Week 9 – Oh no, not more evil grass! … And bogs!

After last week’s nice easy going walk devised by Cecilia, this week it was my turn to pick the route. Pablo suggested one close to home so we elected to look around the Chagford Fernworthy forest and reservoir area (only about 30 mins from home). If you fancy a nice easy stroll around a pretty picturesque area, Fernworthy is the place for you. Luckily for me, my training and my tor bagging numbers – Fernworthy is also situated near quite a few tors!
We started our walk today with a lovely stroll around the reservoir – there really are some stunning views of the dam. You can’t walk over the dam so we followed the footpath down to a little footbridge to cross the River Teign.
From here we followed the path around the other side of the reservoir before heading up to our first tor of the day – Thornworthy. We didn’t have much of an ascent up to the tor as at 424m it was only around 70m up from Fernworthy – so a nice gentle start to the day I thought. Here is another top Dartmoor tip – looking at the OS map of Thornworthy, it looked like it’s contained within borders and walls so we weren’t sure if we would be able to reach it initially. But a quick check on Google maps, showed a way through! Hurrah!
Next up was Middle Tor – this gave us more wonderful views of the reservoir and the forest, together with the HUGE bog we’d just negotiated. Oh yes, the route to Middle Tor was one of the most entertaining we’ve had. I had encountered bogs and marshes before but this was the biggest we’d ever encountered. There was no walking around it – we had to go across it. Pablo trod on one bit and sank around a foot in depth, luckily he didn’t go through it so no wet feet!
After enjoying the wonderful views, we carried on to Kestor. Kestor is quite a popular and well known tor but funnily, none of us had ever walked it before. The top of Kestor was gorgeous and just as the wind had started to pick up, it provided us with a lovely bit of shelter for our coffee and banana break. All refuelled up, we were ready to go. Our next stop would be Stonetor Hill, we couldn’t see a path on the map so we headed towards a boundary stone – marked on the OS map as ‘Long Stone’. From here, we were limited for further natural landmarks to navigate to so we had to rely on the GPS a little. I’m glad we did – Stonetor Hill consisted of a stone (no bigger than a size 7 shoe) on a hill! Genius! This one was definitely going down as one of my favourite tors! Cecelia and I managed to balance on the stone for a (very quick) photo.
Still in hysterics, we headed to our next stop – Manga Rock – before climbing up to the tor, Manga Hill. Before this though, we had to cross the North Teign River. Luckily, no stone-hopping or foot-paddling required today – we had a small fence to slide across on. That was where our luck ended – we were faced with a 100m ascent across 1km of evil grass. Oh no, not evil grass we cried!! This was really hard going, on the feet, on the ankles, on the legs and on the mind! It was relentless – but very good training for Kili about mind over matter I thought!
Manga Hill itself was a very boring tor – not even a stone on the top. After the killer grass we’d battled through, we were all quite disappointed! As we were running on empty from our challenging climb, the hunt was on for a lunch stop. As the clouds were getting darker, a little shelter would be ideal. Our luck had returned, we came across a former farm (Teignhead farm) – which provided the perfect spot. It was halfway between Manga and our next tor, Sittaford Tor. From Sittaford, we could see across the valley to some previous tors, Littaford and Longaford Tors. I do love it when you see places you’ve already been – gives you a great sense of the scale of the Dartmoor National Park. We just had time for a quick photo (sitting down of course, being on SITtaford).
Walking along a bridle path, we passed a set of restored stone circles.. They really are quite a sight to see – you can’t help but wonder what sites they would have seen! Our penultimate tor of the day was White Ridge, and it was our highest of the day at 506m. Leaving our lovely bridlepath, we had straight path up to the top. Our walk today had taken us around in a big loop around the forest and from the top of White Ridge, we had awesome views.
Final climb of the day was up to Assycombe Hill, right on the edge of the forest. This wasn’t particularly steep climb but it seemed to go on forever! I just knew it was good practise for Kili – I kept my mind busy, thinking of anything but the relentless hill. Just one foot in front of the other! For the final leg of today’s walk, we had a lovely stroll back to the car through the forest. I couldn’t help but think of Christmas when surrounded by Norwegian Spruces!! It also made me a little sad, thinking of how were almost finished with our 100 tors! What would I do with my Saturday’s after October? As Pablo reminded me, we may have bagged 100 tors, but there were more than 100 to go!!
So things learnt this week –
I’m going to be pretty sad when the tor bashing comes to an end. And I’m still not keen on evil grass!
Kate 🙂
Next week – The final tor bash, happy 100th 🙂
If you would like to help support me in my challenge, you can sponsor me by visiting www.justgiving.com/kate-ainsley

If you would like more information about the amazing Save the Children FAST project, please visit the Save the Children website on www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/fast.html

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