FKT: David Starley - Dartmoor Crossing (United Kingdom) - 2023-05-27

Route variation
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
4h 39m 28s

> Carried my own food and water in pack

> No one else ran with me at any point (apart from some sheep)

> Time measured from gate to gate

Word of warning ⚠ :

This route could be dangerous in winter or after heavy rains due to river crossings and navigating some boggy ground. I ran it in very dry conditions and only got damp feet in a couple of places. 

Run report:

New fastest known time set, 35 minutes quicker than the previous one! But this doesn't tell the whole story...

I pushed myself quite hard driven by the higher purpose of the wild camping appeal. Unfortunately I had a tough run out there today.

I went out quite fast to bank some time in the cooler part of the day, reaching Hangingstone hill in 43:40. The river crossing was easy but I've also been here after a week of rain in winter when it's very deep and fast. I hit an optimum line across the bog to the next Tor, would recommend recceing this part so it isn't a surprise! 

Turning onto the elephant grass up to Statt's House ruin I kept a straight line as much as possible. There's no path here. Crossing the east dart was again easy, but would be challenging when wetter. The valley leading to Postbridge is beautiful, best part of the route. 

I ran up the Bellever hill, dropping down to the very rocky technical path to the stepping stones over the West Dart river - these are uneven and can get submerged in very rainy conditions. 

Following the Swincombe river I elected to go on the opposite side to the leat as getting up to the leat is a battle with no path. This section is quite wild with just a sheep trod and some wet ground all year. 

The section up to Whiteworks was tough, as it feels like you should be much further in than 30km! The trail along the valley to the tramway  can be hard to spot, but I was happy with my line choice. The final 12km along the tramway then over the tors was a real slog in the 20C heat but the Navigation is simple at least. 

I've registered the completion time at the first gate to the track at the bottom of the steep descent off Western Beacon (which seems to align to the route map). 

As much as I loved the scenery, I wasn't able to appreciate it as much as I'd have liked after my right calf started cramping around halfway. I feared that was the run over. It's almost certainly because of the hot weather causing me to lose salts quickly and the uneven terrain putting a lot of strain on the muscles. I didn't take any electrolytes with me - lesson learned! 

Thankfully some stretching made it manageable and I made it to the end ok, but lost at least 5 Minutes of stopped time as a result. 

I asked a handy hiker to take my picture at the end! We then had a nice chat walking towards the station.

This run was in support of the wild camping appeal, to keep rights based access to the outdoors. You can find out more on the Dartmoor Preservation Association website.

I hope my report is useful for anyone who attempts this! Feel free to get in touch to ask any questions.

P.s I'm aware of another "all time record" for crossing Dartmoor north to south by any route held by Brennan's Townshend, which isn't recorded on the FKT website.