February can have a reputation for some grim conditions especially when you are high up on the moors. However the forecast had clear skies and bright sunshine for a blissful week. I present early spring on Dartmoor.
Sometimes it makes for a more relaxing time knowing you have a balmy 17°C, clear skies along with a gentle breeze waiting for you. The weather was meant to be spectacular for at least most of the week and only later on would things turn bad. This mixture actually suited me well as it’s great to have a mixture of conditions.
Hiking up towards the northern moors and soon the temperature was so warm. Eventually getting too hot for my Páramo Velez Smock. Thus my first base layer hike of 2019 started happening in February! What a treat indeed to soak in warm sunlight and take in fresh air whilst surrounded by wide open space.
I was aiming to reach a valley with a reliable spring for my first night. I arrived as the sun was finally slipping below the tops. It was great to get out of the wind which had changed from a gentle breeze into something rather more abrasive. The evening sky was thick creamy brown and purple.
Shelter was in the more than capable MSR Access 1. Its sturdy design really comes in handy when pitched in exposed areas. Compared to my Akto it does not blow around in the wind as much and makes for a far more pleasant night on the hills.
Conditions in early spring on Dartmoor can still change rapidly and it wasn't until later in the week when things turned for the worse.