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3 Days on North Dartmoor

3 Days on North Dartmoor


Postby houdi » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:04 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: High Willhays

Date walked: 05/12/2010

Time taken: 4

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Only been a member of the Forum since August so I’ve never seen any Dartmoor Walk reports before. Anyway, this report covers 3 different days on North Dartmoor over 2 weekends.

Saturday, 27th November
I was supposed to go to coast path walking at Hartland Point, North Devon, but weather reports changed my mind at the last minute and I ended up on North Dartmoor. Surprised to see a couple of inches of snow up there as there was nothing on the Southern part of the moors. I set off from Meldon reservoir near Oakhampton with the intention of doing a circular route through the old quarry and up the Red-a-ven valley to West Mill Tor, followed by Yes Tor & High Willhays and then down the West Oakmeet valley back to Meldon. It didn’t quite turn out that way. There was a lot of fog on the high moors and I abandoned my walk at Yes Tor, seeing as I wasn’t going to get any decent long range views for photos, and returned to the car. Have to say it was perishing up there with a biting cold wind. Even the ponies looked hacked off.
Time: 3 hours

Dart1.JPG
Meldon Reservoir


Dart2.JPG
Red-a-ven Valley


Dart3.JPG
Looking back across the tiny disused Red-a-ven Reservoir


Dart4.JPG
West Mill Tor


Dart5.JPG
Yes Tor


Dart6.JPG
A misty Yes Tor summit


Dart7.JPG
Dartmoor ponies shelter from the biting wind at West Mill Tor


Dart8.JPG
A wild camp on North Dartmoor



Sunday, 28th November
Totally different weather today. Blue skies and no wind at all. I headed for Belstone village on the North Moors with no particular route in mind. The snow was slightly deeper on Belstone Tor and the connecting ridge even though it is not as high as nearby Yes Tor. Ended up doing a round of Belstone Tor, Oke Tor, East Mill Tor (my first time on this one as it is remote from any of the adjacent ridges) and then back to Belstone. It was getting dark by the time I reached my car which will teach me to set off earlier in future and not one o’clock on a winter’s afternoon.
Time: 3.5 hours

Dart9.JPG
Oakhampton firing range flag pole at Belstone


Dart10.JPG
Belstone Tor


Dart11.JPG
Looking across to West Mill Tor, Yes Tor, & High Willhays from Belstone Tor


Dart12.JPG
South view from Higher Tor


Dart13.JPG
Cosdon Hill


Dart14.JPG
Oke Tor & Steeperton Tor


Dart15.JPG
Army hut at Oke Tor


Dart16.JPG
Frozen puddle on East Mill Tor – this would be classed as a tarn in the Lake District!



Sunday, 5th December
What a difference a week makes. Very mild the previous day on the South Devon coast and the rain melted away all the snow from the moors. Left from Meldon again but did a reverse circuit starting with Sourton Tor, followed by Corn Ridge, Black Tor, High Willhays, Yes Tor, and then back to Meldon. Had to take my jacket off at one point as I was starting to work up a bit of a sweat. Crazy, eh? The rest of the country is gripped by Artic conditions (more snow up north today, Monday 6th, but gorgeous blue skies again here) and there’s me wandering around the moors in a light fleece. That’s South Devon for you.

One of the most disappointing aspects of Dartmoor is that pathetic excuse for a Hewitt, High Willhays. Take away the very nicely constructed 6ft pyramid shaped cairn and it is just a couple of flat rocks that you would walk past on the way to Dinger Tor under normal circumstances. Whether or not it is the highest point is questionable to say the least. If you look at my picture Dart18 then one of those very minute pimples on the ridge to the right of Yes Tor is High Willhays. I have viewed it from both sides on numerous occasions and it looks miles lower than Yes Tor. Either the OS bloke who took the spot heights was drunk or his theodolite was playing up. In any case, Low Willhays……. sorry, High Willhays isn’t even a tor. Yes Tor is the highest tor on Dartmoor and it should be Dartmoor’s highest point. Sort it out, OS.
Time: 4 hours

Dart17.JPG
Sourton Tor


Dart18.JPG
West Mill, Yes Tor, & High Willhays from from Sourton Tor


Dart19.JPG
Sourton Tor from Corn Ridge


Dart20.JPG
Branscombe Loaf on Corn Ridge. West Mill & Yes Tor in the background


Dart21.JPG
Meldon Reservoir & Viaduct


Dart22.JPG
Looking to Yes Tor from High Willhays


Dart23.JPG
Great Links Tor backdrop


Dart24.JPG
Yes Tor warning flagpole & trig point
houdi
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Posts: 288
Munros:93   Corbetts:1
Grahams:3   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:74
Wainwrights:48   
Joined: Aug 29, 2010
Location: South Devon

Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby skuk007 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:34 pm

Nice report and pictures houdi, good to see some walks a little bit closer to my neck of the woods.
It does look freezing on that first day, did you really camp out in that? No wonder you stayed in late. :)
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skuk007
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Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby houdi » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:43 pm

Now you are joking! That wasn't my camp. Never saw any signs of the owner of that tent though.
houdi
Rambler
 
Posts: 288
Munros:93   Corbetts:1
Grahams:3   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:74
Wainwrights:48   
Joined: Aug 29, 2010
Location: South Devon

Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby tango » Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:55 pm

He is probably dead inside (frozen). Dartmoor is best walked in the winter less tourist & harder to map read, also a little spooky without sounding too much like a wooze!!!! (pc)
tango
 

Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby houdi » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:07 pm

I agree, but getting on the damn thing when there's a decent snowfall is a real problem. Last year all the roads were inaccesible, including the main Mortonhamstead to Postbridge road. When it snows then North Dartmoor is the place to be and the only real parking access options are Oakhampton station and then walking along the granite way to Meldon to get on to West Mill & Yes Tor, or parking just off the A30 at Sourton (best option, I feel). I'm afraid this isn't the Highlands here and the roads aren't cleared quite so readily. I doubt if they even know what a snowplough looks like in Devon.
houdi
Rambler
 
Posts: 288
Munros:93   Corbetts:1
Grahams:3   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:74
Wainwrights:48   
Joined: Aug 29, 2010
Location: South Devon

Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby mountain coward » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:44 pm

I bet those poor ponies are glad of those tors to shelter from those biting winds!
mountain coward
 

Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby monty » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:17 pm

Brings back memories. Thanks :D
monty
 

Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby houdi » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:30 pm

No wind on the Sunday and the ponies looked all the better for it.

Ponies at Belstone Tor.JPG
houdi
Rambler
 
Posts: 288
Munros:93   Corbetts:1
Grahams:3   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:74
Wainwrights:48   
Joined: Aug 29, 2010
Location: South Devon

Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby mountain coward » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:37 pm

I feel so sorry for grazing animals this last 3 winters - by the time they've acquired food, they've used up all the energy it provided! :(
mountain coward
 

Re: 3 Days on North Dartmoor

Postby houdi » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:44 pm

Dartmoor ponies are better off than grazing animals in the rest of the country. In real terms Dartmoor gets very little snow. Hoping for some next week though!
houdi
Rambler
 
Posts: 288
Munros:93   Corbetts:1
Grahams:3   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:74
Wainwrights:48   
Joined: Aug 29, 2010
Location: South Devon

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