The mists of the moor are legendary. One moment you are looking on the world beneath you, the next you are shrouded in mist, your vision all but gone, and getting home can seem more than a little challenging.
Running Dog has trotted this route many times. It's easy to find and has plenty of off-road parking at a starting point that allows you to run a circular route of almost any distance. The only trouble has been the mist. You can see on today's map a slight loop and then a double back just after mile 2. This was the mist. Legend has it that the Dartmoor piskies (some sort of pixie) summon the mists to confuse unwary travellers and lead them into bottomless mires. I've trotted and stumbled across most of the open moorland in the South West, sometimes with packs of dogs as companions, and have been yet to spot a piskie, but the mires are evident everywhere. On this route however, even the mist is conquerable, as its pretty much straight line running – following a trail – before hitting an old railway track and heading for home.
You'll find the parking spot at the end of a lane after you turn left off the B3213 out of Ivybridge towards Exeter. It's signposted to the ReFurnish store but drive past that, keep going and park at the dead end. Go through the gate and head straight until you hit the old railway track.
You can go either way round this route; if you like your big climb early on follow me straight up the side of Western Beacon. There's a small quarry on the left and when you peak, take a breather and look back. Ivybridge lies below just to the right, the A38 straight ahead, and further the South Hams and the sea.
From the beacon, continue north-ish. There's a fairly clear trail which is flat for a short while before dropping down toward the Black Pool. It's very black, even when the sun's out, and the peat bog around it varies from being wet, to downright hard to cross depending on the time of year. The really wet area is not large though and easy to get round.
Keep following the trail for another steepish climb. This is Butterdon Hill – a landmark for trans Dartmoor walkers and anyone attempting the Two Moors Way. There's a cairn, invariably herds of ponies (heart-stopping in the early summer when the foals are young) and a clear trail. Jog on, straight ahead and, if you do not become "piskie lead" by the mist, you will hit the track after exactly two miles. To go back, turn left, to add some more miles, go right. The Running Dog has done dozens of routes from this point. This one though follows the track back alongside Hangershell Rock and round the side of Weatherdon and the Beacon. It's easy track running, very slightly downhill though always seems a little further than it should be. Don't worry, even in thick mist you can't go really go wrong. In good weather it's simply stunning.
Running time: 51 mins, 5.03 miles.
Running weather: Lovely sun, then the mist descends.
Running song: Into the Mystic, Van Morrison.