My biggest Dartmoor challenge EVER - Blog 8

March 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

A big challenge deserves a big target, if you would like to support the Dartmoor Search and Rescue team Tavistock the sponsor/donate page is now live. Thank you for your support

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mybiggestdartmoorchallengeever

The target - Raise £20,000 to help fund the new operations vehicle. A huge target, this is a huge walk and needs a big target!

 

On this excursion I decided to take a more leisurely stroll to visit a couple of tors I haven’t been to before and just check they were not likely to present any particular issues.

With just a few hours spare this shouldn’t be too big an ask so decided to park in the car park on the hill after driving through Dartmeet. A quick stomp up to Yar Tor, which due to the views is possibly becoming one of my “easy access” favourites. Always seems to have ponies up there that luckily mind their own business while eating a snack! Yep, it’s that early coffee stop I have become addicted to.

A quick whiz across to Corndon Tor and dropping down to the road leading into Ponsworthy, all very familiar but still a nice route. Onward into Leusdon which has some interesting buildings, need to revisit when I have more time to explore.

On the lookout for Blackadon Tor which looking at the map should be directly behind the church, (line of site that is) however no luck so it’s obviously another one covered by trees. Walking down a steep road you need to look out for a footpath on the left as it can be easily missed.

Following the track passing through a gate into a nature reserve which was a surprise. There the track continues uphill around to the left to a clearing. The tor is not immediately obvious but there was a circle of stones, interesting, but no mystery as it had been clearly laid out by someone, or was there a more mysterious explanation?

As suspected the tor was largely obscured by trees but was a reasonable size if you walk around the perimeter to investigate.

Lunch stop, why not! It was a very hot day so shelter was required, unfortunately a small herd of ponies had the same idea so the tree I decided to sit under became the “goto” spot for shade. They clearly also had a taste for my cheese and pickle sandwiches and were so tempted I was pushed off my stone seat.

Maybe that was the purpose of the stone circle? So, I sat in the middle and finished my lunch, getting very hot, but now undisturbed by the ponies. Maybe it did have some mystical power, or maybe they just got bored with me.

From the tor all the way to Lower Spitchwick Lodge was a straight forward but steep walk down hill, but what a fantastic route for scenery. You have to try it, it reminded me of walking through the hills of Austria, absolutely beautiful (in my view!)

The footpath to Leigh Tor looked easy enough but guess who missed it! I actually turned off up a track too early. Luckily it followed a boundary wall to the top and joined with the path at the top so no drama this time. Really didn’t want to back track what was a reasonably steep walk up.

Leigh Tor is pretty big I think but again has a good bit of shrub and trees covering it but definitely worth checking out. What was sad to see was the ever-increasing signs of wild camping and fire pits which did spoil the look a bit. I guess it’s just too easy to camp there with a car park less than 25 metres from the tor!

Aish Tor next before walking Dr Blackalls Drive. Now this was disappointing, not much in the way of granite outcrop at all and actually not that easy to find the high point. When you do there is a small pile of rocks assembled to indicate you found it, which was helpful. Yes, I did check the GPS just to make sure!

A coffee stop overlooking the river Dart part way along, have to say, you get stunning views of the valley and river, could sit for hours gazing into the valley. Oh, how tempting was it to try and conquer Hockingston Tor from the path. Hmm, a quick look at the watch and at the very steep valley side covered in bracken and gorse, plus knowing where it is situated, maybe not today.

Past Mel Tor, a revisit another day there with the camera with the right light conditions I think, and back to the car.

OK, not the most gruelling walk but one with a few surprises and some glorious scenery. I’m pretty sure I’ll do it again just because it is such a lovely walk to fill in a few hours, three and a half to be precise.

Next time, The Tavy Five from Peter Tavy


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