Monday, 18 March 2019

Dartmoor: The Tors and Rocks East of Princetown

Round Hill Tor

Today's aim was to bag five new tors to the east of Princetown, an area I hadn't really explored before apart from scaping the south-east side on a Ten Tors training walk. So, were we successful? Yes and no is the answer!

Set off from Princetown past the drinking fountain to Bachelor's Hall, the weather changed in an instant as it usually does up here. What were cloud and sun changed into a hail shower which caused us to seek shelter immediately, although that was out of the question so we used our hoods to act as an impenetrable barrier.

Princetown Drinking Fountain

Princetown Drinking Fountain

Devonport Leat

After crossing the leat I noticed that we could turn left here as well ad right, so we opted for the former option to make this walk more of a circular. It took us to Bachelor's Hall itself, past some ponies, and in order to continue, we had to ford the stream. 

Both across, we ascended the small hill where we heard a bang behind us only to realise the hail had started again and that the ponies were more scared than we were. At the gate, we found it was locked so we had to climb it. I took about 10 mins trying to get over as this was quite a difficult gate to get a firm grip on.

A minor track first hugs the wall before making for the footbridge below Round Hill Tor, our first bag. The sun reappeared as we crossed the Blackabrook River to begin the easy ascent up to the tor. I really wanted to hate Round Hill Tor, but its outcrops are very good and it is quite a substantial lesser-known tor.

Round Hill Tor

Round Hill Tor

Round Hill Tor

Round Hill Tor

We returned to the footbridge where Blakey Tor, our next stop, lay ahead.

Footbridge

We tried to beeline from here to Blakey Tor, almost contouring the hillside, but when nearing the tor, we were stopped by a bog which is clearly marked on old OS maps. As the old maps suggest, a path does cut through the bog, but it would mean we'd get wet boots. With no other option, we forded the minor stream, where I went flying!

Eventually, we arrived at the first outcrop, nicknamed 'the mushroom'. 

'The Mushroom', looking to Round Hill Tor

Blakey Tor itself is a stupendous lesser-known tor which has a lonely feel attached to it. Why, because it's off the beaten track and does not feature on any OS maps. The main stack is impressive and the vista is wonderful.

Blakey Tor

Blakey Tor

Blakey Tor

We took a quick rest on Blakey Tor before beelining to the gate at SX 6156 7387. This involved slippery rocks and tussock (elephant) grass.

Prince Hall Rocks are a bit confusing to the new tor bagger as there appear to be two obvious piles opposing each other across the Blackabrook River, but there is a third, described by Ken Ringwood, at SX 6141 7410. I loosely accept that all three piles go under the same name, but if you are feeling generous you can split them into south, north and Ringwood. 

Before crossing the wobbly bridge, the south rocks were first.

Prince Hall Rocks (south)

Access Bridge

Private Access - Anglers Only. This makes no sense as this area is open access land.

The north rocks were a bit better.

Prince Hall Rocks (north)

Prince Hall Rocks (north)

Prince Hall Rocks (north), looking towards Blakey Tor

Prince Hall Rocks (north)

Then, to complete the bag, Ringwood's site.

Prince Hall Rocks (Ringwood)

Prince Hall Rocks (Ringwood)

We retraced back to the gate to beeline yet again, though this time to the Crock of Gold Cist and Cairn Circle. It wasn't a long traverse but it sure felt like it.

Crock of Gold

Crock of Gold

Crock of Gold

The route back couldn't have been simpler: take the obvious track towards Bullpark and Bachelor's Hall to meet up with the leat again. Back in the town (village) centre, we paid a visit to the Fox Tor Cafe as it would be rude not too!

Driving back, we decided to park at Badgers Holt to visit Badgers Holt Tor, a tor I've bagged before but not in such good light. A fine way to end the trip.

Badgers Holt Tor

Badgers Holt Tor

Badgers Holt Tor

Badgers Holt Tor

Badgers Holt Tor

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