Dartmoor to Exmoor Trail-running Road Trip

Retracing my steps from LEJOG. I remember stopping for a coffee here one evening before the final 15 miles to Exeter.

Retracing my steps from LEJOG. I remember stopping for a coffee here one evening before the final 15 miles to Exeter.

This weekend I was at a best mate’s wedding, down in Exeter; an event I certainly wasn’t going to miss after all the great times from our school years. It would have cost a small fortune to travel by train, and flying wouldn’t have been a lot cheaper. In the end, I elected to rent a car. The beauty of renting a car is that it can double up as accommodation if you’re not too bothered about a comfortable nights sleep, so when I woke up at 6:30am in the middle of Dartmoor, along the very road I ran up earlier in the year for LEJOG, it seemed remiss of me if I didn’t go out for a run on the moors again, in a county that happened to very good to me.

I see what you did there.

I see what you did there.

Not many people about.

Not many people about.

No rain on this rare morning.

No rain on this rare morning.

7am sun.

7am sun.

Breakfast? ... No, better not.

Breakfast? … No, better not.

Which way to run?

Which way to run?

Off the moors and into the forest then.

Off the moors and into the forest then.

Autumn.

Autumn.

Tall trees.

Tall trees.

View to my left.

View to my left.

View down the hill.

View down the hill.

Tried to get the deer in the photo, but they were too quick.

Tried to get the deer in the photo, but they were too quick.

Back out onto the track.

Back out onto the track.

This one is in black and white for art purposes.

This one is in black and white for art purposes.

Sheep getting in the way.

Sheep getting in the way.

I'm getting sleepy for some reason.

I’m getting sleepy for some reason.

Unbelievable morning for a November.

Unbelievable morning for a November.

Right, back to the car!

Right, back to the car!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back when I was running Lands End to John O’Groats in March, I ran through Dartmoor in one day, which was great because I was on a schedule, but I always said that if I ever found myself back there, I would go for a run and take in the scenery a bit more.

More to the point, I remember so clearly that time I got to Exeter in an exhausted, disheveled state; having ran the best part of 60 miles that day with a heavy rucksack. I knocked at the door of my friend’s Mark and Lindsay’s house; equipped with the brilliant one-liner of “sorry I’m late” having arrived 11 minutes after my estimated time of arrival, calculated the night before in the Saltash Service Station Burger King in Cornwall. I was treated with food, great company and a bed for the night; something I am eternally grateful for and won’t forget. I was absolutely thrilled when I heard they were getting married and it was well worth the trip for that alone; the expense of the travel was irrelevant.

Have you ever tried to stay sober at a wedding reception?! It’s really difficult!

Surrounded by good friends, slowly slipping into a further state of intoxicated madness and stupor; throwing themselves shamelessly around on the dance floor, and conversations leaning against the bar descending swiftly into gibberish. I was madly jealous.

The end of the evening came, and despite my moaning, I had a brilliant time. I was as shameless on the dance floor as anybody else there and it was great to see Mark and Lindsay having such a good time. I said my goodbyes after being congratulated on my rare responsible behaviour by everyone and got in the car and drove up to Exmoor.

Another terrific night’s sleep, curled up in the back seat. I woke up and immediately my reward for staying sober was clear. I road-tripped all the way up Exmoor and finally stopped at Minehead for a late breakfast.

Fueled up on full English, I could hear the coastal trails calling me, and it’s not often I ignore these voices:

Countryside in Mortonhampstead.

Countryside in Mortonhampstead.

Minehead.

Minehead.

Minehead harbour.

Minehead harbour.

Coastal trail.

Coastal trail.

Perfect Autumn running.

Perfect Autumn running.

Not flat.

Not flat.

Looking down at the sea.

Looking down at the sea.

Became a beach run, but not a normal one.

Became a beach run, but not a normal one.

Little bit of technical running from this point.

Little bit of technical running from this point.

How did I get up here? Essentially scrambling at this point.

How did I get up here? Essentially scrambling at this point.

Turning round to head back.

Turning round to head back.

Got this to my right, the sea to my left.

Got this to my right, the sea to my left.

And this ends a great weekend of celebration and trail running.

And this ends a great weekend of celebration and trail running.

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