Saturday, 9 February 2013

February 2013 - Tour of the Dartmoor Tors

I had rather hoped I had done the last planning page after I had prepared "Planning the last 12 Outstanding English Nuttalls". However due to either my inability to create sustainable persistent page anchors within blogger or bloggers inability to maintain the link means I cannot point to the 3 individual sections for Cold Fell, Dartmoor and the Lake District within that page.

I have therefore quickly created this page the day before I travel to Devon to include the revised route for Yes Tor.

The two Nuttalls in Dartmoor are just over ½ mile apart and can be visited during the same walk but as Devon is so far away from Suffolk I have allowed 3 days to do the one walk, just in case the weather is too bad for walking. This hopefully will leave two days spare which can be used for bagging a few Deweys. Both walks are in excess of 10 miles with an option to cut them down to about eight if fitness or the conditions demand. But all things being equal they should provide a good fitness test with 30.28 miles of walking and 1894m of ascent in 3 days.

The 2 English Nuttalls south of where I live
The only 2 English Nuttalls south of Derbyshire are Yes Tor & High Willays in Dartmoor. They are therefore the only ones south of where I live in Suffolk and not really on the way to any other Mountain area in England and therefore require a special trip, which cannot reasonably be tagged on to another trip to The Lake District or any other area. This is reason these peaks have not been visited already and I want to get them ticked off sooner rather than later so they are not last by default.

High Willays & Yes Tor
February 2013 has been scheduled for the trip to Dartmoor. Although Gina won't let me go off on my own this year she does not seem all that keen to wander around Dartmoor in the middle of Winter. However that is not a problem, my mate Clive promised to carry me up the last 12 Nuttalls when he visited me in hospital last August 2012 so feel it is only fair to avail him of this opportunity.

A trip from Monday to Friday staying, at Oakhampton Youth Hostel, will allow three days in Devon giving us flexibility to pick the best day weather wise to complete the one walk necessary to visit Devon's County Top and her sister 2000ft top nearby. The other 2 days will allow us to bag some of the smaller but by no means less difficult Tors or if the weather is bad discover some of the local English Heritage sights in the area.

Studying the route to the right shows most of the walk will be along unfenced track. and even though it is not marked on the map I suspect this track will extend at least as a path to the summit of Yes Tor. There is also an unfenced track between the two summits.

The final check to make before setting off to Devon is to confirm there are not any MOD live firing exercises. Details of access can be found on theMOD firing-programme website.

Yes Tor and High Willhays
Hopefully the weather will be kind and we will get out on the first walking day which is Tuesday 12 February 2013. The original planned walk was a circular walk from Okehampton Youth Hostel, however to try and bag as many tops as possible I have given the option to continue on to The Dartmoor Inn from High Willhays via Amicombe Hill [Kitty Tor] and Great Links Tor. This may well give the opportunity to have a couple of pints in the Dartmoor Inn then catching the bus back to Okehampton
Post trip analysis
Following southerly descent of High Willhays, the plan was to cross the West Okement River on the civil parish boundary at Sandy Ford. Although we could see a muddy path where others had crossed the recent rains had raised the level and width of the ford to nearly knee depth. We therefore decided to track up stream to cross and when after 1km in boggy ground and still no crossing we decided to head home without bagging the minor peaks of Kitty Tor and Great Links Tor. Not a problem apart from adding 4 miles to the walk but the main objective of the walk and indeed the trip to bag the only two Nuttalls in Dartmoor had been achieved on the first day. See Yes Tor & High Willhays for full route details and description

Extra Walk No1 (Princetown Tors)
This is a walk that can be completed without entering the military firing ranges. As it turns out the one scheduled live firing day for Thursday has been cancelled so a slight shortcut can be taken along the footpath to the south of the Okehampton Range firing area.

Post trip analysis
Planned walk for second day of trip but as it was pouring with rain so we wimped out and had a train ride from Exeter to Plymouth.

Extra Walk No2 (Hangingstone Hill)
At 12.62 miles this will be the longest walk of the trip.The priority will always be to do Yes Tor first, but after that it will depend on the weather and of course how we feel. I know Clive wants to see Dartmoor Prison (not sure why) so I would say we will do Princetown Tors 2nd after Yes Tor. That means we will only do this one if we do not (a) have a bad weather day (b) we are not too tired. That set the day for this walk on Thursday 14 February 2013.

Post trip analysis
With only 1 walking day left and a choice of two extra walks we chose this one for is locality to where we were staying at Okehampton Youth Hostel. Walk was completed more or less to plan visiting all three peaks in addition to coming across the Stone Circle near Hound Tor and the Stone Row on the east side of Cosden Hill.

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If you have visited any of the peaks, places or areas mentioned on this page/post and have photo albums, routes, blog or web page please put the URL here.
I will then include link on this page.
The aim is to provide alternative routes for all visitors (be they new or regular visitors) giving information about places of interest or features to look out for whilst out on the hill.
Like-wise if you have a similar facility on your page I would appreciate a link to this page.