Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Dartmoor: The Tors on Walkhampton Common (Revisit)

Ingra Tor Pony

This was another unexpected walk weather wise. It was supposed to be thick mist and cloud, and we expected a claggy day ahead, almost cancelling. But the Met Office couldn't have been any more wrong had they even tried. The weather was gorgeous.

I left Abbotskerswell in the mist, pessimistic about what Dartmoor was going to offer us today, yet Dartmoor is a whole other forecast in itself, and what the weather stations say is always (mostly) wrong.

Tim and I drove onto the moor, heading to Princetown, experiencing some of the best mist inversions I've ever seen, one at Spitchwick, another at Dartmeet - two valleys. We met Paul in Princetown to begin our walk, following the old Princetown Railway.

Walkhampton Common, from Princetown Railway

Walkhampton Common, from Princetown Railway

This was the best route to Leeden Tor, as if we were to beeline from Princetown we would be met by deep bog, and no one would opt for that, would they?

We bagged Fur Tor and Yes Tor (whichever way round you place them) in quick succession, noticing a lesser known plaque beside the railway bridge, dedicated to Roger Glanville. The significance in this person I do not know. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Yes Tor Bridge

Yes Tor (Walkhampton)

Yes Tor (Walkhampton)

Yes Tor (Walkhampton)

Roger Glanville Memorial Rock '1920 - 2010'

Roger Glanville Memorial Rock '1920 - 2010'

Fur Tor has not one but two tilted rock basins, on a boulder that appears to have rolled down the hill from somewhere. Much of the tor is bedrock, though, so maybe its lower section is actually Yes Tor and it's the railway that separates them both.

Fur Tor (Walkhampton)

Fur Tor (Walkhampton)

Fur Tor (Walkhampton)

Rock Basins, Fur Tor (Walkhampton)

From the track, so-called Crip Tor (Criptor) is visible, the outcrop on the farm. It is mentioned by Ken Ringwood but I am not sure; I feel that the easternmost outcrop of Swell Tor Quarry is the location, being marked as such on the Tithe Map for the Parish of Walkhampton, and in Mike Brown's "Gazetteer of Dartmoor Names" as south-east of the aforementioned quarry. It is Mrs. Bray, who calls the tor "Inclined Plane Tor" which, if you try to imagine planes of that time (19th century) makes sense.

I am still a firm believer that Ken's outcrop is a small tor, but it's the name I am not convinced at. Nevertheless, I have bagged both.

Crip Tor (Ringwood)

Crip Tor (Ringwood)

Vixen Tor above Vixen Tor Cottage

We decided, since it was so close, to take in Ingra Tor. It is more of a diversion than it looks if you are planning on heading straight up to Leeden Tor from Fur Tor, but it's a better tor than I last remember; a long ridge of ruined granite, a quarry, its best outcrops on the western side.

Ingra Tor 'Johnson's Quarry'

Ingra Tor shallow rock basin sunburst

Ingra Tor Pony

Ingra Tor

Ingra Tor logan stone on the west side of the tor

Ingra Tor

We weren't in a rush at all and the weather was amazing, the light for example. But, to my disappointment, no new tors were bagged as of yet. That was all to change after Leeden Tor. After consulting Josephine Collingwood's Dartmoor Tors Compendium, I found out that Leeden's southern stack possesses five rock basins. However, these are really difficult to see at close quarters and, without ropes or proper climbing experience, I wouldn't recommend it.

Leeden Tor

Leeden Tor

Leeden Tor

Leeden Tor

Now it was time to go in search for a new outcrop; Little Leeden Tor. Well, I wouldn't say "search" as it is obvious, some 200 metres away from the main tor up on high. Rob Naylor first calls it "Leedon Tor Outlier Stack" on Dartefacts. (SX 5618 7163)

Little Leeden Tor

Little Leeden Tor

Little Leeden Tor

Little Leeden Tor

We stumbled over one of my favourite features on Dartmoor; clitter fields. This one could've been easily avoided but we wanted the most direct route to Black Tor (Walkhampton Common) as possible.

I love Black Tor. Every time I visit I fall in love with the outcrops, logan stone and views. Yet it is a five-minute walk from the road. I reckon the tor is so quiet because it looks awful from the road, tucked away below the hilltop.

Black Tor logan stone

Rock Basin atop logan stone

Black Tor (Walkhampton Common)

Black Tor (Walkhampton Common)

Black Tor (Walkhampton Common)

Black Tor (Walkhampton Common) and Paul Buck taking in the views

Black Tor Falls, our next waypoint, is just below the tor on the River Meavy (Mewy). The water tumbles over a large granite boulder below a large (for The Moor) tree. 

It was just upstream from here that we crossed on a small iron bridge, up the hill to the Hart Tor Stone Row, just downhill from the next tor; Hart Tor, if you haven't guessed already.

Black Tor Falls

Crossing the Meavy

Hart Tor stone row

Hart Tor stone row

Hart Tor is a nice tor, nothing massive, impressive or stupendous. Just enough to satisfy a tor bagger such as myself. I took the opportunity to take to a small snack, a muffin, whilst Paul and Tim patiently waited for me!

It's called Tor Sitting!

Hart Tor (Walkhampton Common)

Hart Tor (Walkhampton Common)

Hart Tor (Walkhampton Common)

Hart Tor (Walkhampton Common)

We deviated off route a little, trying to make for the path that leads to Cramber Tor, over Hart Tor Brook. The Giants' Marble which is en route is a magnificent boulder covered in all types of lichen and moss you could ever imagine. (SX 5823 7169)

Approaching The Giants' Marble

The Giants' Marble

Me at The Giants' Marble - pic by Paul Buck

We all took different routes over Hart Tor Brook, Paul wading it immediately without any second thoughts. I looked further upstream, as did Tim, and we found a narrow spot to step (or, in my case, jump) across.

Cramber Tor is a very disappointing, almost laughable tor to me, appearing like a large cairn from the B3212 road. It is a very lowly outcrop on the western side of Cramber Ridge having no stature, or interest other than the great views. That said it is the perfect place for a picnic and I doubt you'll see anyone else.

Cramber Tor

Cramber Tor

Cramber Tor

'P.H' on Cramber Tor- what does it mean?

The walk over to the trig point, eastward, was a soggy affair, but a good laugh at times. It wasn't a dry walk.

Cramber Trig Point with Paul Buck

We took the long(er) track that terminates at the track starting back down at Gutter Tor, ending up in Princetown, making for South Hessary Tor. A long time not seeing everyone the walk turned, becoming very busy with a few spits of rain here and there. 

Having a short break at the tor I heard a voice, at least one, finding out that they were my friends from school, training for Ten Tors 2019. They had walked out from Postbridge, past Braddon Tor, Rough Tor, Beardown Tors, onto Peat Cot, and were now heading back to Four Winds via North Hessary Tor.

Approaching South Hessary Tor

South Hessary Tor

South Hessary Tor

Cobra! (boundary marker)

South Hessary Tor Ten Tors Buddies

This was an excellent walk, and I am very grateful to both Paul and Tim for their company. The weather had been kind too, and to top off the day we treated ourselves to the Fox Tor Cafe, just as it started to rain.

I never post photos of food on this blog, but I thought that I would this time because it was so good. I love the Fox Tor Cafe, you can't fault it.

Fox Tor Cafe Triple Decker

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