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Surprise encounter

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:12 pm
by Greenview
It must have been the in early 1980s when a royal marine neighbour and orienteering pal of mine suggested we should do a 2 day, camp out, north to south yomp across Dartmoor as training for a mountain marathon we had agreed to team up on later that year.

All was going well on the first day of our trail when in the middle of nowhere in the peat hags of Cut Hill I think it was, I spotted what appeared to be a green metal electrical box cover at eye level in a peat hag. We were obviously gob smacked seeing an electrical box so far from civilization? How come? Opening it revealed our first letterbox, though we didn’t know that’s what it was until some research on our return home.

So that was it both of us hooked and determined to get our 100 boxes with each of our respective families as quickly as we could so we could join the club. Clues were hard to come by in those days and we really relished any additional clues found in visitor’s books. We were fairly competitive in finding those first 100 but did share any clues we came across. It was great fun though and we went to so many wonderful remote areas that we wouldn’t have considered visiting. We learnt so much about the history and the legends from the likes of Crossings Guide so it was a wonderful experience and really enhanced our enjoyment of the moor. My kids who were small youngsters then went from reluctant “are we there yet” dawdlers to “can we see if we can find another one please” enthusiasts.

So in an attempt to put a little back we established The Snowdon Snowman
No 1533 on Xmas eve 1984. My son and I chose Snowdon on the south moor as there was an absence of boxes in that area. The nearest boxes I think being at Huntingdon Warren at that time. A wonderful area with beautiful views we have never regretted the choice and have been there in all weathers since that time but it is always a joy. The super Church House Inn in Holne is not too far away for refreshments either before or after too.

With the kids growing up and moving away and other interests taking over, trips to Dartmoor became less frequent over recent years and we hadn’t visited our box for a good while when my son spotted a request for information about the Snowdon Snowman on your forum. So off we set to check it out. Completely overgrown with heather and no visits for a considerable time I walked straight to it plunged my hand into a gap in the rocks and there it was in perfect nick. So off we go again and my interest in all things Dartmoor reawakened.

Incidently the grandkids are the latest to have recently joined the “ can we see if we can find another one” club.

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:13 pm
by whoisthechallenger
Hi Greenview. A fascinating read! I found Snowdon Snowman on September 1st 1991, but the Letterbox has always stuck in my mind as a constant on that hill. I'm delighted to hear it is still there.

Re: Surprise encounter

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:29 pm
by The Wanderer
The box you found that got you started was Walkham Step, which was established in the 70s.

Re: Surprise encounter

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:08 pm
by Greenview
I knew someone would tell me which box that was. Thank you Wanderer. Alas it seems to have gone now so no reunion walk.

Re: Surprise encounter

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:06 pm
by Moortrekkers
Walkham Step, for sure, one of the first 20 boxes sited on the moor, but not included on the WH Smith letterbox leaflet. Very memorable use of an old fuse box... but who sited it there?? any idea ?

Re: Surprise encounter - Walkham Step

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:48 pm
by WeekendWalker
Hi, just joined the site. My Dad sited this box on 20th March 1977, accompanied by 4 other regular walkers including Bob Creber from the Dartmoor Rescue Group. Bob I believe, still runs 'Crebers' in Tavistock. My father was Sean Newbery who was the Manager at the BBC transmitting station at North Hessory Tor. He was a regular Dartmoor walker and letterboxer and sited the box as he wanted to put something back for the many hours of enjoyment he spent walking the moor and hunting the boxes. He would have been very pleased his box had contributed to others enjoyment of walking on Dartmoor. I still have the original book with signatures and stamps dating from 20th March 1977 to 1st January 1981.

I am planning to visit the Dartmoor area in July and was hoping to visit the box, so disappointed to read from Greenview that it is no longer there. Can anyone confirm when they last visited the Walkham Step box?

Re: Surprise encounter

Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:17 pm
by Moortrekkers
Hi WW that is brilliant info, Walkham Step was always one of my favourites as less known about than others, amazing that you have the original book. I haven't visited the letterbox since the 80s although I always keep an eye out when in the area, just in case. I enjoy finding long lost time capsules much more than looking for new ones. Would love to see my name it in, did your Dad and his friends have a personal stamp?

Re: Surprise encounter

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:57 pm
by Nik - KOTM
Sadly about ten years ago the new owners of Yellowmead farm decided there was too many boxers crawling around the area, and cleared away 99% of the boxes from North Hessary to Kings Tor. Shame really but we are technically leaving litter on the moor.

Anyway welcome to the site... or should I say a belated welcome ...

Re: Surprise encounter

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:12 pm
by Moortrekkers
The Walkham Step box mentioned here was located on the upper reaches of the Walkham, almost at the head, RHS going upstream.

Re: Surprise encounter

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:21 pm
by ChrisNi
Really interesting story of how you started, Greenview. I love reading stories like this.