Sunday, 7 October 2012

Birch Tor via a fell race!

Time for a fell race with Dartmoor Runners from Challacombe Cross, I had chosen this over an orienteering race in a particularly average forest.  I hadn't ever run from this car park before but was really looking forward to it.  After a short road run we joined the path at Lepra Cross, through Moor Gate to West Coombe,  I confess that I am not sure whether we stayed on the path or not, the Harvey's map was a little vague and it wasn't obvious on the ground either.  I was soon caught by the next starter, and together we found our way back onto the open moor.  I managed to leave him at control one as I cut in first and was quickly out and flowing nicely.  I decided to stay low as this looked the best running, the downside of this was that I had to keep pushing hard, not easy as the sheep trods were very slippery after the recent rain.  After a short climb I contoured into the valley west of the trees and out again then around the hill into two.  I lost concentration on the next leg and following the West Webburn river ended south of Hameldown Tor, having climbed too much, but picked up the path and then dropped into control 3 at Grimspound.  I decided to head north west and loop into Birch Tor (52), I managed to find trods most of the way, and kept going over the 300m or so of rougher stuff to the tor, I passed a few runners on this leg but am not sure it was the best route choice.  I headed north off the tor and looped onto the Two moors way track, still running well I had my eye on a runner I had passed as he came off Birch Tor, I like having a target on these events, it seems to keep me motivated.  I caught him at the final control but couldn't shift him on the descent and finished about 10 metres in front.  So 11km in 80min, I really enjoyed my run and felt pretty pleased with my time.

Route on Endomondo

Photos from the finish

View Dartmoor Runners 6th Oct 2012 in a larger map

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Dartmoor run on a hot and sunny day in August

Arch Tor
A beautiful summers day, daughter away at her Grandparents and so off to Postbridge I went.  My run started with a quick jog down the road before turning right onto the bridleway and off the track to Arch Tor (105), a nice little tor and start to the day.  I continued west and picked up the wall near Higher White Tor and followed thewall to beyond Lydford Tor, initially the going was quick under foot but after Lydford the terrain changed making the going hard near the settlements in the valley.   It was nice to have a rest on Conies Down Tor (31) and enjoy the views over to Great Mis Tor and beyond.  Next I headed south west over to Greena Ball, I really enjoyed this part of the run flowing over ground.  I was soon at Great Mis Tor (23) one the great tors of the moor.  A majestic tor which offers amazing views both south to Plymouth and North over the some of the highest points on the moor. Next the short jump to Little Mis Tor (58). Then a nice run down to the hill to Over Tor (209), not marked on OS Maps or listed in the book, so added to bottom of the list.  All that remained was the run over to Princetown to catch a bus back to Postbridge.  I arrived in Princetown pretty drained after 17.3km in 2hrs 48min in really hot conditions; I dropped into the High Moor Centre to find out about bus times to Postbridge.  I was shocked to hear that were any for 4 hours! And even more shocked to find there isn’t even a local taxi company!  So off to the local shop for a quick refuel before the 8km boring road run to Postbridge, lesson learnt!

Conies Down Tor

Great Mis Tor looking over the Staples

Great Mis Tor

Little Mis Tor

Over Tor looking back up to Little and Great Mis Tors

Monday, 16 July 2012

Run from West Rook Gate

The summer continues! I was under the impression that it was going to be OK today, so headed out after the school run.  It didn't look promising when I arrived below West Rook Gate but thought it may might clear up as I ran.  I was very wrong!  Once I hit the moor after a short road run I quickly realised that this was going to be a day to test the navigation skills, so set my altimeter at the gate and was glad I did.  The short climb to Rook Tor (170) and the quick realisation that there isn't a lot to see here and so I quickly moved on and up.  I was glad to see Penn Beacon (91) appear out of the mist and stopped to take some photos.

Penn Beacon

Penn Beacon

Seem to remember having been here before probably during a hash or fell race.  Off again this time to Shell Tor (64) which turned out to be a nice little tor, again I was glad to find it.

Stunning Views from Shell Top

Next I made the short hop to the trigpoint at SX602645, I have added this to the list as it it the highest point around unfortunately it is unnamed. 

Next off to Hen Tor which I have already visited so just a flying visit before turning south west to Little (150) and Great Trowelsworthy Tors (140), a nice run and good underfoot, just before the tor I stumbled on two people carrying yellow bags around which they leaving around the place.  I am not sure what they were up to, maybe leaving kit for Royal Marines or other military training exercise.  If anyone knows please let me know.  

Enjoying the weather near Little Trowelsworthy Tor

Great Trowelsworthy Tor

All that was left now was the run home, but that's another story!!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Blackadon Tor and Logwell Rocks

Nice run up through the woods from Buckland Bridge, very slippery under foot, making going difficult on the climb up.  Two nice tors which would definitely be better when the bracken dies back during the autumn and winter.  I took the track down past Spitchwick Manor on the way back which certainly better underfoot. 
Blackadon Tor

Logwell Rocks hidden away in the woods and undergrowth

Friday, 13 July 2012

Gidleigh Tor and Meldon Hill

Gidleigh Tor West Side
Picked up a few of the outlying tors today, first up was the walk up to Gidleigh Tor (154) through the woods from the south, now this is private ground so unfortunately there is only so close you can get to the tor itself, I seemed to get lost and hit the tor from below, so had to head back to the path quickly.  The tor itself is very overgrown, as you would expect being on private land and rarely visited.   But the woods are beautiful, and there is a stunning view over the moors to the North West.  Once I had found the correct path I return south through the woods to my car.  Next up was Meldon Hill (121) and I found good parking at SX698857, right at the bottom of the track.  Meldon Hill turned out to be a gem of a Tor, the 360 degree views are amazing and well worth the short walk.  Fernworthy Forest, Kestor Rock, MiddleTor, Haytor Rocks, Bowermans Nose and Cosdon Beacon to name but a few were all visible from here, a truly stunning place. 

Gidleigh Tor

View from Meldon Hill

Bramble on Meldon Hill

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Beautiful morning on the North Moor

I needed to test out my calf as I haven't been running for the last 3 weeks and I have a mountain marathon in the Lakes this weekend, so I took the opportunity for a walk on the North Moor.  The weather was not nice, so I am wrapped up in my running waterproof to try and keep my calf as warm as possible.  I parked up just south of the village of Belstone near the moor gate and was soon out into the Dartmoor weather,  I took it easy trying to warm up properly before attempting any sort of pace.  Quickly I was up to Tors End (206), not  named on the Ordnance Survey map or on my list, but marked clearly on my harvey's map, which is the reason I used Harvey's most of the time I am on the moors.  Next the short hop to Belstone Tor (59), then across Irishman's wall to Higher Tor (57).  I can't ever remember visiting any of these tors before but there is certainly plenty to explore on a nicer day.  Next it was over Knattaborough and through an army war game with smoke, gunfire and thunderflashes going off all around.  I picked up the speed at this point one to get away from the Army, and two to test out the calf on this flatter section.  A 7 minute km with everything feeling OK.  Over Oke Tor (69) where I took shelter had a drink and chatted to some Army guys who were waiting to be attacked!  Then off down into Steeperton Gorge, took sometime over the river crossing not fancying getting my calf cold before the climb up to Steeperton Tor (21).  I took it steady up the climb want to test but not over do it.  A fleeting hello to a group on the top before dropping the south west side to pick up the track in Steeperton Gorge.  Once on the track I picked up the pace to under 10 min Km's and kept that up for the rest of the outing.  I kept on the track north until just after Winter Tor when I cut across to Scarey Tor (137) my last tor of the day.  A quick trot back to the car and 11.2km covered in 2hrs 14min.  

Route on Endomondo   

On Tor End looking towards Belstone and Higher Tor

Crossing Irishman's Wall on the way to Higher Tor

Southern outcrop on Higher Tor

The climb up to Steeperton Tor

On Steeperton Tor looking north

Steeperton Tor

Wet looking group on Steeperton Tor

Approaching Winter Tor

Best of the weather on Scarey Tor

Friday, 27 April 2012


Jamie on Cox Tor
So to the moors for a Thursday evening fell run with Jamie Hayward.  We parked up at Pork Hill car park and got changed in the cold and wind.  First on the list for today was Cox Tor (80), we got to the top before the mist had covered it and took in the view.  Next we crossed over the “col” to Roos Tor (75) as the mist filled in behind us.  No views on Roos so we quickly, left for the Staples, Great (74), Middle (89) and Little(125), the mist was swirling around us and visibility was up and down.  Next we crossed the road and made are way towards Vixen Tor (127).  Next up was Heckwood Tor (161), this was the 150th tor and hilltops visited during this project, we would have celebrated but we had already done this on Little Staple oops!!  Next off to Pew Tor (168) a great little tor with loads to explore on a nice day, but with the wind blowing it was quickly time to leave.  Off to the last of the day Feather Tor (164) a nice little tor set into the hill.  Then all that was left to do was head for the car as the mist closed in for one last time.  A really enjoyable 8km run over some great terrain in typical Dartmoor conditions.    
Greetings from Roos Tor!

Great views from Roos Tors!

One of the Staples!

Little Staple not number 150

Heckwood Tor Number 150!!!

Rare view of the evening from Pew Tor, including part of my finger

Jamie striding to Feather Tor 

Friday, 16 March 2012

If you see Sid tell him.........!

If you understand the title then you must be as old as me!, but we'll come back to that point later on. 

  So 1500 finish to a meeting in Okehampton and a 1930 meeting in Plymouth left me some spare time to get a run in on the stunning north moors.  I parked up behind the Dartmoor Inn, Lydford and headed across the moor to Brat Tor (76) or Widgery Cross which stands on its summit. The was still but with a fair amount of mist still about, visability was good enough to not have to worry about the map too much at the start.  Next I made the short hop to Doe Tor (92) the last time I was here was on the OMM in 2010, but I didn't seem to log it that day so was glad I dropped in on it as I wasn't going too originally.  Next the lung buster up the hill to Sharp Tor (519), I can't say for sure that I have ever been here before but it's a great tor which I am sure would give great views to the west on a better day.  The plan was to run through Chat Tor but a red flag and and worsening vis persuaded me to avoid the possibility of straying into Okehampton range by heading around the hill to the west.  Searching for a good line made the going tough, I also couldn't make mind up whether to go straight to Green or go via Dunnagoat Tors, eventually the terrain made the Dunnagoat option the better.  I visited Lower Dunnagoat Tor the more interesting of the two before turning and heading over to Green Tor (17).  Soon I had retraced my steps and found myself on Higher Dunnagoat Tor.  Unfortunately the Dunnagoat Tors (13) are logged as one tor so no doubling up on this one.  Now off to Great Links Tor (6) which makes my top 5 five tors on the moor.  Every time I visit Great Links in the mist it always reminds me of those British Gas adverts, one of which was someone looking for Sid on a rocky hillside/tor.  Unfortunately youtube let me down this time so you will have to take my word for it.  Next off to Gren Tor(32) I cut across to the track and enjoyed a bit of a blast to warm up a little, then cut into Gren Tor before retracing my tracks out and back up to the track, vis starting to drop now so a quick glance to Little Links Tor (40) before heading off the track towards it.  Can't see it in the small valley but stick to my line and hit it straight on.  Maps now my friend as I head out of Little Links and concentrate on not losing too much height, before running down the hill to Arms Tor (72).  All the planned tors visited for the day now it was time to enjoy the decent out of the clag and back to the car.  Great feeling letting go at the end of a run, especially when there is no bracken to get in your way.  A really amazing run in great terrain.

12.6km 1hr 52min

Brat Tor

Doe Tor looking back to Brat Tor

Sharp Tor

Dunnagoat Tors from Green Tor

Looking back to Great Links Tor

Taking the track to Gren Tor

Happy to see Little Links Tor

Out of the gloom appears Arms Tor

Friday, 27 January 2012

Running through the darkness - 26th January 2012

On a cold and clear night myself and friend Oliver Marner set off just after dark for a run which would take in 5 tors.  It was cold, the thermometer on the car said 3 degrees, but with the wind chill it was must much colder.  First up Gutter Tor (144) a short simple run up from the car park, we were soon departing the tor, as hanging around was not an option.  Now the maps came out, I've been to Legis Tor (167) from Gutter Tor a number of times but the dark changes everything.  So we followed the fence south, ticking off first the bridleway, then the track before seeing the outline of the tor set against the orange glow of the lights of Plymouth.  On top of the tor we paused and Oliver decided to take off a layer (fool!!).  We moved off east making the River Plym in good time, and contemplated the crossing.  There was nothing for it but a wade across!!  Boy it was cold, but as we trotted away we soon warmed up.  Through the settlement before following Hentor Brook up for nearly a km, taking it carefully so not to climb too high before heading over to Hen Tor (101).  Really cold on Hen Tor so we moved off the top quickly.  We took a little detour to check on my Geocache Three Chicks and a Fox, which seemed to be in good order.  Next we contoured into Shavercombe Brook before following it down in search of the tor.  This was the first time either of us had been out here and we were impressed with the steep side gully and waterfall we found, one to visit in the future.  We carried on a little still looking for Shavercombe Tor (147) which isn't really marked on the OS or Harvey's maps.  After a couple of false starts we stood on it's summit before running off in to the night, felling really cold now after a slow search.  We trot ted down to the river, putting off the crossing as long as we could, we find a good spot three strides in the water up on to a boulder then jump to the bank.  Up to Ditsworthy Warren House, used in the movie Warhorse, before turning north to the last tor of the night, Eastern Tor (156).  Not a typical tor it covers a large flat area scattered with numerous unremarkable boulders.  I convinced Oli that coming off west back to the track was the way to go, but regretted it as we ran through ankle deep bog, skirting Gutter Mire, the standing water was so much colder than the rivers we had waded earlier.  The pain was intense and shot up my legs, I was glad to make the track and jogging soon pushed the blood around and warmth returned to my legs.  All in all a good evening out. 
Is this Shavercombe Tor? .........No

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Hartland, Stannon and Sittaford Tor

Sheepfold below Stannon Tor
I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to do so I took a risk and drove up to Postbridge.  On leaving Bovey Tracey the weather was fine and bright but as I crossed the moors it became patchier.   I took the path to the north of the river and it wasn’t before I was in ankle deep mud, not to worry I was sure my trail shoes would be up to it.  First tor of the day was Hartland Tor (106), clouds were streaming across the sky and sun was quickly followed by shade.  The itself is nothing remarkable but it’s a good starting point to get deeper into the moors.  I followed the ridge north until the furthest wall boundary. I stopped here to get the kite out for a bit for Kite Aerial Photography, basically you lift the camera with the kite, set the camera to take photos every 5 seconds or so and hope for the best!  My goal was to capture the beautiful stone sheepfold which is part way up the hillside of Stannon Tor (71).  I kept the kite up all the way to Stannon Tor.  There isn’t really much too Stannon Tor but it does give great views west over the moors, and today you could see the weather driving in from the west, blue skies followed quickly by black clouds and the threat of rain.  I continued north The Grey Wethers Stone Circles, where again I got the kite out trying to capture the stone circle from the air hoping for the sun to come out and cast some magical shadows from the stones.  Alas the weather wouldn’t play ball.  I pulled the kite up to Sittaford Tor (24) and climbed over the top across a style, no easy task with the kite pulling hard, to west side to try and get shots from a very different angle.  As it was quite windy now I decided to keep the kite up until I got into the lee of the hill.  I soon crossed the wall to the south and found some good walking which enabled me to lower the kite on the move.  Soon the kite was down and packed away and started the journey back to Postbridge and the car.  It was only when I got home and plugged the camera into the computer that I could take a look at the results.  
Stannon Tor

Sheep on Stannon Tor with Fernworthy in the distance

Stannon Tor

The Grey Wethers Stone Circles

Sittaford Tor
Hartland Tor viewed from the west