Monday, 29 November 2010

Black and Shipley Tor

Black Tor above the River Avon

Black Tor with Shipley Tor in the background
Midday walk from Shipley Bridge on the River Avon. Again I was greeted with blue skies, frozen ground but none of the snow which has left many parts of the country at a stand still. Bramble and I started up the track towards Avon Dam and we soon encountered the bitter north easterly wind. We left the track at the first junction and made our way up to Black Tor (160) over the clitter and was pleased to see a really nice looking tor, hadn't really expected this as the OS map gives little indication of this. After quickly surveying the area from the top of the tor we made our way off north down to the bridge. Carefully we crossed the ice covered bridge and started the climb across the hill towards Shipley Tor (169), we crossed a number bogs on the way, all of which were frozen solid and made crossing a real pleasure. We soon made it to Shipley Tor, still in bright sunshine, again a nice bit of granite. We followed the wall down to the river as I had seen a path coming straight down. I wondered if this would lead to a bridge or easy crossing point, there was nothing on the map but thought I might chance it, rather than the 1 mile long round trip to the bridge. When we got there we were faced with a mid shin wade or the mile walk! I opted for the wade as it was only a short back to the car from the other side. Even with the frozen ground and ice on the banks of the river, the water wasn't all that bad. All was left after that was to slide back down the road to the Car Park. Another great winter walk, would be nice to get out on the moor with some snow, but that might have to wait until after Christmas now. 

Black Tor from Shipley Tor

Along the wall to Shipley Tor

Shipley Tor

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A Winters Run - 26th November 2010

Sharp Tor

View from Chinkwell Tor to Honeybag Tor
A crisp winters day, blue skies and very little breeze meant perfect conditions for a gentle run taking in 6 tors including one not listed, but marked on the Harvey's map so that takes the list up to 194. I started with Hollow Tor (139), a small Tor which overlooks the popular moorland village of Widecombe. Next it was on to Bonehill Rocks (117), just a small school group climbing today, not like the summer when the place is crawling with tourist. Then a short climb to Bell Tor (111), which commands great views over the Hay Tor and Hound Tor area. From there it gets quite confusing. The OS map shows little detail on the summit above, and the labelling of Chinkwell Tor makes it difficult to pinpoint. The Harveys map makes this a little clearer, but adds in Sharp Tor not mentioned on the OS map. So I have concluded that Chinkwell Tor (113) sits on the top of the hill above Bell Tor with Sharp Tor (194) on the side of the hill to the West. So from Bell Tor I contoured around to Sharp Tor before making the final climb to Chinkwell Tor, before making the small decent and climb to my final tor of the day Honeybag Tor (78). I spent some minutes passing the time of day with two walkers. They were out on there regular Friday walk, they had notched up some 150 walks in South Devon and Dartmoor and had as yet not been back over the same ground. This really does indicate the rich walking area we live in. We said our farewells and I skirted Chinkwell and Bell Tor to the east and crossed to Bonehill Rocks before heading to the car. An excellent run out, on beautiful day. 

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dartmoor Runners - Shelstone Tor and Hunt Tor - 21th November 2010

Excellent event on the North West side of the moors from High Down.  Nice run out to Shelstone Tor (122) before turning for the climb upto Branscombe Loaf then over to Hunt Tor (10).  Nearly suckered into Gren Tor but decided to leave it for another day.  After Hunt Tor skirted Great Links Tor before the hard slog over to Chat Tor.  Nice run down to a wall corner across the river from Doe Tor only stopping to pick up an OMM map from a few weeks ago.  Then off back to High Down battling the gorse before the run in. 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Wintery and Wild

7th November 2010

Out and about for a Dartmoor Runners event from Belstone.  This is probably the corner of the moor I know the least so its nice to get out for a run over this area.  The run took in two tors Winter Tor (98) which I haven't visited before and Wild Tor (27).  Apt really as it certainly was Wintery and Wild. .  Looking forward to visiting this part of the moor again soon, still plenty to do.   

View Winter and Wild Tor in a larger map

Monday, 1 November 2010

50 up!! 143 to go!!

The Original Mountain Marathon has meant that many parts of Dartmoor have been off limits for a while.  So it's good to get this event out of the way, and also good to get to visit some 10 Tors whilst competing.  My full report on this event can be found at .  No photo's I am afraid but here are the tors I visited.

Saturday 30th October
Yes Tor (2)
Lints Tor (46)
Hare Tor (26)
Chat Tor (18)
Branscombe's Loaf (25)
Great Nodden (85)
Sunday 31st October
Kitty Tor (8)
Steng-a-Tor (22)
Sourton Tor (81)
East Mill Tor 'A' (53)

Really looking forward to getting back to this area again I am sure I will revisit many of these again especially the tor a long the ridge above Dinger Valley which is my favourite area on the moor.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Western Beacon, Butterdon Hill, Hangershell Rocks and Ugborough Beacon

Sunset on Western Beacon
A beautiful Autumn evening on the very southern tip of the moor.  From the car it was a straight climb up to Western Beacon (155) and the first view of the setting sun.  Then a welcome run down to Black Pool, before the climb to Butterdon Hill (138).  As the sun continued to set, I continued to Hangershell Rock and though not on my original list it was certainly worth a visit, From there I turned east now with the last of the sun on my back I made for Ugborough Beacon (129).  I spied a group on horseback near the beacon, but when looked again they had disappeared!  I got to the beacon in time for the last of the days sun.  I ran south over Eastern Beacon, before enjoying the run across to the wall above Cuckoo Ball and then picking up the path back to the car.  A really beautiful evening for a run over some classic south moor terrain.  GPS Track
Butterdon Hill

Hangershell Rock

Ugborough Beacon

Monday, 18 October 2010

Black Hill

First run since the long O.  Have been suffering from a sore hip after landing funny, running off one of the tors.  So decided to take it easy for a while, don't want to miss the OMM.  It felt good on the run this morning although a little bit of discomfort tonight, but it will have to drop off for me to miss this one.  My run took in Black Hill(104) which is the last of the points in the Hay Tor area of my attempt to visit all the tors and hilltops on Dartmoor, visit my Dartmoor Tors Blog for more info (and to read this again!!).  Looking forward to being able to get back on the main body of the moor after the OMM

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Hound Tor and Greator Rocks - 8th October

Hound Tor
Took a gamble after the school run and headed off to Hound Tor (102) which I knew would be in the mist, but I felt that it would soon clear and could lead to some interesting photo's.  Unfortunately it never did and after 90mins of scrambling and rambling on Hound and Greator Rocks(133) it came in worse than ever.  Still love a good wonder on the moors in the mist.

A quick view of Hound Tor from Greator Rocks

Greator Rocks

Monday, 27 September 2010

Four More in the Bag

Really beautiful midday on the moors started off cool, until the clouds rolled back and it really started to heat up.  Probably not a day to sit around as still a cold wind, but an ideal day for a run.  Started from Hay Tor car park then down to Bag Tor(148), always feel like a good runner on this stretch but it doesn't last long as soon after Bag Tor you cross the ford and start the 120m climb to Rippon Tor(62).  After the first section of the climb, there is a short respite after the gate, as you follow the wall before the final ascent.  Great views from Rippon Tor in every direction, making it a firm favourite.  Leaving the Trig point I retraced my steps before finding the path over to Saddle Tor(158).  Saddle Tor lives in the shadow of Haytor rocks, and so is much quiter but still has a large chunk of rock at its summit.  Onwards now to Holwell Tor(109) my final Tor of the day, great views from here over to Greator Rocks and Hound Tor.  Looking forward to racing in this area next weekend for the Devon Orienteering Club Long-O .  Finally I turned for the run between Haytor Rocks and down to the Car Park.  7.1km in 55mins.  

Monday, 20 September 2010

Huccaby, Laughter and Bellever Tor

Nice run on a cool Autumn like morning, started off feeling a little stiff from the two orienteering at the weekend but soon got into the running.  Only a short hop to Huccaby Tor(145) on a well worn track.  Then continued on the track to Laughter Tor(96) which gives good views to Coombestone Tor, Ter Hill and Ryder's Hill to the south and down into Bellever Plantation to the north.  Avoiding the cows I regained the path and ran on to the trig point on Bellever Tor(79).  Again good views, now the Tors of Littaford, Longaford and Higher White to the west visable.  Now it was time to turn and retrace my route to the car.        

Monday, 30 August 2010

Hockinston, Bench and Combestone Tor

Not my favourite day to be out and about on Dartmoor, but a free day and you can't afford to miss these opportunities.  So I braved the Bank Holiday madness and made my way to Dartmeet.  Quickly I was away and as usual after 200m or so of walking I was away from the crowds.  The path down the Dart is fairly good now, although occasionally it gets a bit vague, but it was nice walking in the woods out of the heat.  I thought Hockingson Tor (184) was going to be a bit of a challenge so I took the precaution of taking my GPS.  I stopped to take it out of my bag to find that I was only 180m away, not bad.  Although this included quite a climb through the trees and under growth.  Once there I ventured on to the main Tor which poked out of the tree canopy, giving good views to Mel, Sharp, Bench Tors and the valley below.  Unfortunately I must have knocked the auto focus off as my photo's are all blurred, oh well.  I was glad that on my last outing I hadn't attempted to drop down to this one from Dr Blackall's Drive as I think this would be a complete nightmare.  Anyway off I set down to the river retracing my steps and looking for somewhere to cross.  I eventually found somewhere to paddle across, I was glad of my walking poles as the river bed was very slippery and I had a number of people watching me.  After crossing I quickly started the climb to Bench Tor (165) across boulders covered with undergrowth.  This proved to be a good work out.  Soon I came to the tree line and Bench Tor which spreads itself long the top of the ridge and finally peaks at 323m, some 120m above the River Dart.  Great veiws all around on what is a great tor.  No time to explore as much as would like today and off I went. I crossed Venford Brook below the reservoir and quickly picked up the Holne Moor Leat which I followed to just below Combestone Tor (141).  Combestone Tor must be one the closest tors to the road and therefore one of the most popular on a day like today.  I didn't hang around, left the Tor in my wake, before stopping for a few pictures.  All that was left was to drop down the hill, cross the West Dart at the stepping stones, then back to the car.

Looking towards Venford from Bench Tor
Combestone Tor
Sharp Tor from Bench Tor
Hockinston Tor

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Mel, Aish, Leigh, Luckey, Yar and CorndonTor

Cairn on Aish Tor
Approaching Corndon Tor

Leigh Tor
Mel Tor

Luckey Tor

View down the Dart Valley from Sharp Tor
Sharp tor

Sharp tor
Approaching Yar tor
So another gentle run on the moors, well that was the plan.  First off the the short run to Mel Tor (149) with it's great views into the River Dart valley and over to Bench Tor.  Bench Tor stands at a similar height and less than a Km away, but it is vicious decent and ascent.  Then a blast down Dr Blackall's Drive to Aish Tor (173), and the small cairn that marks the lack of any sort of Tor.  Next I descended and crossed the road and made the short run to Leigh Tor (189).  technical stuff on Leigh Tor  After a little time on the summit, I turned and retraced my steps around Aish Tor, across Mel Tor and onwards towards Luckey Tor (186).  It was soon obvious that the easiest route would be to descend to the river and follow it to below Luckey Tor.  I was glad I did as it turned out that the most spectacular views on the Tor were from below.  The Tor rises up nearly vertically from the valley floor.  I quickly scrambled up the west flank and cut myself a path to the summit through the bracken.  Once off the Tor I looked for some sort of path west to get around the private land before heading to Sharp Tor.  But it was impossible and I was faced with no option but to return to Mel Tor, then take the path through to Sharp Tor (126).  Onwards to Yar Tor (99), now the rain had really set in so I quickly turned for Corndon Tor (87) then descend for the run to the car.  I really enjoyable run with contrasting Tors, unfortunately I managed to forget Hockinston Tor deep in the valley, maybe I will be brave and combine that with Bench Tor, Combestone Tor Circuit!!  Who knows.  The other concern is Bel Tor, which currently doesn't have any public access, I'll have to come up with a plan, any ideas....... 

GPS Track on Google Earth Map

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Hameldown Beacon, Hameldown Tor, Shapley Tor and Wind Tor

The plan was to pick up the two points on Hameldown and then head back to Wind Tor so about an hours run.  But once on the top I felt good and decided to head onwards to Shapley Tor.  So my hours run soon turned into a 14km 1hour 50min run.  I hadn't visited any of the points on Hameldown before and was surprised at the views both West towards Princetown and East over Hound Tor and Hay Tor.  After the climb to Hameldown Beacon (34) and the ridge run to Hameldown Tor (28) I planned to pick up the path leading north east and then pickup the path to Shapley Tor.  But it quickly came apparent that the path no longer exist, and so what should have been a quick and pleasant decent turned into a case of trying to pick the line of least resistance.  Once on the path I quickly found myself at Shapley Tor (63).  It did cross my mind at this point to head west to Birch Tor before returning.  I quickly gave myself a slap and headed over to Grimspound vis Hookney Tor.  The climb from Grimspound back up to Hameldown Tor hurt but I managed to "run" all of it.  Once back on the top I enjoyed the run along and down the ridge, with the bonus of having the wind on my back.  Once back at the car I crossed the road and headed to Wind Tor (130), the final tor of the Day.  A small but nice enough Tor, I then turned for the short trot back to the car.  An enjoyable run and 4 ticked off the list.

GPS Track

Difficulties ahead........

I always take part in the Original Mountain Marathon in October and have started every one since 1997.  It's just been announced that this years event will be held on Dartmoor and I have a place.  So whats the problem, well once the start list is published you are not allowed to train in the area.  So that puts the main body of the moor out of bounds to me until after the event in October.  That means I have to look carefully at what Tors I can get without going in the out of bounds.  This may well slow me down a little in the coming months.  

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Lets go fly a kite

Abbie and Helen flying their Kites on Top Tor
So off we went with Kites in Hand up to Top Tor (88) on a beautiful Sunday morningAfter flying our kites for some time, we headed off to Pil Tor (97) and then to Tunhill Rocks (192) which isn't listed in the original list so again I have added on.  A nice morning spent on the moor.
Pil Tor
Tunhill Rocks

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Scorhill Tor, Thornworthy Tor, Frenchbeer Rock, Middle Tor and Kestor Rock

Scorhill Tor
Fernworthy Reservoir from Thornworthy Tor
Myself and Bramble chanced the weather and headed for Teigncombe with the plan to take in 4 Tors from the list and 1 that isn't but really should be.  With these I am going to add them on to the end of the list, so the 190 will continue to grow as I visit different areas of the moor.  I am keen to hear of more, so if you have any suggestions then let me have them.  First we followed the wall around to Scorhill Tor (134), via Scorhill Circle.  I remember visiting Scorhill Circle on a DofE expedition a while ago now but we didn't make the short walk to the Tor, so this was my first visit.  A nice little Tor which sits neatly on the side of the hill looking down on the North Teign River.  Next we retraced our steps and made our way to Thornworthy Tor (93), via the stone rows which litter the side of Shovel Down, we crossed the wall and started the short climb to the Tor.  The weather had really improved now and we were treated to great views all around although Bramble seemed interested in other things.  We left the Tor and headed for Frenchbeer Rock (191), before turning back towards the car over Middle Tor(100) and Kestor Rock (86).   We paused on Kestor to take in the view, now I can look out and see places already visited (Hunters Tor) and also those to come including Steeperton, Wild, and Watern Tors.

Kestor Rock
Frenchbeer Rock

Middle Tor
GPS Track

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Hay Tor

Marcus on the steps to the summit
Just out for an evening walk with Marcus and Dan, who are down visiting.  Unfortunately the sunset  didn't materialise, it was so close to being a classic.  However it was a great evening, and Hay Tor was quiet with only a few walkers and two brave climbers playing in the wind. 

Hay Tor Rocks


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Sharpitor, Hunters and back for Raven Tor another day


Hay Tor on the Horizon
Hunters Tor
In my opinion some Dartmoor Tors are worth a visit any time of the year, in any conditions, but as I found today others are at their best at certain times of the year.  Sharpitor nr Lustleigh I hope is one of the latter, as in the peak of summer there is little to see.  It reminded me of a lost Inca city, taken back from humans by nature.  So I plan to go back this winter and have a good look around, anyway I have to go back as we failed to get to Raven Tor at all.  If I been on my own I would have gone for it but with Abbie and Bramble it would have quickly turned into an epic.  We did manage to find three Geocaches so Abbie was happy.   The views of Hay Tor, Hound Tor and Bowerman's Nose were excellent. We continued on to Hunters Tor where we had lunch, a nice tor spoiled only by a farmers fence cutting through the centre of the Tor.  After lunch we doubled back on ourselves, returning to the car.

Monday, 2 August 2010

King Tor, Hookney Tor and nearly Shapley Tor

King Tor
Hookney Tor
I was going to collect all of the Tors in this area during a run yesterday, but alas a dodgy calf meant that I called it off and instead worked in the garden!  But today I ventured out with Abbie and Bramble to take in a couple on what was a nice day.  We started up the hill past Grimspound and contoured into 3. King Tor (51).  Although not a spectacular tor in itself it is worth a visit as on a clear day there are excellent views to be had.  Next we headed for King's Barrow, before striding off to 4. Hookney Tor (45).  A nice tor to stop, relax and have a bite to eat.  You have admire the view from here across to Grimspound and Hameldown Tor both in touching distance, but left for another day as Abbie's legs tire.  Whilst on the Tor, Abbie searched and successfully found a Geocache we signed the log then headed north towards Shapley Tor.  We were within 300 metres of the tor when we decided turn for the car.  A good day out and we rewarded ourselves with an ice cream on the way home. 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Beginning - Blackingstone Rock and Heltor Rock - 29th July 2010

So this is my attempt to visit all of Dartmoors Tors and Hilltops as listed in "Walking the Tors and Hilltops of Dartmoor" by A.D. Johnson, he created a list of 190 points within the National Park Boundary as based on the OS Landranger 1:25000 Map. Now I have visited a large number before, in my 20+ years of wondering the moors, only last weekend I was taking part in Endurance Life's Dartmoor Mountain Marathon and visited 12 Tors, but I will be wiping the slate clean and starting afresh.  It is my intention to run, bike and walk to all of these in the next 12 - 18 months.

I have already found a number of addittions to the list and would welcome any others that people know about, even if they are on other maps or documents.  Send me a name and grid reference and I will add it to the list.

and so it starts........

Blackingstone Rock

I wanted to start off with somewhere I hadn't been before (and actually hadn't heard of) and somewhere accessable to my daughter Abbie aged 4.  So we set out to Blackingstone Rock.  I wondered if this was a good idea as we drove down the narrow lanes, Abbie not being the best of in car navigators.  But we eventually got there and were not be dissappointed.  Blackingstone Rock is an impressive piece of granite and is an easy walk of nearby parking. 

The walk up had obviously just been cut, so it was easy stroll to the base of the rocks. When we reached there we saw the steps up the east side of the tor which would lead us to the top.

Steps to the Summit

From the summit there were great views over to Hay Tor in the west and Heltor Rocks our next target to the East.

After a stop we returned to the car and made the short journey to the bottom of the path to Heltor Rock.

Heltor Rock

This path wasn't in such great shape and so I put Abbie on my shoulders so she could avoid, most the undergrowth that had filled the path.  We made the summit with little trouble apart from a few cuts to my legs.  Again the views were stunning, unfortunatly we didn't have as much time as we would have liked, having to return home for an appointment.  But two tors which were well worth the visit, lets hope this is an omen for all the new places I will visit during this journey.