Friday, 16 December 2011

Sharp Tor and Hunters Tor - 12th Dec 2011

Sharp Tor, Nr Castle Drogo
Two Orienteering races over the weekend had left my legs stiff, but I wanted to get out and back on the Tor Trail after such a long break predominately due to a calf injury suffered in July.  Happily that seems to be behind me and so I set off for a walk with Bramble to explore the in the valley below Castle Drogo.  We set off  from Fingle Bridge and climbed on the path to Drewston Common, after the initial climb the path levels off and offers great views over the moors with Kes Tor in full view.  We were soon at Sharp Tor (181), an interesting Tor perched on the side of the valley.  We didn't venture to far out along the Tor as the rock was wet and slippery. We continued on to Hunters Tor (180) which sat atop a long spur.  Not stopping long as the rain had now set in we descended into the valley and keeping to the northern riverbank we followed the path alongside the river back to Fingle Bridge.  

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Perfect 10

Tom on Swelltor
North Hessary Tor
Another beautiful evening for a run over the moors.  I met with Will Hancock and Tom Davidson at Princetown and set off down the disused railway, after the trees we turned left for the climb to North Hessary Tor (36).  This would be a stunning Tor if weren't for the television mast which has been in place since the 1950's I guess before the creation of Dartmoor National Park.  The Tor does offer a great view point, with stunning views of the north moor.  We continued north for the small hop to Rundlestone Tor (49), before turning to the west to Hollow Tor (61).  We then turned our attention to Foggin Tor, a small detour saw us take in one of the makers on the Abbot's Way , with it's distinctive A for Ashburton on it's eastern side and T for Tavistock on it's western.  It would appear that Foggintor (110) was quarried long ago and as such doesn't survive as Tor anymore (But I would happily revisit this area if I was to hear differently).  From the eastern edge of the quarry we drop down to cross the old railway before climbing to a small tor on the south-eastern flank of the hill. Is this Swelltor (204) or was that to excavated during the quarrying here.  Whatever the answer the small tor is very nice with an excellent stack.  We turned north to Kings Tor (115), and this tor was most definitely there and offers a lot to explore.  We discussed the plan from here and decided to head over to Ingra Tor, Leeden Tor before heading home.  We descended off the tor, in an effort to find the unused  corbels that were destined for the old London Bridge, we dropped right onto these.  They always appear to me that they have been here just a short time and will picked up any time.  We dropped down to the disused railway for the run around to Ingra Tor.  On the way we took and quick detour to Fur Tor (202) and Yes Tor(203) both omitted from the list and no where to be seen on the OS map, but are clearly marked on the Harvey's 1:40,000 of Dartmoor.  Fur Tor in particular is a nice little tor with a some big slabs of rock. Ingra Tor (151) was soon reached and we turned our attention to Leeden Tor (124), with a easy run run along a friendly sheep track.  We took our final rest on top before the 3km run back to Princetown.  Another excellent run in ideal conditions.   
Will on Rundlestone Tor

Hollow Tor

Above Foggintor Quarry

Nice view point on Swelltor

Fur Tor and Yes Tor as shown on the Harveys Map

Monday, 16 May 2011

100 up!

100 up! Will, Me and Oliver on Leather Tor
Still Celebrating on Cramber Tor

Tom, Oliver, Will and Me on Cramber Tor

Sun Burst Over Leeden Tor
Watching the sun burst on Hart Tor

Oliver on the run down from Cramber Tor

So four of us, Oliver, Will, Tom and Myself gathered below Sharpitor (108), to start the run that would see me reach my 100th Dartmoor Tor/Hilltop.  It would also see my friend Tom climb his first Tor, so it was all set for an eventful evening run.  Starting up hill I was never the best of ideas but that’s how it is sometime.  It wasn’t long before the four of us, via four different routes climbed to the top of Sharpitor to survey the view and pat Tom on the back for losing his Tor virginity.  The scattergun approach to our group continued as we all favoured differing routes off the Tor.  I opted for the double back and go wide approach to cut out the worst of the clitter,   before the pleasant run down to the beginning of the climb to Leather Tor (123), one of my favourites on the moor.  This tor, breaches the side of the hill to create a nice ridge walk, and has great views over Burrator Reservoir and Sheeps Tor beyond, it was always favourite when I was leading groups over the moors.  So this was number 100 and we stop for some photos and to admire the view.  We clambered off the west side and hugged the hillside, slowly gaining height to Peek Hill (116), not stopping we turned and skirted the north edge of Stanlake Plantation which was showing the signs of tree felling as the Larch has been taken out to stop the spread of Sudden Oak Death.  We followed Devonport Leat until after the Aqueduct before breaking away to Cramber Tor (95) the high point of the run.  From there we surveyed an incredible sun burst through the clouds, wish I had my DSLR instead of an ancient point and shoot.  The run to Hart Tor (119) gives an opportunity to stretch your legs, on a well worn path partly thanks to the recruits from HMS Raleigh that pass this way during there basic training.  From Hart Tor we ran down to the stone rows and the remains of the blowing house near Black Tor Falls, before the small climb up to the summit of Black Tor (143).  The military were setting up on Black Tor as it was the annual Ten Tors event over the weekend and the tor is major checkpoint during the event.  We crossed the road shortly after leaving the tor and skirted below Leeden Tor, cut around the hill and were soon back at the cars.  A really good run, on a beautiful evening with great friends, what more can you ask for.

I’ll be out this Thursday if you fancy a run, meet at Princetown Main Car Park at 1745, maybe see you there. 


Monday, 9 May 2011

Join me for number 100!

Anyone up for a shortish fell run on Thursday after work?  We would take in at least two tors to bring up the 100 Tor/hilltops since starting last July.  The plan would be to meet either in Plymouth at 1715 or on the Plymouth to Princetown road in Sharpitor Car Park 1745/1800  We would take in Shapitor before heading to Leather Tor to celebrate number 100.  Anyone wanting to can walk directly to Leather Tor and meet us there.   For those of you who have had enough you can head off or tag along to visit Peek Hill, Cramber Tor, Hart Tor, Black Tor and Leeden Tor a total distance of 9km, at a nice pace with the option of bugging out at anytime.  

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

and so to the North Moor

Out for a run on the north moor from near Shilstone Tor. Firstly over to Buttern Hill(201), again not on the original list, but a nice spot non the less and duely added to my list. Then over to Rippator or Rival Tor(140), got a little carried away and ran right over the top, not even stopping until I got to Watern Tor(30). I arrived a little confused, but on a checking the map I regained my bearings and spent sometime exploring the Tor. A little gem and one that I haven't been to for probably 20 years, but one that will be returning to in the near future with camera in hand. Then over to Wild Tor which I have already ticked off but going that way set up the fast run down to Hound Tor(47), then over to the less than impressive Little Hound Tor(48) via a nice little stone circle. Next it was up to Cosdon Beacon(11) which at 550m gives great views all around. The last leg was back to Shilstone Tor(162), in 25 years of walking on the moors the leg from the east to Shilstone Tor has been made numerous times, but one that I have never really got to grips with. Today was no different and drifted to far south before adjusting into Tor. I haven't been to Shilstone Tor since I re-ran my 35mile Ten Tors Route in 2005, with my friend Oliver Marner. Then I was an hour and a half into a 12.5hr epic! Yesterday my run was over and I was happy after a great run.

Shilstone Tor

Cosdon Beacon looking towards Yes Tor

Watern Tor

Watern Tor with Wild Tor in the back ground

Hound Tor

Friday, 25 March 2011

Run from Harford Moor Gate

View from Sharp Tor
Trig Point on Three Barrows
Barrow on Hillson's House
Add caption
Tristis Rock
 Another stunning spring day on the moors so I headed off to Harford Gate.  The first thing I noticed was a tor on the other side of the valley, I would check it out on the map when I got to my first Tor. Quickly got into my running and in no time at all I was at Sharp Tor (103) enjoying the views.   I took the opportunity to look at the map, the Tor in question was Tristis Rock, I had difficulty in telling on my out of date map, whether I would be able to get to it or not, but decided I would go and have a look.  Next I made my way to Three barrows (70) where I met some walkers they were locals so I asked them about access to Tristis Rock, to which they said it was all good and there were no issues with private landI continued on to the old clay pits at Left Lake before turning left, dropping into the valley to cross the Erme at a small damn.  A welcome stop to pass the time of day with two local farmers who were out checking on their sheep before lambing begins.  Then the long climb to Hilson's House (199), I managed about 75 metres of tough climbing before my lungs and legs gave up the game and I walked the last 30 metre or so of the climb.  The more I make my way on this journey through the list more I wonder if the author really did get out there for surely he wouldn't have missed so many of these Tors and hilltops if he had.  Hilson's House and my next target of Tristis have been added to my list.  So I head off to the west to visit one of my favourite stone rows.  It must be over 400 metres in length.  From the end of the row some stunning running terrain allows you to eat up the remain km to the start of the field system in no time at all, and soon I was running along another stone row less impressive but just as long which led me into Tristis Rock (200).  A great little Tor with great views.  Now all that was left was to drop into the valley cross the Erme once again and make the short run back to the car.

Friday, 18 March 2011

11th March 2011 - Eastern and Western White Barrow

Aydin at Eastern White Barrow

Western White Barrow

Red Lake Clay Tip

Huntington Hill

Huntington Cross

Crossing the Avon Aydin Style

Monday, 7 March 2011

Snowdon and more - 7th March 2011

Pupers Hill
It looked like it was going to be a pleasant day and after a weekend of jobs around the house it was the ideal opportunity to get out for a walk.  No running at the moment after a twisted knee last week orienteering. So satnav programmed it was off to near Lud Gate not far from Buckfastleigh.  This is the best access in the area to the east side of the south moor, it does however does involve a 1km track/road walk to the moor edge.  There was more cloud cover than I was expecting when I started my climb up to Pupers Hill(67) and I was quickly reminded of the time of year when I got out of the shelter of the trees. But as long as you didn't hang around to long it was very pleasant walking conditions.  It wasn't long before Bramble and me reached the cairn on the top of Pupers.  I have been out here before but that must have been some 7 or 8 years ago.  There were some good views to be had over the moors but to the east it was still hazy so no views to be had there.  It was nice to see Huntington Warren and it reminded me that I should add it to my list, that and Red Lake which can be seen sticking out like a volcano from all over the south moor.  I quickly dashed across to outer Pupers to pick up a geocache.  Not hanging around long I started the short walk over to Snowdon (197) not on the original list but one that is defiantly worth adding.  Two cairn/tumuli are the only features on this plateau of the summit.  It bear no resemblance to it's namesake in North Wales but does offer good views and is certainly less busy.  Next it was on to Ryders Hill (37) again a short hop but this time over wetter ground, I started off carefully trying to avoid getting wet feet but soon gave up that game.  Ryders Hill is indistinct and without there being a trig to tell you are there you may well miss it.  With the fog down it could be a nice challenge, but today we were walking under blue skies. A 70m detour, enabled me to pick up my second geocache of the day then back to the trig for a quick chat with some walkers, one of who was 120 tors into his challenge and using the same reference book.  We quickly chatted about our challenge, extra tors we had discovered before they sped off to Snowdon.  The easiest way back was to retrace my original path, but that is rarely satisfying, so I head off east and skirted along the eastern flank of Snowdon, below Snowdon Hole to the spring, before following the leat to the track back to the car.  A beautiful day in some stunning scenery.
Ryders Hill

Nut Crackers! - 4th March 2011

Looking towards Pil Tor
Time to walk the dog, a quick look a the map reminded me that I had been meaning to get out to the Nut Crackers near Rippon Tor.  This seemed the perfect day for it.  I made my way to just below Rippon before turning right to the Nut Crackers.  It was not to bad going underfoot, but better for walking than for running.  It was well worth the visit, a small tor but plenty to explore.  Will add it to my list as I believe it is worthy.
Rocks near the site of the Nut Crackers
Classic Dartmoor Wall!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

31st January - Ravens Tor

Second attempt to bag Ravens tor (179) after fighting with the undergrowth in the summer. No real problems this time, although the Tor is not as spectacular as I was expecting. There are some far more interesting unmapped outcrops nearby. But a nice walk on a bright wintery day.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Bowerman's Nose - 24th January

Bowerman's Nose

Hay Tor and Hound Tor from near Bowerman's Nose
So quick walk up to Bowerman's Nose (118) with the dog on a cold a dull afternoon.  Seems odd that none of the surrounding tors are named, but have some interesting shapes and structures.  Hope to return here when the light is slightly better to take some more photos.  The nose itself is a great piece of granite, but not as spectactular as I had hoped.