My biggest Dartmoor challenge EVER - Blog 47

July 13, 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 walk 35 – Return to Pork Hill car park!

Well, after an unscheduled week break for a variety of reasons, one being a leaking roof! I’m back on the moor.

A gentle stroll of 16 km around some familiar tors, if you can say carrying 30 kilos gentle! Familiar ground to a lot of people I suspect. Just checking to see what the impact of having a week off is before I throw myself back into another 30km attempt.

Starting from Pork Hill car park cross the road and veer left on a track to walk around the base of Cox tor. Follow the track until you reach the road, the easy option is to follow the road just before it turns into Higher Godsworthy. At that point turn right and follow the track parallel to the boundary wall. Keep going until you have Roos tor directly on your right, on your left you should see a footpath sign pointing across the field system.

Follow the sign and exit on the other side of the field. You’ll then be immediately faced with a stream, depending on weather depends on how full and fast this is. Today it was pretty full but at the right point, just need to look around, it remains easy to get across.

Once across with White tor ahead, simply pick your route up the hill until you reach the footpath that has Stephen’s Grave on it.

On the map there are two clear features you could follow. One is the footpath that continues to Stephen’s grave, the other is the stream to the right. Both will get you onto the track.

As I didn’t want to double back, I followed the stream.  It’s not a particularly difficult slope but again, with a heavy pack it still tested the lungs!

Following the path and with the field system on your right continue until you reach a point just beyond the end of the field system, for no other reason that to make it easy dropping down to the corner wall of the last field.

There’s a couple of streams that converge in this area and a fair bit of mining activity to negotiate, nothing too difficult. From here an opportunity to test my internal compass. How close can I get to the cairn at the brow of the hill? The answer was really close but the final act of landing on it was thwarted by a herd of cows. It almost looked like they were lined up like one of those duck shoots you get at a fair. Stood there all looking at me as I got closer. OK, close enough, you win, I’ll veer right and head off for Roos tor.

Really nothing exciting to mention walking to Roos tor, or the three Staple tors for that matter. Apart from, what fantastic views you get from each of them. Another area to return to with the camera after the challenge for some real photography!

Dropping down to Merrivale pick up the footpath that leads you all the way around to Vixen tor and onto the base of Pew tor. Met some more really nice people here, who again were happy to support my challenge. The people I continue to meet and the support they offer continues to amaze me, utterly brilliant.

Past Pew tor cottage, still on the path, drop down to the road, turn right and follow it to a road junction that has a track leading up to Pew tor at 45 degrees to the road, you can follow it to the top of the tor if the mood takes you but I wanted to ensure the distance I mapped was actually achieved today. It wasn’t that massive after all.

Turn right and follow the road passed Oakley cottage on your left. A further, approximately 250 meters there is a track that heads of ahead of you at roughly “2 o’clock”. I stayed to the left of the stream and continued following the track. You will come to a point where the stream branches left. Keeping relatively close to the boundary wall cross the stream branching left and continue pretty much in a straight line. On the map it is the double dotted line / track and not the footpath. This takes you over Barn Hill and back to the car park. You may also notice a short row of stones on your approach to the car park, not on the map, I am assured it is a stone row.

The weather was interesting, warm, sunny and muggy at the start making it a very sticky walk all the way to Roos tor, a ten-minute light shower threatened to clear the air but failed miserably!

Some great cloud formations and more sunny warm periods.

At Pew tor though it started to rain, just another light short shower I convinced myself.

One hour later, very wet as I failed to accept this was sticking around, I was almost back to the car. And, what a surprise, just as I approached the car it stopped and the sun came out again.

As a reference to just how warm it was, in about ten minutes my wet trousers where already practicably dry.

So, how did this short and simple revisit go, not bad but I was surprised just how quickly the body accustomed itself to walking without a heavy bag. Something to consider the week before I go, maybe some short distances carrying the weight as a little reminder of what’s to come!

 

Stats Day One

16 km distance

5 Hours duration

Average trip speed 3.0 km per hour

Average walking speed 5.2 km per hour

 


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