Shilstone – Sittaford – Hound Tors walk

The mild winter wasn’t evident on Dartmoor today! It was one of the coldest days I can remember for a long time – particularly surprising as the winds were from the south east – I think they must have been blowing from Mount Blanc direct. Lined trousers, base layer, thick fleece, goose down jacket, heavy winter coat and wind proof gloves along with beany were the order of the day and even so whenever we stopped walking we froze almost instantly.

National Trust Wild Tribe and Torquay Boys Grammar School were out on the moor for the first 10 Tors Training session of 2012. Between us we had 35, 45 and 55 mile teams in action.

We started at Shilstone Tor just south of South Zeal. My task today along with my co-Team Manager Tony was to ‘check point’ the 45 mile teams. In essence this means we go to a Tor and then wait for the teams to go safely through before yomping off to there next Tor to repeat the process. This meant today we were speed walking across the high moor to ensure we kept ahead of the teams. As I write now many hours after finishing I am aching all over – a hard fast day.

Pete, our Senior Ranger in the Plym Valley was walking with our 35 mile team. When I met up with Pete on Hound Tor – he looked particularly ‘purple’ in the cold – bravely sporting a National Trust fleece minus a coat!

Tony and I headed from Shilstone Tor and headed to Sittaford Tor following the River Teign much of the way. Half way there there are a series of spectacular waterfalls.

Arriving at Sittaford, it wasn’t long before the teams arrived.

The views from Sittaford are pretty expansive!

From Sittaford it is north up to Watern Tor (one of my favourites) – the gap between these two bits of Watern is is called Thirlstone!

From Watern it is north again onto Hound Tor (there are two Hound Tors on Dartmoor – this is the less well know one)

Again there are great panoramic views from Hound Tor – here is the view north up to Cosdon Hill.

And here is the view west over to High Willhay and Yes Tor

One of the 45 teams had a slight ‘navigational difficulty’ coming back from Oke Tor to Hound Tor but eventually everyone got back safely! Whilst looking for the errant team we passed White Moor Stone circle in the fading sunlight.

A good start to the 2012 10 Tors campaign – good job its January as we all need to get fitter and more confident with our navigation – well done to all the teams – two weeks rest and then we’re off out again.

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