Last Saturday, the rain held off, just about, and 9 intrepid walkers set out from Harford Moor Gate. We decided to do the walk in reverse, keeping to the river valley first and returning along the high tops in the hope that the cloud would lift to afford us the promised views. The rain of the previous few days rendered the outing more adventurous than planned with plenty of surface water to negotiate. The first obstacle was a swollen stream which Julia fell foul of and needed to empty her boots and wring out socks. The rest of her was pretty wet too but she was undaunted!

 

Peter assisting Julia with sock wringing

Peter assisting Julia with sock wringing. Photo: Val barns

On reaching the river, it was very swollen but had not come over its banks, a very impressive torrent.

 

River Erme in spate.  Photo: Val Barns

River Erme in spate. Photo: Val Barns

There were still a few more obstacles but gradually the going got easier and became a pleasant walk through the woods beside the river …..

 

A fallen tree to be negotiated.  Photo: Val Barns

A fallen tree to be negotiated. Photo: Val Barns

The path passed under the railway viaduct taking the main line from Plymouth. Built in 1893, it replaces an earlier one designed by Brunel for his broad gauged line. The old piers are still standing beside the new.

 

The Stowford Viaduct showing the old piers beside the new.  Photo: Sylvia Hamilton

The Stowford Viaduct showing the old piers beside the new. Photo: Sylvia Hamilton

 

Crossing the Erme in Ivybridge, our route took us up past the historic paper mill, being redeveloped as housing and businesses, to the stone on Stowford Bridge marking the start of the Two Moors way. The stone commemorates the opening of the long distance footpath on 29th May 1976. We followed the Way to the moor gate before branching off to ascend Western Beacon. Our strategy had paid off, the clouds had lifted and allowed us to admire the extensive views from the top. Our way back took us across to Butterdon Hill and along the 2nd longest stone row on the moor before dropping down to our parking place. I think we were all left with a sense of achievement at having completed the walk undeterred by the challenging conditions underfoot!

 

 

Group on top of Butterdon Hill.  Photo:  Val Barns

Group on top of Butterdon Hill. Photo: Val Barns