Solstice Sunrise

Placing a marker in time                                                                                                           by Belinda Dixon

On Monday, a bunch of us hiked into the heart of Dartmoor.

walktoredlakeIt was a 5-mile trek, in defiance of the (very) wet weather to meet with fellow (as yet unknown) adventurers.

The aim? To wild swim a Dartmoor lake by the light of the full moon. To wild camp. And then to watch the solstice sun rise.

To cut (many) long stories short, we arrived from different directions. There was a lot of trudging and crossing rivers and getting wet boots. There were doubts and uncertainties and displays of sheer guts to arrive.

redlakeBut we gathered, beside Red Lake (turned pink by the sunset); chatted, shared food and made new friends.


We swam in that chilly, velvety lake that cloudy night. Some wild camped, some bivvied (despite the whopping slugs). Then we climbed the Red Lake mound to watch the dawn.

So why did we do this? It was a Monday night, after a rainy 48 hours. And England were playing in the footy.

sunrisewatchersWe did it because we could. Perhaps to place a marker in time.

So that when the seasons change and the year shifts gear, we can remember the night we walked deep into the moor, to swim by the light of the full moon and watch the solstice sun rise.
And remember that then we packed up, hiked back, and were back home or at work desks by 10am.
And that is some Monday night 😉
solsticesunriseThis adventure was the brainchild of the incomparable Chris Popham; see his Devon Wild Swmining Map here
If you want to wild camp on Dartmoor, there are some strict but simple rules to follow. They’re listed here, along with a map of wild camping areas. Visit Dartmoor is a superb source of information about the moor.

Published by Belinda Dixon

I'm a travel & adventure writer (Lonely Planet), broadcaster (BBC Radio Devon & BBC Guernsey) and the British Exploring Society's media Leader on its 2016 Himalaya expedition. I write a blog that aims to inspire adventures; deliver inspiring training and record and edit powerful oral history archives.

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