Snowy Dartmoor muni ride

We had a bit of snow on Dartmoor last night. Not a huge amount, but a good three inches with some deeper stuff where it had drifted. Too much temptation to go out playing, so I rang the boss and convinced him he didn’t really need me today so I could have the day off. He agreed. Yippee!

My intention was to ride my favourite bit of track down to Burrator reservoir, where we went on the muni weekend at the beginning of the month, so I set off out along the path behind the pub and up towards the tor. The grip of the muni tyre was amazing in the snow - much better than I expected - and I rode at almost normal speed up to the top of the hill. A few walkers had been that way, so the snow wasn’t completely smooth, but it was still nice and clean and crunchy under the wheel. A couple of bits of track where there is a steep camber to one side proved a bit more challenging, with some sideways sliding in places, but I managed to stay on.

Then I came to all the v-shaped stone water bars… I can ride these quite consistently now, but in the snow it was very hard to judge a good line over them (they were completely filled up with snow) and I got a few spectacularly wrong - all good fun though :). I passed some walkers who were quite impressed and got their cameras out to film me as evidence that they really had seen a nutter on a unicycle out on the moor in the snow and fog.

When I reached the top of the downhill track to the reservoir I stopped and looked down. The snow was deeper here. It seemed to have collected in the dip of the track, and what I know is a very rocky path looked completely smooth. I contemplated riding down it but decided it would have led to an almost guaranteed sprained ankle - it would have been almost like riding blindfolded. I chickened out :o. I carried on along the path I knew was reasonably smooth under the blanket of snow out passed Nun’s Cross and towards the scout hut. When I reached the rougher ground it started to get really hard going - not even any walkers had ventured that far today and I was riding on virgin snow. I decided to turn back and ride back to Princetown the way I had come.

When I got back I went out along the old railway line, another track I knew didn’t have anything nasty lurking under the white sheet. It was quite deep here too, probably a good three inches, possibly four in places, and some two or three foot deep ditches completely smoothed over by drifts. With the poor visibility it was a really weird experience, almost like riding in a new place. The snow had a partially frozen crust making it quite heavy going.

I rode 12 miles in a bit over 2 hours, but it felt more like 25.

I took a few pictures, but with the poor visibility they weren’t that good… a couple are attached. Picture 1 is the top of the track down to the reservoir where I chickened out. Pictures 2 and 3 are the Princetown to Nun’s Cross path.


Great story rob.northcott. I envy you the snow. It rarely snows here. We live too close to the sea.


Sounds like a great ride!

I saw the snow on the news today, apparently some people were stuck in their cars for ten hours on the road across one of the moors in the south-west.

The first thing I thought when I saw the clip was that it looked great weather for a muni ride!

We didn’t get any snow here in Surrey, I haven’t got my muni at my house at the moment anyway but it would have been cool to go sledging!

sweet riden eh? but yea you dont have to worry about that 4" of snow, out here you can ride through 1 foot successfully. Its pretty fun tho, how long was yer entire ride? About how mary miles and how many hours it take?

I’m just waiting for the snow that fals here to stay for the next few months.

We have had snow that stayed for 2 ocr 3 days this fall, but no more than a few centimeters…
This winter we’ll have probably 50-70 cm :slight_smile: And the subjekt of snow-unicycling will be tested till death!

Not very impressive compared to what you get in your country but we don’t get much snow here in the south of England, so four inches is quite unusual. Occasionally we get a foot or so on the moors, but we haven’t had that much for ten years. It hasn’t snowed at all since I’ve been unicycling, so today was quite a novelty. The muni was certainly much more stable in the snow than a bike - presumably because all the weight is on one wheel. Riding through the 3 or 4" of snow was quite hard work though - a bit like riding up hill all the time. A foot would be interesting :slight_smile:

About 12 miles, 2 hours.

o yes we get alot of snow here in michigan. I only went through powdery snow over here so it was pretty easy. I guess harder crunchy snow and what not would be kind of tireing to keep going through. Didn’t you get cold?

Looked like good fun!

Why are the images attached in the original post displayed as links rather than as images? Because they’re more than one?

I live in Exeter (close to Dartmoor) and the first thing i thought was going out in the snow. I really wanted to do it but the snow that fell didnt stay. Had a few snowball fights though on grass though!!

Mike Swarbrick

The only inch of snow we got here is gone… an hour after!

No, I was actually pretty hot when I got back. It’s not really that cold here at the moment - only about -2C (28F) yesterday while I was out. That’s probably why we don’t get nice powdery snow - not cold enough? Snow here tends to stick together once it’s settled then freeze. It only blows around while it’s falling usually, unless it’s really cold and windy.

I was wondering that and guessed the same as you did. But I thought I’d seen multiple pictures in one post before somewhere…


Nice write up. Sounds great fun.

Ruth and I went out in her Land Rover today onto the road that runs round the military range near to High Wilhays. Some dodgy moments on the steeper sections. A 4x4 in front of us turned back after losing traction twice and having to reverse down the hill, but we made it.

The chance to ride muni in snow is something I await with enthusiastic trepidation.

That sounds like allot of fun :slight_smile: I wish I could get to some nice muni trails but with no car and no buses that go out that far (actually there are some but I dot have anyone to ride neither em with nor the time to do it). I think this year will be nice, I have seen some videos of people riding in snow and after a couple days of riding in snow its not nearly as bad as I thought it might be. I still prefer no snow though. I actually went to the local skate park and dug out all the ramps and rails I wanted to ride (we have had about 20 cm of snow in the past couple days). It was fun though and despite it being minus six to minus twelve while I was out, I was quite warm in my long sleeve tee shirt and long pants with pads. And despite it all I learned how to unispin and did many grinds.

Fresh powder.

It snowed here all day, and I rode some great trails along an escarpment. There were a few footprints along the way, but it was mostly fresh, white powder. Unfortunately I got out a little late, and I only had an hour and a half of daylight left. But I had a fun ride.