Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Finding the elusive Lowton Borough Rocks

Lowton Borough Rocks (east)
Lowton Borough Rocks (east)

Following on from my Chagford to Manaton blog post linked HERE the main objective of the day was to go and find this bloody tor, known also as Lowton Tor and Loughten Tor. I had attempted once before, but failed; link HERE.

Today, however, I was armed with all the necessary equipment, other than secateurs: a waterproof, thick-lined jacket with hood; fueled up with the strength to battle the elements otherwise known as developing saplings; and the achievement of getting put of Fernworthy Forest altogether.

Now, I understand that two of the points I just said are mental, and if I were to have a mental breakdown from claustrophobia then I'd be stuck deep. I tried not to rethink my plans; this was it, this was why I was here, this is my tor bagging journey if you like and I hope you'll find some entertainment reading this adventure.

Fallen tree means you're close to Loughten Tor
Fallen tree means you're close to Loughten Tor

I left the good track and made for the fallen tree. A wall of tightly placed saplings, if you can call them that (I think they're big enough to be called trees) lay in my direct route to the tor. It was just a case of relying on my GPS, trying to not veer off course, and watch my footing.

But I could barely see the ground, not helped by me trying to avoid having my eye poked in the process. It was a challenging task that took ages with one simple, inevitable barrier; trees! More difficult than Barracott Tor in the Summer.

Eventually, I got there and you are welcomed by a small clearing. Circumnavigating the tor was impossible but I sat atop the tor and admired the distant views. Only joking, the views of trees, trees and more trees.

Lowton Borough Rocks (east)
Lowton Borough Rocks (east)

Lowton Borough Rocks (east)
Lowton Borough Rocks (east)

Lowton Borough Rocks (east)
Lowton Borough Rocks (east)

Lowton Borough Rocks (east)
Lowton Borough Rocks (east)

Lowton Borough Rocks (east)
Lowton Borough Rocks (east)

Lowton Borough Rocks (east)
Lowton Borough Rocks (east)

What became apparent was the abundance of pine needles attached to both my jacket and my rucksack. Even my clothing was quite damp because I suppose trees like to hold water and then release it on its victims? Well, no one is more stupid than me as to visit this tor, alone. 

I then had to fight my way back through the trees, Loughten Tor disappearing immediately. I had the right to leave now, but being the guy I was, had to visit the smaller western outcrop. I didn't like this one at all - a very overgrown outcrop with a slippery surface. You could barely breathe.

Lowton Borough Rocks (west)
Lowton Borough Rocks (west)

Lowton Borough Rocks (west)
Lowton Borough Rocks (west)

Lowton Borough Rocks (west)
Lowton Borough Rocks (west)

Lowton Borough Rocks (west)
Lowton Borough Rocks (west)

The tor bagging had been done, and it was surprisingly easy getting out from this horrible forest. Back onto more solid ground, I contemplated that I had just experience and you have to be in the situation to emphasise the pain. That said, I hope the photos did justice.

But to end on a high, I would recommend visiting in a few years time where it is possible to walk under the trees when they're fully grown rather than crawl under them. I am relieved that I survived the whole thing really! For a less dramatic blog click HERE.