Every time I come back from training a 10 Tors group on Dartmoor I always feel really uplifted. With the Dartmoor landscape you can often see the large distances you have covered and it always looks impressive and inevitably lifts the spirits of the young people in the team.
Yesterday was no exception, we walked from Merrivale just to the west of Princetown north to Meldon reservoir near Okehampton – in total we walked about 15 miles, starting at 8.45 and finishing just before 5.
The weather has been kind so far this 10 Tors season perhaps giving the participants a false sense of security. We started off in bright sunshine but there was a very keen cold east wind which accompanied us all day.
This is Great Staple Tor – our first Tor of the day. I particularly like the way that so many Tors have ‘character’ and ‘faces’. This one reminds me of the ‘Colonel’ standing with his henchmen surveying the battle field!
There were a lot of 10 Tors Groups out on the Moor yesterday – apparently over 70.
We met quite a few including a group of army cadets complete with face camoflage and luminescent yellow jackets!
From Great Staple we went to Lynch Tor and then onto Chat Tor – which is a perfectly formed mini Tor which gives walkers the chance to get right on top of the world.
From Chat Tor north again on up to Kitty Tor. On route we saw some of the small wooden dams installed to re-wet the Moor as part of the Dartmoor Mires Project.
A red grouse also flew across our path as we climbed to Kitty.
From Kitty Tor we had to descent over 500 very steep feet down to the West Okement River. This valley is widely known as Death Valley as it is on the penultimate leg of many 10 Tors expeditinions – once you have descended to the river you then have to climb back up the other side – often as far as High Willhays (the highest bit of Dartmoor) – which is a climb of over 600 feet – just what you don’t want at the end of a two day expedition.
Our journey only took us to Fordsland Ledge – exactly the same height as Kitty Tor.
From Fordsland Ledge you can look south – the hills on the horizon include Great Staple Tor – and see how far we have actually come.
From Fordsland Ledge it is a gentle speedy descent back to the car park at Meldon Reservoir. It needed to be a speedy descent as the wind was bitter so walking fast warmed us all up.