Mist and mizzle at the top of Dartmoor

Yesterday I was up on high Dartmoor as part of our 10 Tors training – we had around 60 young people and a dozen adult helpers. It was the kind of day that unless you had to go out onto the moors you probably wouldn’t have. The visibility was pretty poor, there was either constant mizzle  or wind driven rain. It was a day for navigating via a compass and not using landmarks. All in all a good day for practicing various 10 Tors skills and testing your clothing and equipment.

On Okehampton Common looking into the Red-a-ven brook


Between West Mill Tor and Rowtor (which were invisible in the mist) back down to Anthony Stile

Up at Dinger Tor

At Dinger Tor – wet, windy, cold and misty

A Cladonia lichen brightens up the day – close to High Willhays

A pool close to High Willhays

Ian and Tony at High Willhays, the highest point on Dartmoor (and south England) at 621 metres.

Various teams of walkers pass through High Willhays

On the right hand side of this picture you can see a single individual on top of the Cairn – rather oddly and worryingly he appeared out of the mist wearing a pair of trainers and a non waterproof coat carrying a supermarket carrier bag and asked us which Tor he was at, stating that he didn’t have a map! We told him he was at High Willhays and he seemed very pleased to have found it. He then sat on the cairn for 30 minutes – he must have got soaked. We asked if he wanted help getting back but he said he knew the back and was fine ……. One walk away from disaster.

Back down at Meldon Reservoir (look how low the water level is) you can see the mist and rain on the high moor

Looking down over the dam

routeHere’s the route I took yesterday starting at the car park at Meldon reservoir – it is around 10.5 miles in length and on a day with good visibility is a great high Dartmoor walk. If you do decide to do it  – please wear good walking boots, waterproof clothing and take a map and compass …….

The Tors of the NT’s Upper Plym property

If you park your car past Cadover Bridge near to where the Blacka Brook joins the River Plym (SX563644) you can start a walk which takes you around the National Trust’s 3300 acre Upper Plym property – its a good 10 mile walk on the high moor so you need a compass, map, walking boots and warm waterproof clothes. It isn’t a beginner’s walk and it will take you at least 4 hours. If you do do it though you will be rewarded with some of Dartmoor’s fabulous but lesser known Tors. Here are some photographs of those Tors which I taken over the years and have now turned into ‘screen print images’ via Photoshop.

Hexton Tor
Hexton Tor near to Trowlesworthy Farm with Little and Great Trowlesworthy Tors on the skyline. It is not named on the OS 1:25,000 map – its grid reference is SX566649 – all the other Tors I mention are.

Little Trowlesworthy Tor
Little Trowlesworthy Tor with the abandoned worked granite flagpole base in the foreground

Greater Trowlesworthy Tor-cutoutPart of Great Trowlesworthy Tor near the quarry

Shell Top
Up the hill from there to the east is Shell Top

Hen Tor cutout
Back down the slope to the north west is Hen Tor

Shavercomber Tor
Go north again and you will get to Shavercombe Tor

Calverslake Tor
To the north east is Calverslake Tor near the source of the Plym (you make recognise this photo from my blog header!)

Quickest way back is to follow the Plym south (downstream)  all the way back to the Blacka Brook.

Alternatively you could start at Peat Cot (c2 miles SE of Princetown near Whiteworks) and walk past Nunn’s Cross and then do the Tors the other way round. A longer walk and one that needs more advanced navigation skills.

We regularly take our 10 Tors training walks on both these routes – they are character building too!

(All the images are my copyright)

10 Tors walk – north moor – sunshine and bitter wind

National Trust Wild Tribe 10 Tors teams were out on the moor yesterday training with Torquay Boys Grammar School.

24-1-15 routeHere  is the route our 55 mile team took today – (A-K)
Prewley to High Willhays to East Mill to Oke to Great Kneeset to Hare Tor to Great Links and to Sourton Tor and back to Prewley

And here are a few photos I took during the day as I was check pointing various teams

10 Tors 24-Jan 3Back to East Mill Tor in the morning sun

10 Tors 24-Jan 2Across to Belstone Tor

10 Tors 24-Jan 4Brat Tor with Widgery Cross from the Dartmoor Inn car park

10 Tors 24-Jan 5Over to Brentor

10 Tors 24-Jan 1The end of the day – its all over!

Navigating around Haytor and Hound Tor – a good intro walk

As we move into autumn it suddenly becomes time again to start the 10 Tors training cycle all over again! We started the process yesterday with a group of year 9 students teaching them the basics of map reading and navigation. We based ourselves around Haytor and Hound Tor – so not big distances but lots of opportunity to learn how to take a bearing and go in the right direction!

Hound-Heytor1Here is a group at Hound Tor looking back to Haytor

Hound-Heytor3It may have been an overcast day but the moor was pretty busy  – here is a group of novice climbers at Hound Tor

Hound-Heytor2This is the Becka Brook between Haytor and Hound Tor – very low river levels so an easy river crossing!

Hound-Heytor7One of the quarries around Holwell Tor

Hound-Heytor6The remains of the old quarry tram way tracks

Hound-Heytor4Back to the car  park via Haytor

Hound-Heytor5Four of this year’s foals at the Haytor visitor centre car park.

A successful day with a group of enthusiastic students – bodes well for the coming months!

If you want a good introductory walk to Dartmoor I can recommend a gentle walk from Haytor to Holwell Tor, over the Becka Brook to Greator Rocks and then up to Hound Tor – its around 2.5 miles (each way) and as long as the visibility is good you can see exactly where you are aiming for and where you have come from. A great walk to practice map reading and gaining your moorland confidence.