Friday, 18 May 2012

Coast and Moor 2012 - Idea & Route

2012 is a transition year for me. A transition from my 9-5 job, a mortgage and a car to basically a hill bum! My original plan had me heading over to New Zealand in October to hike the Te Araroa, but that was being optimistic about how long it would take to clear my life. I still have lots to do this year so my first real hike, of my new life, will now be the PCT next year. 

Fortunately I still have a month or two available! Starting after Phil Turners wedding, at the end of September, I shall be hiking my Coast and Moor route which combines the South West Coast Path (SWCP) with a crossing of Exmoor and Dartmoor. I hiked half the SWCP on my Land's End John o'Groats hike in 2000 and loved it. Its taken 12 years to find the time to return. Exmoor and particularly Dartmoor have always intrigued me so now's the ideal time to explore that area.

The route is between 1189 and 1305km and has a height gain of somewhere between 33569 and 42211m depending on if you believe Quo or Social Hiking. The stats are largely irrelevant really but the SWCP should not be underestimated. While it never gets high it is what I would call an "undulating" trail, constantly climbing and descending from bay to bay. The SWCP starts at Poole Harbour in Dorset and winds its way for over 1000km through some of the best coastal scenery in the UK to Minehead in Somerset.

From Minehead my route through Exmoor uses the Macmillian Way and the Two Moors Way and takes in the peaks of Periton Hill and Dunkery Beacon.

Dartmoor was a little tougher and I must thank Tony Hobbs for his advice on route choice. Dartmoor is often used by the British Military for training operations and at that time is closed to hikers. The obvious, and easy, choice was to stick with the Two Moors Way which would always remain open, but that route skirts around the edge of Dartmoor. I want to go straight down the middle and take in as many peaks as possible. It's too early to say at the moment if I will be able to take my first choice route but should Dartmoor be closed then I would still be able to use my backup plan of the Two Moors Way. From there it's onto the finish in Ivybridge, near Plymouth, sometime in November.

As always you will be able to track my hike over on Social Hiking or on my Tracking page here.