spot the lady at Spreyton shop told us about…
.. which looked like this. Well worth the detour. Met a friendly hiker out for the weekend just as he was cooking bacon for breakfast. Yum.
Trees of Dartmoor
Leaving Dartmoor on a fast, stony path that wound its way around the western flanks of the moor…..
.. and then some almost non-existent bridlepath headed in the general direction of Tavistock.
..where we hooked into a network of traffic-free byways and backroads for the journey to Bodmin Moor, crossing the Tamar back into Cornwall at Horsebridge.
Ace signpost on Bodmin Moor.
My bike. I wanted to test the big roll-top rack-top bag at the rear as well as the dry bag harness and camera bag at the front. I’ll make a frame bag for it too when the old Alpkit one finally dies. I made one already for my Brother Big Bro so I know how not to fuck it up now…. I took along the big under down-tube bottle because, although not strictly necessary for this trip, having it there to fill up from a handy water source towards the end of a day removes the imperative to find a campsite near a stream.