From Postbridge to Fernworthy

Was out on the moor yesterday helping with the National Trust’s Wild Tribe 10 Tors teams. As ever we were out with the great crew from Torquay Boys Grammar School. We walked from Postbridge up the East Dart and onto Grey Wethers, from there up to Watern Tor and returned to Fernworthy reservoir via Scorhill and Yes Tor.

For an unknown reason the trace conked out near to Kes Tor …

It was a misty day

The beehive

Grey Wethers – the double stone circles in the gloom

Looking from Fernworthy Forest up towards Watern

The clapper bridge at Teign Head farm – my mate Dave Rickwood contemplating

The first bit of Watern Tor

Looking east through the Thirlestone

Saw a red grouse on the approach to Watern Tor and saw a merlin on the way to Scorhill.

And then my phone battery conked out …..

Really good 11.5. mile walk – well done to all the teams and adult helpers

 

This is what 10 Tors is all about

As I said in my blog yesterday – 10 Tors is a life changing experience for the young people involved – see here. Today the post below appeared on Facebook – this is why all of us involved with 10 Tors do it!

What more could you want.

National Trust Wild Tribe were one person short a couple of week’s ago and we took this person on after he had been rejected by his Institution as being incapable of completing the 55 mile course.

He came in with the Wild Tribe 2 hours before the team that rejected him.

Tony’s pep talks are powerful and young people are brilliant.

 

Ten Tors 2017 and the Wild Tribe

Over the weekend the 10 Tors Challenge took place on Dartmoor. With Pete Davies, I run the National Trust’s Wild Tribe teams and we work very closely with Torquay Boys Grammar School. In total we had 8 teams out on the moor – three 35 milers, two 45ers and three 55 mile teams. All successfully completed their walks and we were able to leave the moor by 12.45pm on the Sunday. A hugely successful weekend for everyone and a brilliant culmination to the months of training. Well done to all our teams.

Belted Galloway cattle grazing on the flanks of Rowtor. These cattle were put onto the moor from their winter grazing pastures immediately after the start – hours earlier 2400 young people walked up the hills from the start- the delay in releasing them onto the Common ensured there were no dangerous cattle / young people interactions!

This is the National Trust Wild Tribe 35 mile team approaching the finish

This is the National Trust Wild Tribe 45 mile team

Receiving their medals on the podium

This is the National Trust Wild Tribe 55 mile team coming down from Rowtor

Approaching the finish line

All done! Covering 55 miles (and the rest) in under 30 hours is a fantastic achievement.

Looking down at the finish – lots of supporters waiting to greet their teams

Looking across to West Mill Tor and Yes Tor – it all looks very calm and quiet.

One of the highlights of my year – the seventh year the National Trust has run and supported 10 Tors teams – hopefully many more to come.

All those young people who complete the 10 Tors Challenge undergo a life changing experience which gives them all sorts of skills for their coming lives: resilience, comradeship, fitness, leadership, endurance and a love of Dartmoor and the outdoors.

Thanks to the Army for organising it and thanks to the many volunteers and staff of TBGS who help the National Trust and its Wild Tribe teams participate.

Another wet and windy weekend with 10 Tors

I was up on the Moor over the weekend helping look after 9 teams of 10 Tors participants from the National Trust Wild Tribe and Torquay Boys Grammar School. Saturday saw some of the worst and most challenging conditions I have witnessed on Dartmoor – persistent driving rain, a strong wind and very poor visibility. As a  result – very few photographs …..

This is the Trig Point – on Ryders Hill – the highest point on the south moor – it was bleak and unpleasant on Saturday – Pete and I were on our way to Red Lake tip to check point 7 teams through


This is a photo of Red Lake tip taken in 2015 (it is the conical man made peak in the middle ground) – on Saturday we could only see it when we were 200m from it – a day of navigation by compass – which Pete did very expertly all day.


Here are a couple of our groups at Red Lake ……

We eventually saw all seven groups through by 5pm and then started on our 90 minute walk back to our O Brook campsite – all the teams were in camp by 7pm

This is the O Brook on a sunny day!


Sunday we were check pointing at various places – including Norsworthy Bridge – a much better day but still misty in places and very windy


This is Sharpitor where we ended our walks

Very challenging conditions – well done to all the young people who took part over the weekend – if you can walk and navigate in those conditions you have cracked it!

Dartmoor was character building over the weekend and undoubtedly the moor build some new characters.

A rainy weekend on the Moor

Our first two day walk with an overnight camp of the year with the National Trust’s Wild Tribe teams and those from Torquay Boys Grammar School …..

rain
This was the view when I arrived at the car park – only a mile walk to our wild camping site but nevertheless…

camp
At the back of Foggintor Quarry – at least it stopped raining for a few minutes whilst I got my tent up – it then rained all night –  a mixture of wind blown drizzle and heavy rain – I was soaked as was the inside of my tent by 6.30pm – a long night ahead. Apparently this was Storm Ewan but I didn’t know that at the time!

Teams started leaving camp at 4.30am

In view of the continuing poor weather and the forecast predicting more heavy rain from 3pm we convened a meeting in the Fox Tor Cafe at 8am to review routes.

Our teams were intending to go from the Princetown area through the centre of the high moor right up to Okehampton camp via Great Knesset i.e. a route which was a long way from anywhere hospitable.

We re-routed all the teams up the west side of the moor closer to roads in case anything went wrong and decided to end at 3pm at Meldon instead of 5pm at Anthony Stile.

tavy
This is the Tavy – despite all the rain flowing low

great-nodden
We went up to Nodden Gate to checkpoint some teams through – the dome of Great Nodden in the background.

Most of Dartmoor is made of of granite which is an igneous rock formed from molten lava – in contrast Great Nodden consists of metamorphic rock (i.e. older rocks which have been transformed by heat or pressure or both) – thus its very different shape

lyd
The River Lyd

brat-tor
The Lyd with Brat Tor and the Widgery Cross to the left

lyd-stepping-stones
Somewhat surprisingly – very low water levels at the Lyd Stepping Stones

Safely back at Meldon just as the 3pm rain arrives

A big well done to all the young people (and the team of adult leaders) who made it to the end – a character building weekend

All my kit bar my tent is now dry – my tent will be by the end of the day

The moor around Belstone

We were out on Saturday 10 Tors training. Our job to to checkpoint teams through Hound Tor (the other Hound Tor near Steeperton Tor) and then across the concrete ford near Belstone. The weather during the day was superb and we were treated to a variety of spectacular views.

from-oke-tor
From Oke Tor looking north to West Mill Tor and Rowtor

from-hound-tor-to-cosden
From Hound Tor down to Cosdon Hill

belstone-tor
Down into Taw Marsh with Belstone Tor in the background

west-mill-yes-tor-and-high-willhays
Across to High Willhays, Yes Tor, West Mill Tor and Rowtor with East Mill Tor in the middle distance

routeHere is the route we took – it around a 10 mile walk from Belstone – there are quite a few river crossings at various fords – if you plan to do this walk you will need good walking boots, gaiters, a map and a compass!

Our 10 Tors Christmas Walk

Yesterday was our last 10 Tors  training walk of the year – not a long walk just around 4 hours which culminated in our traditional Christmas lunch in the car park below Great Staple Tor.

Earlier in the day we had been over to Fice’s Well to checkpoint our 45 and 55 mile teams. As the morning progressed the wind picked up and it was bitterly cold.

horse-shoe
A horse shoe on a granite wall on the way down from Great Mis Tor

great-mis-tor-posterI used this photo in my blog yesterday – I’ve had a play in Photoshop and I quite like this version too.

xmas-pastyIn total there were nearly 80 of us out yesterday and at the end of the walk we had warm pasties, warm mince pies and hot ‘mulled’ fruit juice. A feat of hard, work, timing and improvisation – thanks Karrie

xmas-treeWe even had a Christmas tree!

vixen-torLooking down from the car park is Vixen Tor – one of the very few on Dartmoor you can’t visit.

pew-torAnd looking across to the west is Pew Tor with a herd of galloway grazing the Common below