Kestor and Scorhill

Spent a great day up on the high moor yesterday checkpointing our 10 Tors training teams

Kes Tor1
Started off at Kestor high above Chagford – you can see the snow on the ridge leading up to Watern Tor

Kes Tor
The Legendary Dartmoor website recently posted a piece about Kestor and the possible derivation of its name – see here. Over the years it has been known as Kestor, Kestor Rocks, Kes Tor, Castor – all of which might have been a mis-spelling of the local dialect – maybe it is in fact Cats Tor – a reference to a long gone past when wild cats used to live in the area…. another lost and forgotten Dartmoor species which I call ghosts in the landscape

Despite all the effort that has gone into building and the maintaining that stone wall …

This is the clapper bridge over the North Teign river

The point where the Teign really starts to descent from the moor

Just around the corner is Scorhill – a brilliant stone circle

Again the Legendary Dartmoor website throws some light onto the many theories, myths and legends surrounding Scorhill – see here – the adder anecdote is very interesting……

Ponies 2
And finally back to Kestor looking south over Fernworthy Forest

Ponies 1
With Thornworthy Tor in the foreground

A great day out – although the temperature was low there wasn’t much of a wind so fortunately it didn’t fell cold.



Digital maps from the Ordnance Survey

When you buy an Ordnance Survey Map now it also comes with a free mobile download of the same map

OS map 1

It is easy to download from the OS site you just need to set up an account (free of charge) and then enter the code that comes with the map and then download it to your phone – either and iPhone or an Android.

OS map 2
And then you have a 1:25,000 map on your iPhone with full GPS functionality – i.e. your phone will show you exactly where you are. You can also plot routes to follow are record exactly where you have been.


Piles Copse oak woodland

There are three high altitude oak woodlands which have survived on Dartmoor: Wistmans Wood, Black a Tor Copse and Piles Wood. The first two are on the north moor and are famous, Piles Copse is less well known and is on the banks of the River Erme below Sharp Tor. Here are a few photos of the wood from Saturday. Full photo set here.

Piles Copse 9Mossy ground and lichen trees

Piles Copse 14Piles Copse below Sharp Tor

Piles Copse 3On the east bank of the Erme

Piles Copse 12

The best way to get to Piles Copse (SX6462) is from Ivybridge on the 2 Moors Way. Note it is around 6km out of Ivybridge to Sharp Tor and then 1km down a steep hill to the Copse.

10 Tors along the River Erme

It’s been a pretty hard weekend so far! We started the latest episode of our National Trust Wild Tribe 10 Tors Training schedule with Torquay Boys Grammar School last evening near Nunn’s Cross on our way to camping at Evil Coombe again – to be honest we were filled with trepidation. The weather forecast at 3pm had been saying thunderstorms and heavy snow in Princetown (2 miles north). I was in the Regional Office for a meeting at the time and my colleagues thought it was highly amusing and wished me luck etc….. – so sincere of them.

We arrived and no suggestion of snow but it was cold and it was raining.

The walk to Evil Coombe takes around 45 minutes and by the time we all got there we were soaked – the ground was sodden and it was raining. It’s not a lot of fun putting up a tent and cooking in the rain when you are wet.

Nevertheless the night’s sleep went well and all the teams were on the trail by 6am. A long day ahead 3 35 miles miles teams and 2 teams of mixed 45 and 55 milers.

Tony Owen and I spent the day check pointing the 45 and 55 milers – we ticked our teams off first at Coombestone Tor before retiring for breakfast at the wonderful and busy Fox Tor Cafe in Princetown. From there we headed down to the River Erme so we saw our teams across the river. Here are a few photos of the rest of the day.

Highland cattleAfter parking up at New Waste we met a herd of Highland Cattle – doesn’t she just look great.

Erme1I don’t know the Erme very well – its a big river and a very beautiful one

Erme3Both of our teams had to cross it

Erme2No way – we would all end up in the river

Wild Tribe

We found a spot where with a bit of team work and a bit if a hop and a jump everyone got across. Here is the Wild Tribe – a mix of 45  and 55 milers


Whilst waiting for the teams I photographed this moss – I really like it


On the way to the next check point we met these chaps.

A great day – well done to all the 10 Torers – you are doing really well – all will be fine!

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and we are off to Greenway with my mum to celebrate. Photos of Greenway and maybe my mum to follow along with some more from our 10 Tors weekend.

10 Tors- Camping in Evil Combe

Been on a two 10 Tors training expedition (National Trust Wild Tribe and Torquay Boys Grammar School) over the weekend – fantastic weather! There may have been a keen breeze but we were in sunshine all the time.

We started off on Saturday morning from Postbridge.


Heading out of Bellever Forest

BelleverUp to the top of Bellever Tor

From BelleverBelleverThe view from the top of Bellever

Some time later …. after passing through Nunn’s Cross Farm we ended up in Evil Combe where we camped for the night. Scary name but a great tranquil place. The name Evil comes from the old Dartmoor Tin Miner’s name for an iron pick: an evil!

CampRed sky at night! It was great hearing snipe drumming over the mire as we camped.

Lower Hartor

Lots of teams out training on the south moor this weekend – a person on Lower Hartor

Nest day we all headed east towards the Dart Valley, Yar Tor and Corndon Tor.

Corndon Cross

The memorial cross near the summit of Corndon Tor


In memory of Evelyn Cave-Penney who died in WWI in Palestine – he was shot by a sniper. The memorial has a poppy wreath placed at its base by a local Scout troop. The inscription says ‘Look up and lift your heads’ – definately – the view from here is fantastic.

Sharp TorOnto Sharp Tor and the view onto Venford Reservoir

Nunns Cross Farm58km later back to Nunn’s Cross Farm.

Great weekend – well done to all!

Around Fernworthy

The weather on Saturday was the best we have had for 6 weeks – lucky us as it coincided with our first 10 Tors training session of 2014. We started and finished around Fernworthy Reservoir. Here are a few landscape shots from the day.

Kes Tor 3


Tony on Kes Tor with Wild Tor in the back ground


Castle Drogo draped in its white protective covering from Kes Tor

Logan Stone at Thornworthy Tor 1

The logan stone at Thornworthy Tor

Fernworthy Res 1

Fernworthy Reservoir

Fernworthy Res 3

Reservoir overspill

Red admiral

The highlight of the day for me was seeing a red admiral in the sunshine high up on the moor beside Fernworthy Forest.

All my photos from the day can be seen here.

Christmas training and BBQ

It is a tradition with Torquay Boys Grammar School and National Trust Wild Tribe that the 10 Tors Training Walk before Christmas ends with a BBQ – this year was of course no different. But before everyone can eat they have to walk.

We started off from the car park behind the Dartmoor Inn at Lydford – and ended up at the car park below Great Staple Tor going via Lynch Tor, Fice’s Well and Little Mis. Here are a few photos from the day.

Wallabrook - Lydford

Waterfall on the (other) Wallabrook near Lydford

Little Mis

Looking west from Little Mis

Millennium stone

The Touchstone near Princetown – I’ve never seen it before! Here is some detail about it.

The Well

Gathering for lunch at Fice’s Well. A place to removed spells from piskies or heal eye infections …..


Dartmoor Prison isn’t far away


Sun blazing through the clouds near Great Staple


Everyone’s back for the festive BBQ

The Fairfield Horseshoe in the Lake District

With all the rushing around last weekend with 10 Tors final training weekend I have only got around to blogging about our 5 days in the Lake District a couple of weeks ago.

I’ll start off here with a great walk – much of it on National Trust land – The Fairfield Horseshoe – a 10 mile jaunt with over 1100 metres of ascents starting and finishing in Ambleside. Google ‘Fairfield Horseshoe’ and you will find many accounts and directions on how to take the walk.

We went ‘anti clockwise’ starting in Ambleside then rising up to Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and finally back down via Nab Scar.

It’s not a beginners walk but if you have a bit of stamina (ie you can walk 10 miles up and down) the map reading / route following is straight forwards.

I was surprised how many people we met during the 4 hours it took us to complete the walk – over 100 I would estimate – I doubt there would have been 100 people across the whole of Dartmoor embarked on a 10 mile walk that day. We met 100 in just one Lake District Valley. Lots of people yes – but it still felt like a ‘wilderness’.

Here are a few snaps from the walk.

Fairfield 2


Here is the Fairfield Horseshoe from Lake Windemere at Bowland.


Waterfall on the Scandale Beck on the way up to Low Pike

Windemere from Dove Crag

Looking back to Windemere from Dove Crag


Pretty deep snow still lying between Hart’s Crag and Fairfield and my goodness was it windy – could barely stand!


Stupendous view down the Rydal Beck Valley

Great Rigg

On the way back down – on towards Great Rigg

If you are planning to visit the Lakes I can really recommend the National Trust’s specific Lake District website – packed with places to go and things to do – we really do own an awful lot of land in the Lakes!