My biggest Dartmoor challenge EVER - Blog 14

April 10, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

A big challenge deserves a big target, if you would like to support the Dartmoor Search and Rescue team Tavistock visit the link below. Thank you for your support.

Target - Raise £20,000 to help fund the new operations vehicle.

A 400 km hike across 170 tors and rocks on the Dartmoor OS OL28 map raising funds to replace their failing operations vehicle.

Training day 2 -Lane End loop

If it wasn’t for Raven’s tor in Lydford gorge I could probably save a lot of time and effort! But it is and I need to walk from Nat tor to Raven tor and back to Bagga tor and there is just no easy way of doing it.

So, training walk two will take a section of my challenge to investigate and add a piece in to make circular from Lane End car park. There were a few tracks and paths that would be useful to know if they exist and are good to walk.

First check was straight up to the leat above the car park and follow it until the fields, through the fields and across the small stream. Some easy to follow tracks up to the rifle range of Wilsworthy, but horrible loose stone to walk on, these paths play havoc on my feet!

At the end of the rifle range follow the track left which turns into the Lich Way, apart from a map check nothing difficult.

At this point simply follow the footpath/bridle paths all the way along the Lich Way which will take you straight to Bagga tor. It’s worth taking your time between the range and reaching Bagga tor as there are some really stunning views across to Tavy Cleeve and all the surrounding tors. But don’t forget to look where you are treading, those very loose stony paths are an accident waiting to happen to the unsuspecting! Follow a short connecting piece of road at Higher Willsworthy before picking up the track again down to the river at Standon Steps. Again, some really nice scenery along the way.

From Standon Steps you need to pay attention as there didn’t appear to be many way points and it’s very easy to wander off the track. Stay right and hang onto the river rather than walk across any fields uphill!

Eventually a way point does direct you up to Bagga tor but another one of those horrible stony paths makes it an uncomfortable walk up the hill.

Lunch at Bagga tor with some incredible views and photo opportunities before heading straight up the hill to Lynch tor. Depending on your level of fitness this could be a challenging slope, with 21 kgs on my back I didn’t find the long walk to the top particularly easy! Very often you bump into people at the top of tors and although it was pretty quiet, I did manage to explain my challenge to the unsuspecting!

Not wishing to disturb them too long I set off toward White tor and then bumped into some more unsuspecting victims, I mean walkers! Some great stories to be told and still walking the wilds at eighty I was told, now that’s impressive. I think I need to catch up again to find out some more!

Now for the first, let’s call it a small lapse of concentration as I turned away and started walking. Now this wasn’t a navigational exercise, more an endurance challenge to get fit with bag weight on my back, and I will often just “walk free” see where I end up and then relocate for fun!

So, my aim was without using the map or compass was to see if I could land on the junction around White Barrow, turn right to the standing stone and on to White tor. Trouble was, I overshot, then something in my head suggested at a cairn I take a break and then see if I can spot the standing stone. Interesting when I looked back at the map on software, I went to Cocks Hill, but no sign of a cairn marked on the map where I sat at that point! Neither could I see the standing stone, which was strange as I think being up higher should have spotted it. One for another day, time to relocate.

Knowing roughly where I was, I headed toward Great Miss tor and the head of Dead Lake which I could make out. As I swung right looking toward White tor the standing stone came into view, an easy walk then up to White tor, back on track. Oh, and yes, if visibility was poor, I would have taken a bearing to the field system and handrailed to the tor!

From there easy walking past Stephen’s grave, up to Boulters tor and the footpath down to Cudliptown. If it’s wet that path can be a real mess, just saying. Following the road, I took the bridal path down to the river and up to Horndon. Another fun stone packed route, just love them!

An easy walk up to Zoar, sounds like a sci fi title “The village of Zoar”! Left to the Wheel Jewel reservoir and a careful check to make sure I took the right path to the main road. Continue on the path once over the road down to the road and old railway bridge.

From here it becomes very east to follow the road and on an obvious bend veer right onto the footpath. Simply stay on and follow the path all the way back onto the open moor below the firing range. Making sure you go straight ahead will bring you back up to the range itself and from that point it was just a matter of back tracking to the car park.

I didn’t get round to checking if you could walk the leat all the way round but a farmer on the look out for a reported sheep in the leat assured me there was a path. Don’t think they found any sheep so someone was having a laugh or reporting the wrong position possibly.

Overall, it was a tiring day but I felt satisfied I had completed a good day refining my challenge route. Over nine hours, thirty-one kilometres and 21 kilograms in my bag. I was getting in some sort of shape.



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