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