Exmoor Trip Report 2023
It has been 2 days since wannabe funny-man Sam Boston’s nuclear Christmas trip report dropped. The shock waves have finally cleared, bodies are strewn everywhere and the world is an infinitely worse place for it. But for the bleary eyed survivors who emerge on a drizzly dystopian dawn, life goes on, and their mission: a day trip to Exmoor.
For the particularly wounded amongst us: namely Ollie and Josh following a frankly savage assessment of their leadership capacities in Snowdonia, a chance for redemption. But cue 07:30, Saturday morning, Big Sains lay-by. Cars? Check. Walkers? Check. Abysmal weather? Of course. Leaders? No leaders?! Not even the tiniest of Ollies to be seen for miles around, or in fairness to him, not until he and Josh, ripe from sleeping on Ollie’s sofa, took the trudge of shame over, only some five minutes late. But despite the early signs that our leaders might once again struggle to stave off an all-out coup, we made immediate haste for the UK’s least visited national park.
A maze of twisty roads and some 2 hours later, and we arrive in quintessential England, the quaint village of Winsford, only to find a spriteful Jon fresh from an overnight van camp, as well as our other adventurers. First action of the day (and let’s pretend my recollection of literally any of the details isn’t hazy at best after waiting an entire month to write this) took us up through thick undulating woodland and into a patchwork of soggy farmers’ fields under the swirling rain. We beelined our way through the viscous North Devon mud towards something of a crossroads of paths, where Ollie’s first wrong turn of the day was eagerly met with raucous celebrations all round.
Leisurely jaunts in Exmoor’s rolling patchwork of fields.
By about wrong turn number 5 or 6, we came across the rarest of things: another person on Exmoor, this time a local who diligently informed us about the classic car trial taking place in the national park that weekend, perhaps explaining the swarm of vintage motors we had seen on the roads on our way in. Regardless, to amuse ourselves amid the mud monotony of the onward trudge, we debated the nuances of who exactly likes MILFs and squabbled over who we could pass the responsibility of writing this very trip report onto, stopping only for a casual lunch break, where we were lucky enough to witness Josh’s highly anticipated Jamaican slice. Continuing beyond wrong turns 53 and 54, we stumbled across a religious shelter of some description, where I in fact clocked precisely zero of Ollie’s educational speech due to gawping at Matt Johnson’s shiny new Gore Tex coat.
No amount of shelter can save you from being flamed in a Sam Boston trip report.
A vintage car rockets past us en route to Winsford hill.
The subsequent route onto Exmoor showstoppers, the Devil’s Punch Bowl and Winsford Hill was laden with a mire of interesting features, by which I mean a dead frog in a pond; this time with the gawping mainly being performed by Bayu. After deviating from wrong turn 238 for a hardcore summit of Winsford Hill and enjoying some group pics, we then spent an absurd amount of time painstakingly guessing Ellie’s and Tess Bareham-Campbell’s middle names which took us all the way back to Winsford, of course along with the courtesy of only getting lost a further few thousand times along the way (as if being double barrelled wasn’t already enough names Tess smh).
Everything’s cool in B.U.M. Club (apart from climbing obv) (yours truly dead on the trig point.)
I think I speak for everyone when I say we all finally enjoyed a blissful barefoot drive home while bopping in the car to some beats of birdsong. Out of apparent trip report tradition I feel obliged to thank Ellie and Matt for volunteering to drive us all on this trip! And in all seriousness, a huge thanks to Ollie for all his organisations and for leading a thoroughly enjoyable route in a novel national park to previous years of BUMC walking trips. No mutinies needed. Also a shoutout to everyone who joined us for this one (including Josh despite being away on placement!)
Diet Diet Coke
Reminds me of my bathroom floor after shaving my back.
*Definitely not a wrong turn*