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
Here’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 …….
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 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 with the abandoned worked granite flagpole base in the foreground
Part of Great Trowlesworthy Tor near the quarry
Up the hill from there to the east is Shell Top
Back down the slope to the north west is Hen Tor
Go north again and you will get to Shavercombe 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)
National Trust Wild Tribe 10 Tors teams were out on the moor yesterday training with Torquay Boys Grammar School.
Here 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
Back to East Mill Tor in the morning sun
Across to Belstone Tor
Brat Tor with Widgery Cross from the Dartmoor Inn car park
Over to Brentor
The end of the day – its all over!
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!
Here is a group at Hound Tor looking back to Haytor
It may have been an overcast day but the moor was pretty busy – here is a group of novice climbers at Hound Tor
This is the Becka Brook between Haytor and Hound Tor – very low river levels so an easy river crossing!
One of the quarries around Holwell Tor
The remains of the old quarry tram way tracks
Back to the car park via Haytor
Four 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.