Three Tors and an optical illusion

Lots of people know that the huge TV mast on Dartmoor is located at North Hessary Tor – it is one of the major features we use when navigating on the moor.

south-hessary-2
It can however prove to be a bit of an optical illusion – here is the mast with a Tor at its base – so this must be North Hessary?
south-hessary-1Stand back a bit and slightly change the angle and you can see that North Hessary is further back – to the left is Rundlestone Tor – so the Tor in the picture above is Rundlestone Tor.

hollow-tor
Standing at the Hamlet of Rundlestone  you can see this Tor on the slopes up to Rundlestone Tor and Hessary Tor – this is Hollow Tor.

3-tors
Standing a bit to east under Great Staple Tor you can put all three Tors into perspective. Rundlestone Tor to the left, Hollow Tor in the middle and North Hessary (with the mast) to the right.

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

 

Up to Great Mis Tor

This is my favourite picture from our walk on Dartmoor today

great-mis-tor
The path up to Great Mis Tor with Little Mis Tor on the left – it was might cold in the wind when we weren’t walking and even then it wasn’t great !

The newtakes with the moor beyond.

Out of shot to the left all the ewes (female sheep) are in the fields for ‘tupping’ – i.e. mating with the ram (the male sheep) – soon they will be back on the Commons

A walk from Haytor

Whilst I like reading and writing about Dartmoor you can’t beat the experience of getting out into Dartmoor. Yesterday the annual 10 Tors cycle began again. We were out on the moor training the new prospective students how to read maps, navigate and walk on Dartmoor. We had six groups of students walking various routes from Haytor to Hound Tor and back.

route
This is the route I took – it is about 8km long and is a good introductory walk on Dartmoor – it does go up and down and requires walking boots, a compass, map and a coat but nevertheless is an achievable walk which visits a number of interesting places. It starts at the lower Haytor Car Park.

becca-brookThe Becca Brook below Holwell Tor with the recently installed new clapper bridge

greator-rocksGreator Rocks between Holwell Lawn and Houndtor Down

haytor-and-quarriesLooking back to Haytor with its quarries and Holwell Tor in the foreground

hound-torUp to Hound Tor – the Rowan or Mountain Ash trees were covered in their blood red berries

hound-tor-2The south west corner of Hound Tor

black-hillBack across the Becca Brook and up the slope to Black Hill with Haytor again in the background

black-hill-cairnThe Cairn on the summit of Black Hill with the Bovey Valley in the background.

tramwayPart of the ancient tramway on Haytor Down

haytor-quarryThe famous quarry to the northeast of Haytor itself

home-farm-cafeBack down to the car park for a cup of tea and a piece of flapjack with my old friends from Home Farm Cafe.

A very blustery day up on the moor yesterday but we missed out on the rain! I can recommend this walk if you want to recharge your batteries and burn a few calories. The area is rich in archaeology and moor itself is well managed by the Commoners and is  great for wildlife.

Perfect.

Pebble art on Dartmoor

I recently wrote about the phenomenon of pebble art on the beaches of the Isles of Scilly – see here. It now seems to be a growing trend on Dartmoor too.

High Willhays 14
Here is an example – High Willhays on Monday

High Willhays NYD 2011Here is High Willhays on New Year’s Day 2011 – only four pebbles compared to the impressive ten on Monday – will that ever be surpassed?

If the trend continues High Willhays will soon be 622 metres high!

A walk to High Willhays

I went for a walk yesterday with a friend up to High Willhays – the highest point on Dartmoor. It was around a 7 mile walk and took 4 hours including a lunch stop and included a climb of about 340 metres.

High Willhays 12
We started at the car park by Meldon Reservoir and then walked along the southern boundary of the reservoir, up the West Okement River, through the ancient oak wood called Black-a-tor Copse, on to Sandy Ford, then up to Fordsland Ledge, up to High Willhays, on to Yes Tor and then back down to Meldon via Okehampton Common and Longstone Hill. It is one of my favourite walks on Dartmoor – here are a few photographs from the day.

High Willhays 1Melton Reservoir from the dam

High Willhays 2Down to the viaduct from the dam

High Willhays 3By the West Okement looking up to Black Tor

High Willhays 4Into Black-a-tor Copse one of three of Dartmoor’s high altitude oak woods (see here and here for more details).

High Willhays 5Emerging from the other side

High Willhays 6At Fordsland Ledge looking south along the West Okement River with Lint’s Tor on the left

High Willhays 7Approaching High Willhays – the little rock on the left with the cairn on it. High Willhays is something of an optical illusion – wherever  you stand and look at it on Dartmoor there always appears to be a tor which is higher than it! However it is the highest point at 621m.

High Willhays 8At the summit – with Yes Tor behind (looking taller)

High Willhays 9Up to Yes Tor (619m)

High Willhays 10At the trig point on Yes Tor looking back to High Willhays

High Willhays 11Back down to Meldon Reservoir with Sourton Tor above the end of the water

High Dartmoor at its best – highly recommended

 

Tors with big blue cloudy skies on Dartmoor and the red zone

On Saturday evening I was on Dartmoor heading towards Dick’s Well where our 10 Tors teams were camping for the night. It was fabulous weather – sunny, big blue skies and lots of photogenic clouds. Here are a few photographs I took whilst we were waiting for a team to arrive.

Arms Tor and Great Nodden
Arms Tor looking north to Great Nodden

Great LinksUp to Great Links

Arms Tor and Brat TorArms Tor over to Brat Tor and the Widgery Cross

Arms Tor 1Arms Tor

Arms Tor, Sharp Tor, Hare Tor Brat TorArms Tor, Sharp Tor, Hare Tor and Brat Tor

It  was a magical 15 minutes of sun, light and solitude in an awesome landscape – I wished it could have lasted forever.

It didn’t though – we had to walk back down to Nodden Gate to ‘talk’ to one of our teams only to then have to walk back up to Dick’s Well via Brat Tor. If you haven’t done that walk I recommend you do – it is very steep – it is a red zone climb and Tony and I did it twice in 90 minutes – I suppose the consolation was that the second time were weren’t carrying full 65 litre rucksacks.