Page 35

running

MICRO TEN TORS Words & Pictures by Tobias Mews

A

ccording to perceived ‘adventure wisdom,’ there are three types of fun. Type 1 is adrenaline-fuelled cardinal pleasure — both during and afterwards when reminiscing in the pub. It can be found whilst tubing down a crystal clear river, catching an amazing wave, carving up fresh powder on the ski slopes, etc. Type 2, on the other hand, is an adventure that’s more often than not, only fun upon reflection. And Type 3 is never fun. Not during, not afterwards. Not even when you look back years later. Until recently, and perhaps this is thanks to my military past and a number of wet mountain marathons, almost every experience I’ve had on Dartmoor has been of the Type 2 fun, occasionally dipping into Type 3. So, it was for this reason that I drove into Dartmoor National Park early one morning last December, peering with some trepidation into the ever-familiar fog that Dartmoor is famous for. Over the course of about two weeks and accompanied by outdoor photographer and filmmaker, Dave MacFarlane, I was visiting all fifteen of Britain’s National Parks in what I called, my Great British MINI Adventure. It wasn’t enough to just ‘visit’ them in winter, I wanted us to do a micro adventure in each - something testing yet fun. Which is why we chose to do a ‘Micro Ten Tors Challenge’ - a sort of homage to the ever popular challenge undertaken by school children and organised by the Army. Armed with a map, compass, and the company of Olympic Silver Medallist and Modern Pentathlete, Heather Fell, we set off in search of our first Tor. ‘How long do think it will take?’ Heather asked as we bounded across the boggy ground towards Rippon Tor. The ‘Micro Ten Tors’ route I’d chosen was about 10 miles in length and entered around Haytor Down. But add in the fog and a bit of faffage time for photographs, I figured it shouldn’t take us more than a couple of hours. Perhaps wishful thinking. As a professional adventure journalist, I have spent an inordinate amount of time outside of my comfort zone for two simple reasons: it makes a better story and I like to push myself to the limits. Luckily, the silver lining in my pain-riddled cloud is

that I’m almost always in a stunning location as I’m a firm believer in the motto, ’If I’m going to suffer, please God let it be somewhere beautiful.’ Well, Dartmoor fits the bill perfectly. I once heard Sir Ranulph Fiennes say that he goes on expeditions in the same way that estate agents sell houses - in order to pay the bills. Although I would never compare myself to ‘Britain’s greatest living Explorer’, I can certainly empathise with him. I enter races and events which I then write about for magazines and newspapers or in my books. It is how I pay the bills. Except, this isn’t just a job. It’s my passion and I do it with pleasure, even if it’s hard. But on this occasion, perhaps my first in Dartmoor, grimace turned to grin, as I bounced between the Tors with Jack Russell-like enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, freezing cold or beaming sunshine, the simple act of running is what drives the smile on my face. And to be able to share the experience with friends — like the joy in accidentally finding a letterbox or stumbling up to one’s waste in a bog — that’s what makes it all worthwhile. Perhaps there should be a Type 1.5 category of fun — it’s fun whilst doing it and even more fun to talk about afterwards in the pub. Tobias’s book, 50 Races to Run Before You Die, published by Aurum Press, is out on March 3rd 2016 and available on Amazon or in most good bookshops. You can read more of his work on www.hardastrails.com or at www.tobiasmews.com n

activedartmoor.co.uk 35

Profile for Edgemoor Design

Active Dartmoor issue 12  

Active Dartmoor - live your life to the full outdoors

Active Dartmoor issue 12  

Active Dartmoor - live your life to the full outdoors

Advertisement