Saturday, 5 March 2011

Dartmoor: Sheeps Tor

Sheeps Tor, Burrator Reservoir
Sheeps Tor, Burrator Reservoir

Princetown was the busiest I have seen it! I arrived later than usual, around 11:30am, which would probably explain it, but everywhere I tried to park, I was met with rows of school minibuses. Even the Fox Tor Cafe was rammed full, and eventually I asked the landlady of the Plume of Feathers pub.

So to todays walk, planned to be a short walk to Sheeps Tor, and a spot of wild camping overlooking the Burrator Resevoir. Best laid plans do not always pan out. It took me two and a half hours to drag my 18kg pack up to the tor, only to find I had left my phone back in the car! Aware of the fact I was on my own, like a responsible person walking on the moors, I had left my route and promised to "check in" later, with my mum, so I had visions of Mountain Rescue being needlessly called out if she didn't hear from me.

Sheeps Tor
Sheeps Tor
Add to this the fact that I discovered I had forgotten my food, there was one thing for it, I picked up my pack and made my way back, but by a different route. I'll definitely keep the tor in mind for next time, apart from a lack of water (which can be obtained before the final climb), it looked a pleasant spot.

Sheeps Tor, looking to Roughtor Plantation
Sheeps Tor, looking to Roughtor Plantation

I took the track through the Norsworthy Plantation, and Leather Tor Bridge. I was shocked by the decimation of the forest, a victim of the battle with Sudden Oak Death. Not sure why it has been given that name when the organism, Phytophthora ramorum, is ravaging the Japanese Larch population, but the Forestry Commission's only option is to fell vast areas. A sad site, and stark contrast to the forest my nephews and I walked through back in December 2009.

Out of the plantation, I followed the River Meavy, slowly inching up the hill to the Devonport Leat. Crossing it on Raddick Hill, I made my way to Hart Tor, and a path back to Princetown. When I eventually got back to the car, I can honestly say I was knackered!