Thursday, 31 May 2018

Dartmoor: Kestor Rock and Thornworthy Tor in horrendous weather

Stone Tor

This was one of the weirdest walks I've done to date and that is mostly for the weather. Back at home, all was misty but I had seen Yes Tor glistening in the sun that morning on Facebook, so decided to wing it! Turned out to be a bad idea in the end, or did it? Spoiler: I still attained two new bags out of it, and two revisits, but I did miss out on a further three new bags! 

We parked up on the road verge near Batworthy Corner (SX 66299 86700) to head initially south-west up and over Shovel Down, which proved to be our (my) first mistake of the day. I didn't realise the grass would be so high and it wasn't easy for the Dogs and the family hated me! However, there were some interesting antiquities en route including a stone row.

Shovel Down stone row

Then we proceeded, bearing left, around a bog, to reach Stonetor Hill, or Stone Tor as I prefer. This is a strange tor that is best described as a ruined tor, and it is somewhat akin to Coombe Down Tor.

Stone Tor looking towards Teignhead Farm

Stone Tor

Stone Tor

Stone Tor

Stone Tor

We didn't linger long, as the clouds darkened, so we made for Fernworthy Forest. I have been here twice before, on Ten Tors training walks, usually at the end so didn't take much notice back then. It is a very nice plantation, as we skirted its northern side, to try and find a gate onto Thornworthy Down.

Ladder stile above Stone Tor

Fernworthy Forest

Finding the gate proved a lot more difficult than I had anticipated and getting back to the car was more of a priority now. We found it, crossed a stream in a quick search of a possible lost outcrop, or outlier, south of Thornworthy Tor. 

Stream crossing

At SX 66302 84850 there is a huge flat outcrop near the path, where I had to negotiate Cows. It is a fair distance away from the main tor north and about 30 metres lower. I had been alerted to this feature via our Tors and Rocks Facebook Group by a fellow member, Dave Hamnett, who had found this outcrop.

He had previously suggested Lower Thornworthy Tor as an appropriate name and I personally feel this is quite apt. So I will stick with it until any further notice of a name change but I do feel this as a separate bag in itself. Certainly, it is just as decent and worthy of a visit.

Lower Thornworthy Tor quarried rock face

Lower Thornworthy Tor quarried rock face

Lower Thornworthy Tor

Lower Thornworthy Tor

From here, it the short steep ascent to Thornworthy Tor. This was a revisit, but one I quite like. I love the classic view of the reservoir and the logan stone. This is where it all went downhill.

Having my Strawberries, we all noticed Cosdon Hill covered in a mist, heading towards Steeperton Tor; on my other side, Easdon Down and Shapley Tor disappeared. Minutes later, Assycombe Hill goes and we make a move - sooner rather than later...

Thornworthy Tor

Thornworthy Tor

Thornworthy Tor

We headed through a gate, and regrettably missed out on a visit to Frenchbeer Rock, Middle Tor and Little Kes Tor (there's a bog that way anyway) for safety reasons - so kept on up to Kestor Rock, my 3rd visit! Once reached, we ran down to the car park pretty wet! An adventure to say the least :-)

Kes Tor

Kes Tor

Kes Tor

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