Monday, 14 January 2019

Gipsy Rock and Peek Hill

Lowery Tor
Lowery Tor

Today was going to be a revisit to one of Dartmoor's more dramatic landscapes; the area around Burrator Reservoir is like a mini Snowdonia as some often say. However, this route would also clear up some unbagged tors too, making all the public tors north of here bagged.

Parking below Peek Hill, on the B3212 road, we headed east, along easy, gentle moorland. This would then take us to the lane which heads past Gipsy Rock over a cattle grid.

At first, this diminutive metamorphic outcrop may seem insignificant and it is, but research finds that it is thought to have been the meeting place of the Walkhampton Hundred (administrative division) in Saxon times. There is also a speculative connection with Walkhampton Church, in that the building faces north-east, the point of sunrise on the longest day, rather than due east and Gipsy Rock is on this alignment.

Gipsy Rock
Gipsy Rock

Gipsy Rock
Gipsy Rock

Gipsy Rock
Gipsy Rock

Gipsy Rock
Gipsy Rock

A bit of backtracking led us back to the cattle grid, onto the open moor again, where we beelined up to Sharpitor. Whilst I do love the views from here this tor lacks character, as does Leather Tor, in that it really consists of a massive pile of boulders rather than an obvious outcrop.

Sharpitor (Walkhampton Common)
Sharpitor

Sharpitor (Walkhampton Common)
Sharpitor

Sharpitor (Walkhampton Common) and Mark
Sharpitor and Mark

Sharpitor (Walkhampton Common)
Sharpitor

From this lofty summit pile, Mark spotted, to the north, a small outlying outcrop. Stating that it is a separate outcrop, we investigated, negotiating the clitter. It was then I remembered that this was Rob Naylor's "Little Sharpitor". 

Sitting very near to Sharpitor, Rob's description tells us his reasoning; "On a whim I decided this little rocky outcrop deserved a name. It is set just enough away from Sharpitor to feel like a little rock island that deserves a little recognition." (SX 56032 70388)

Indeed, the jointing here is completely different and unrelated to its dominant neighbour, and this makes it feel more tor-like to me.

Little Sharpitor
Little Sharpitor

Little Sharpitor
Little Sharpitor

Little Sharpitor
Little Sharpitor

Little Sharpitor
Little Sharpitor

From this direction, Leather Tor is perhaps at its best vantage point, soaring into the sky like a dorsal fin. But like Sharpitor it is one mesh of granite blocks all piled up into one tight space. On this occasion we did not climb to the top; it was very windy and I remember that it is quite exposed.

Leather Tor
Leather Tor

Leather Tor
Leather Tor

Leather Tor
Leather Tor

Leather Tor
Leather Tor

I much prefer its lesser-known neighbour; Lower Leather Tor. This quite separate tor of three outcrops are much more elegant and photogenic than Leather itself. It seems to be a common theme in this area in that all the small tors are actually better.

Lower Leather Tor
Lower Leather Tor

Lower Leather Tor
Lower Leather Tor

Sharpitor, Leather Tor
Sharpitor, Leather Tor

Lower Leather Tor
Lower Leather Tor

Lower Leather Tor
Lower Leather Tor

Lower Leather Tor
Lower Leather Tor

Lower Leather Tor
Lower Leather Tor

We headed north, uphill, to avoid the obvious hill bog on our left. This would lead to a contouring but level path that leads to Lowery Tor. This tor has one of the best views, and it's not even a summit - Burrator Reservoir glistens in the Winter light, Sheeps Tor rises high above it, and the far-reaching views extend towards Plymouth Sound.

We had lunch here and enjoyed the vista.

Pony near Lowery Tor
Pony near Lowery Tor

Lowery Tor
Lowery Tor

Lowery Tor
Lowery Tor

Lowery Tor
Lowery Tor

Lowery Tor
Lowery Tor

Lowery Tor
Lowery Tor

Lowery Tor
Lowery Tor

It was a steep albeit short ascent to Peek Hill Tor, where a path leads right up to this scattering of non-granite rocks.

Peek Hill Tor
Peek Hill Tor

Peek Hill Tor
Peek Hill Tor

Peek Hill Tor
Peek Hill Tor

Peek Hill Tor
Peek Hill Tor

Water Board Post on Peek Hill?
Water Board Post on Peek Hill?

From here the car park was in reach, passing a solitary tree en route.

Beautiful Tree, Peek Hill
Beautiful Tree, Peek Hill