No L or E this time. Weather forecast said dry but low cloud so went for it. A chance to walk off Christmas dinner. Set off at about 10:50am. There were 14 cars on the side of the road and in the car park. The top kept peaking out of the low cloud.
Made it to Roy's hill straightforwardly doing my usual slow walk in a bid to save energy in case it turned out to be strenuous later. Inevitably this meant I was overtaken frequently. That's fine by me. Roy's hill is the usual turn back point for attempts with L & E but this time I was going to try and get that little bit further. Wind had built up by this point and the top was no longer visible. Carried on up the zigzags with wind getting stronger.
Met some people who had decided to turn back. Fair enough. If I had been with L & E I would probably have done the same. Anyway carried on in my usual slow way. Ice started appearing on the grass at the side of the path and the odd patch of frozen snow. Finally hit the summit plateau and the tors. Really dramatic looking in the mist and covered in ice.
Crawled effectively to the summit trig point since rock was so icy and wind really strong.
Found a lunch spot beyond the tor in the lee of the wind. Perfect.
Then came the howl. Like something on Dartmoor a hound's howl. Only it was sheep dog chasing a spaniel. Had a pleasant lunch despite the sheepdog prowling on the scrounge. It was friendly enough though. Finished lunch and headed back down. Wind really really strong. Took your breath away if you stood face into it. Had to walk sideways down the hill until came back out of the cloud. Uneventful return to the car. Glad to have finally done it but definitely will be back to explore the tors in better weather. Driving back into Dufftown, came across a sentinel weighing up visitors before letting them enter.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.