Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Yes Tor and High Willhays

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 12 February 2013
Walkers - Steve Smith, Clive Kirk
Accommodation - Okehampton Youth Hostel
Start Point - Okehampton Youth Hostel (GR SX59229 94372)
Start Time - 09:32
Finish Point - Okehampton Youth Hostel (GR SX59229 94372)
Finish Time - 16:28
Duration - 6hrs 56mins
Average pace - 2.03mph
Distance Walked - 14.09miles
Height Ascended - 898.87metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (253)
Yes Tor (243)
High Willhays (244)
Hewitts (178)
High Willhays (173)
Marilyns (176)
High Willhays (57)
HuMPs (444)
High Willhays (100)


Walk Summary
There are only two Nuttalls in Dartmoor and both are within ½ mile of each other so can be completed on the same walk, but as Devon is over 300 miles from home it seems a long way to go for just one days walking. So I planned three walks with the focus of the other two being 7 of the 13 Deweys also in Dartmoor.
Furthermore it is a bit optimistic to pick one day about 3 weeks in advance and expect the weather to be at least dry. While I am prepared to go out in all weathers I would much sooner complete these last few hills in reasonable conditions without getting soaked, hence allowed three days to complete this one walk.
Originally I planned this walk to be a circular walk returning back to Okehampton from High Willhays, but as I had two other walks to bag 7 Dewey's I thought I might as well make this a point to point walk and bag two more; Kitty Tor and Great Links Tor, finishing at The Dartmoor Inn or Fox & Hounds and get the Tavistock to Barnstaple bus back to Okehampton.
The two Nuttalls of Yes Tor & High Willhays were reached in just over two hours so all boded well as we sat down for lunch on the east side of the West Okement River. However as we ascended to Sandyford to get across it seemed to get very wet underfoot very quickly and the ford was a lot wider and deeper than the map suggested. No problem we will just head south towards the head of the river and double back.
1km and 40mins of hard walking further upstream as well as being forced away from the river by boggy ground we decided to cut our losses and head back to Okehampton over Lints Tor. At least that way we would save ourselves the bus fare.
Both Clive and myself have made worse crossings (See Ulscarf aborted) but if it is not absolutely necessary or we are not within the end of the walk neither of us felt it was necessary to wade at least calf deep across a river we did not have to cross.
We took this decision about 13:30 and was home within 3 hours well before dusk, but the time spent unsuccessfully looking for a river crossing and the extra mileage to double back meant we had walked just over 14 miles rather that the planned 10.
The furthest I had walked since my illness last year, but best of all without any ill effects - proving I am now fully recovered.

Walk Description
1.) Exit Youth Hostel on to Klondyke Road and turn left heading up hill.
2.) Where the road splits in to three take the middle lane to the gate to the left of the garage doors.
3.) Follow the muddy path round to the left then turn right and cross the footbridge over the A30.
4.) On the other side turn immediately right and follow the path parallel with the A30.
5.) Look out for the bridleway to the right and follow it to the gate at the top of the hill to the right of a wall that will take you to Camp Road.
6.) Follow Camp Road passed Fitz's Well and take the left fork towards Moorgate Farm.
7.) After the guard house turn right and follow road this side of Moor Brook.
8.) At Anthony Stile, stay on the tarmac and follow road south around east side of West Mill Tor.
9.) When the tarmac track is finally replaced by boulder track carry on following it for about 600m until the fork.
10.) Take the right fork up hill and to the south east.
11.) After about 500m and crossing the infant Red-a-ven Beck look out for the track veering of to the right, by now you should see the Yes Tor summit area also off to you right/north but I can not confirm this as it was foggy.
12.) Continue to Yes Tor trig point and summit area.
13.) On a clear day look due south and you should see the next summit of High Willhays.
14.) In our case we could not so we headed on a southerly bearing for just under 1km ignoring the interim Tor at the 618m spot height.
15.) Our walk plan was to descend High Willhays to Sandyford and then on to the next top of Kitty Tor.
16.) Because we chose not to cross West Okement River we may as well have headed due west to the boundary of the live firing range marked by red and white poles.
17.) At the poles follow them north until you reach the vague path to the east and back across the live firing area across Okehampton Common.
18.) Cross Red-a-ven Brook then head north continuing straight along the track to Anthony Stile.
19.) From here you could retrace above route back from step 7.) back to Okehampton YHA, we chose an alternative option over Anthony Stile through Okehampton camp to ensure a completely circular walk.
20.) Carefully follow the footpath signs within the camp until you reach the guard house on the northern camp boundary.
21.) Follow the path slightly to the left  and eventually downhill signposted to Okehampton.
22.) Pass the entrance to Bracken Tor Youth Hostel and continue to the A30.
23.) Follow the A30 to your right rejoining Camp Road and turn left over the A30 and then over the railway bridge.
24.) Join the Granite Way past the Okehampton ACF buildings.
25.) As the path joins Parklands turn right until you join Station Road near the station.
26.) Go under the rail bridge and returnb to the Youth Hostel on you left.

More Photographs
Fitz's Well
Click on photograph to view slide-show

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