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.