Who are the Two Blondes?

The Two Blondes are the co-writers of the popular Dartmoor blog – twoblondeswalking.com 

They love Dartmoor, their families and Jelly Babies. They spend much of their spare time teaching and leading young people on Dartmoor and are proud to be involved in both the Ten Tors Challenge and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Recent Blonde ventures include:

• The publishing of their first book. 'The Dartmoor Christmas Tree' is a children's picture book and available on Amazon.

• The launch of their Dartmoor Guided Walks including: 'Blonde Navigation Sessions' and 'Wild Women Camps'.

Blonde One:

Likes: Navigating at night, finding old things on Dartmoor and drinking coffee.

Dislikes: Falling in bogs, having to buy new walking boots and being cold.

Blonde Two:

Likes: Climbing tors, map reading and eating cake.

Dislikes: Being the slowest up a hill, condensation in her tent and wet feet.

twoblondeswalking.com   @BlondesTwo   @TreeDartmoor



Your Inner Adventurer

Where are you right now? Sitting in an overheated office? Waiting for a late train? Cooking the same supper as you had on this day last week? Well, here’s a picture for you to roll around your head:

Imagine a hillside bathed in the warm orange rays of a sun that is setting in front of you. You are sitting in the porch of your perfectly pitched tent, your sleeping bag and mat are laid out invitingly inside. In your hand is a hot cup of tea and your supper is bubbling nicely on your well controlled stove. You have a book in your hand, but are not reading it; your eyes are too busy taking in the stunning natural landscape that surrounds you. You are completely relaxed and completely at peace.

STOP! Stop thinking that thought right now! It is true that once in a while, the perfect camping-moment does come along; but not every time. For example; despite having bought some lovely new camping equipment, the you in our picture has not checked the weather forecast. It is going to rain all over your tent at 2 o’clock in the morning; which, by annoying coincidence will be exactly the moment that you decide that your bladder is too full for you to stay in your sleeping bag any longer; how you’ll regret that cup of tea!

So why do it? Why go camping at all? Offices are warm, trains are convenient and ovens cook delicious food. The answer is simple; and the reason that you are feeling that call ‘to be at one with nature’ right now is that deep down, every single one of us wants an adventure. Camping is an adventure in itself; it doesn’t need to be at the summit of a misty mountain or half buried in a snow drift. Find a field, find a site, buy some basic camping equipment (a two man tent and a sleeping bag are a good place to start), and get yourself out there. Feed your inner adventurer, he/she is getting very hungry!

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Camping is good for the Vango Soul 300

The lovely guys from Outdoor Camping Direct recently sent Dartmoor’s Two Blondes a new tent to review. We have since decided that reviewing tents is a most excellent idea because it means that we have the perfect excuse to go camping more often.

The Vango Soul 300 is orange …

Well in truth, it comes in three different colours: Blonde-One-Blue, Blonde-Two-Orange and Manly-Black; but as it bills itself as, “An ideal starter tent.” and I was doing the ordering, I choose orange to perfectly compliment my sleeping bag, ‘Big Orange’.

Vango Soul 2 Review

Because it is a starter tent, I decided that taking the Soul 300 up into Dartmoor’s unpredictable weather for its first outing might be a bit too Blonde; so I plumped for a family meadow camp in the shadow of the Malvern Hills.

PITCHING: It has an easy to pitch, two pole, inner first system. Some people don’t like inner first tents, but they do tend to be stable and the Soul was no exception. Anybody who has a modicum of tent experience would be able to pitch it quickly, but there are plentiful instructions for the true beginner.

Vango Soul 4 Review

SHAPE: Although the porch is small when zipped up (big enough only for boots, stoves and slugs), the wide open front of this tent allows plenty of headroom for sitting in bed and admiring the views (in my case, a beautiful oak tree and my equally beautiful niece and nephew).

 Vango Soul 1 Review

The inside is spacious with adequate sleeping space for three without walking kit. If like me, you sometimes struggle to ‘dismount’ your tent, the wide porch allows for a more dignified exit than some other small tents.

WEATHER PROTECTION: I initially thought that I would not take this tent to Dartmoor; but after my meadow camp, I had second thoughts. We had a fair amount of weather; it stayed stable in the wind and I detected only one drip onto the inner after a night of heavy rain. The hydrostatic head (waterprooficity) is 3,000 which is perfectly adequate for all but the wettest British camping outings.

NIGGLES: I can honestly say that I enjoyed my camp in this tent and plan to use it again many times over the summer (cue rain). There were a couple of things that prospective buyers should be aware of: 1) It arrived with two pegs too few for the number of peg points. I am awaiting a reply from Vango on this. (Later note: The helpful chaps at Vango assure me that pegs are hand counted before distribution but should there be any missing, they are happy to send some out.) 2) The wide porch, although very pleasing, does mean that you have to be careful not to allow drips in when you open the door.

Vango Soul 3 Review

For a spring into summer camp, I would recommend this tent. It is suitable for two walkers, three campers with a car or a Blonde who fancies relaxing in spacious luxury. It doesn’t have all of the mod-cons that Vango sometimes supply (I missed a double zip for ventilation) but little touches like pockets and a lantern hook add to the enjoyment, and made my three night camp a very pleasant experience. 

Read the full blog here