My biggest Dartmoor challenge EVER - Blog 28

May 15, 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.

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

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 16 – Another start from Manaton but this time taking in Lustleigh Cleave.

There are many ways you can enter the cleave but for my challenge purposes I only need to get to the tors so the easy road approach and entry via Foxworthy bridge. It was clear to see what an impact the last few days rain has had when you look over the bridge and seen how much higher the river levels are. A significant increase and faster flowing rivers.

Simply pick up the path and follow it through the cleave. Now depending on what you want to visit depends on which path you take. The main path that is sign posted to Hammerslake along the way, will take you through the very middle just above the river. To reach Sharp tor you can then turn left up the hill, which is about half way along the whole of the cleave.

However, about half way and where there was a sign post indicated straight ahead there was a path that went left and straight up the hill. Surely that would get me to Sharp tor quicker? I’ll need to investigate.

Well, it actually popped out just left of Harton’s Chest. This meant almost a kilometre to reach Sharp tor. It was still easier this route in then following the path all the way round!

There are also some amazing views across the valley to the moor opposite. At this time of year the blue bells look fantastic.

From Sharp tor to Hunter’s tor is nice and easy, just follow the track, just keep your wits about you as it is possible to wander off the track if you’re not paying attention. I did try to nail Raven’s tor from the path. It’s very tricky coming up from the river but just as difficult dropping down the path. This will be one of those tors under the “caveat” of safety, meaning get as close as possible.

From Hunter’s tor go through the gate and follow the sign posted footpath, it is very easy to drop down and back onto the road. They used to have pigs at Peck’s farm, must have gone to market as no sign of then on this trip!

As mentioned before there will be a reasonable amount of lane walking to connect some of the tors up so the next section involved just that. Not hugely exciting but does throw up the odd nice spot such as North Bovey by the river on the West side of the village. Despite the rain I found a bit of shelter and had lunch. I really need to start cutting lunch stop time down, getting a little too comfy sat down eating, sipping coffee and watching the world go by!

Lunch over and up the long steep hill to Canna Park. From here continue to follow the road to Jay’s grave. Got to say, this was a big piece of road to walk and because of that was a real challenge to stay focused just to keep walking, not a lot to occupy the mind!

More road until Hound tor car park and a quick water break.

Over the tor and down to Greator rocks. The weather was now starting to close in with the rocks coming and going in and out of sight with the mist.

The down to Becka Brook, with all the rain it wasn’t surprising to see the water running down the hill sides filling up every hole and divot in the path on its way to the river. The paths were already looking like rivers themselves; this is only the start of some water dropping back onto the moor!

From previous experience I know the climb up to Hole rock is a bit steepish, made a bit more challenging as I zig zagged up the hill to break up the steepness and avoid the building water runoff.

Made it to the top and at this point the mist had really dropped. Haytor rocks, nowhere to be seen, in fact I couldn’t see very much at all.


From Hole rock I was going to head toward the quarry, but this is where my sense of curiosity clipped a few kilometres off the total route distance. I spotted a wide path and without taking a bearing wasn’t sure where it actually went. I also have another confession, because I’m in an area where you can’t really get lost, I decided to just follow the path.


Now for some reason, I do this quite a bit when my curiosity is triggered, I just felt I should have been travelling further East so adjusted my direction. I recognised the area of trees I walked through from when I took my summer hill leaders exam and knew one of the paths in front of me led to the tramway and then the car park.

But I wasn’t going to take a bearing now, I just wandered along the path to see where it took me. Ultimately, I would hit the road below, so this would have been my safety check.

And so, it did, but not where I was originally planning.

In short, I had crossed over Black Hill and dropped down to the road close to the cattle grid. A quick check on the map and I was happy I was at the junction of the bridal path and the road. In fact, I had pretty much followed the dotted line indicated on the map over Black Hill. Something confirmed when I loaded and checked the route from the GPS, they have their uses!

 

From there, back on the road and all the way back to Manaton, all very straight forward with no issues surprisingly. There’s a couple of nice spots along the wat, Beckaford and New bridges are nice little coffee stops if you feel the need. Freeland is a nice little village that looks just like you would expect a Dartmoor village to look like, plus the pub.

 

This was day one of my first back-to-back walks and despite chopping off five kilometres from the original intention to hit 30 kilometres I felt good and could have continued so satisfied myself with the days walking.

 

Stats,

Total distance 25km

Total trip time 7.7 hours duration

Average trip time 3.2 km per hour

Average moving speed 5 km per hour

 

A good day and went home happy.

 


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