The Return of Pub Dog

A brief description on how you were bitten by the letterbox bug

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Adam Ant
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:07 pm
Location: Teignmouth, Devon

The Return of Pub Dog

#1 Post by Adam Ant » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:56 pm

I started letterboxing with my parents back in the late 80s/early 90s. Back then we had to try and find the first 100 boxes without clues and, although my dad had a friend who did quite a lot of letterboxing, we still found it incredibly hard.

However, one of our initial trips around Haytor and Smallacombe Rocks is cemented in my memory forever. Searching for a specific box (a Hagar box? Lost Helga or something?), I vividly remember my dad climbing up some scree in or near to a quarry at Smallacombe Rocks. I remember thinking that it looked incredibly dangerous and, as I was only about 8 or 9, he really shouldn't be doing it at his age. However, after removing rock after rock after rock, he finally came up for air brandishing the soon-to-be-familiar sight of a brown ammo box. Upon opening, we found that this wasn't the box that we'd been looking for, but was Pub Dog, a beautifully handcrafted stamp that I remember to this day.

Needless to say, we were instantly hooked on finding this and went on to find many thousands of boxes over the next few years under our new super-hero names of Happy Hikers (my parents) and Adam Ant (that's me).

The story moves forward many years to 2011 with me and my girlfriend going for a walk from Hound Tor, past Grea Tor Rocks and over the valley to Smallacombe and Holwell Tor. Whilst talking to Michelle about letterboxing, I chanced upon a rusty ammo box poorly hidden in a massive crack between two rocks. Remarking that our first box had been in a container like this one, imagine my surprise when, upon opening, there sat that same beautifully handcrafted stamp that we had found over 20 years before. Looking through the yellowed and dog-eared book (apologies for the pun), I found our message: Our first box. October 1988 (or 1989?) Dave and Adam Horne. I have to admit that it brought a smile to my face as I remembered how difficult this box was to find the first time and how easy it had been to rediscover.

Suffice to say that I was addicted once again. Fortunately, my girlfriend was as excited as me! I've now dusted off my letterboxing gear (I've still got the same box, pen, compass and stamp) and got a new partner (Milty on the Moor). In our first year we're up to 400+ and, although I'm out of action for a few months (foot surgery), we are going to get to 500 by the end of the Summer. We've even managed to start putting out a few boxes of our own.

It's great to be back.
Adam Ant and Milty on the Moor

The Wandering Artist
Posts: 259
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:13 am

The Return of Pub Dog

#2 Post by The Wandering Artist » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:33 pm

What a really refreshing story about letterboxing. It does in some way fully express that 'feeling' which us older boxers have had for all these years of boxing. It gets into your blood and very rarely have I heard of someone leaving it without regret. Dartmoor is what it is all about as I see it - and the home of Letterboxing
Wish you both all the very best for future boxing, and any little boxers that may come about!

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