Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Dartmoor: Bonehill Down and clearing up some stragglers on Haytor Down (Part 2)

Little Holwell Tor

So continuing my somewhat circular walk from Part 1, I ascended Black Hill from Lower Leighon Tor to the summit cairn at 412m, ignoring the north summit. This was a rather rough section but before reaching the top, I stumbled upon two small granite outcrops, later finding out their name of 'Black Hill Rocks North'.

Black Hill Rocks North

Black Hill Rocks North

There are three cairns that I know of on and around the main summit (not the north one), but the highest is in the best condition.

Cairn on Black Hill (Haytor Down)

Tough going

Black Hill (Haytor Down)

Just below this, on the western side, there is a fine emergent tor known as Black Hill Rocks. This tor hides its best side where the ground rises so you must view it from below to appreciate its size which OS Maps fail to represent.

Black Hill Rocks

Black Hill Rocks

Black Hill Rocks

Black Hill Rocks

Black Hill Rocks

Descending to Leighon Tor through the bracken wasn't easy since the loose rock (clitter) increased the risk of breaking an ankle. But I arrived unharmed at the large pile providing good views of Hound Tor Combe.

Leighon Tor

Leighon Tor

I contoured the hill to my next bag; Hole Rock. This is a small granite outcrop that, like Leighon Tor, has nice views but fails to provide interest. Instead, I was drawn to the Hawthorn!

Hole Rock

Hole Rock

Hole Rock

Bagging was now coming thick and fast, which I liked :-) The next stop was the huge Smallacombe Rocks. I have seen this tor from many angles, and shame on me for never visiting before.

It is a beautiful tor and had I had more time and the bracken low, I would've explored the lower levels probably from the bottom to the top (a good scramble that would be). I will not give this tor a biased review but when I arrived, there were a couple of families trying some rock climbing, fine. I tried to summit but then come three angry ponies shooing me off!

How rude.

Smallacombe Rocks

Smallacombe Rocks

Three angry ponies at Smallacombe Rocks

Smallacombe Rocks

Next come some curious Cows, approaching too quick for me to hesitate. So I was off like a shot, passed some quarry workings onto the Templer Way, to the gorgeous Holwell Tor. Why did I wear red? That's Bulls though, isn't it?

This tor is very similar to Smallacombe Rocks, in that the summit is flat and almost uninspiring; visit the lower levels for a better view. The views were great, and a perfect spot for lunch.

Holwell Tor

Holwell Tor

Holwell Tor

Holwell Tor

Heading south, I came to yet another of Tim's discoveries; Little Holwell Tor. Another personal favourite tor of the trek, this one is for the tor enthusiast. I love the rock stack and the outcrops are more obvious and prominent. Much better than Holwell Tor in my opinion.

Little Holwell Tor

Little Holwell Tor

It was getting really hot now, and so I was being mindful of Adders, especially through the bracken. I made sure I stomped that little bit harder to alert them of my presence. 

I got back on track, where I ignored Emsworthy Rocks and went in search of Little Emsworthy found by Tim Jenkinson. Ken Ringwood remarks that compared to Emsworthy Rocks it is ''insignificant''. By far is it not! There are many fascinating outcrops lower down that are well worth the clamber. 

See for yourself.

Little Emsworthy

Little Emsworthy

Little Emsworthy

Little Emsworthy

Little Emsworthy

Emsworthy Rocks, although being the largest tor not named on OS Maps, is famous for its Hawthorn tree. It didn't really cross my mind to find it, but I must've been on the wrong side of the tor, one for next time.

Could this be Whortleberry Rock mentioned by Hemery?

Could this be Whortleberry Rock mentioned by Hemery?

Emsworthy Rocks... oh, how do I get down?

The last tor of the trip was close by, called Fitches' Holt. It is mentioned by Hemery and so included on the bagging list. It is a curious granite outcrop, that is blocky but is a great place to stop, knowing that car parks are 2 minutes away.

Fitches' Holt

Fitches' Holt

Fitches' Holt

Fitches' Holt

Boundary Stone 'I' for Ilsington


Now I had some time left, so considered a quick search of another outcrop curiously named as Blacksmith's Shop. Once again, Cattle got in my way and acted aggressively. They were in a large group, and I didn't fancy being trampled alive. 

What is up with the animals on Haytor Down?