Tor and rock bagging in Dartmoor
When it comes to hills and mountains, I can’t really call myself a ‘bagger.’
I remember heading up to the summit of Ben Hope – the most northerly Munro – a year or so ago and someone asking me how many Munros I’d ticked off the list, and I couldn’t answer. I could maybe get the list up to thirty, but that’s not what it’s about for me. I will happily revisit a hill on several occasions; and every time is different, depending on the weather, the company, my general mood.
But bagging is a popular pastime, be it Munros, Crobetts, Nutalls – or even tors. Bagging the tors of Dartmoor brings with it a bit of a problem, in that there ins’t a definitive list. And when is a tor not a tor? More than 150 of these granite outcrops are marked on the OS Explorer map, but on the ground there are more than seven hundred tors and rocks waiting to be ‘bagged.’
Living on the moor gives me ample opportunity for a spot of casual tor bagging, and there are some I have visited a dozen times. But recently I’ve come across some crackers in the southwestern corner. A glorious walk across Shaugh Moor and a crossing of the Blacka Brook led to a gentle ascent up to the lovely Great and Little Trowlesworthy tors just south of the upper Plym valley. From there we headed across the common to Hentor, from where the view across the Plym towards the prehistoric landscape of Drizzlecombe and Ditsworthy Warren House (think War Horse – the film) is hard to beat.
These three tors don’t break any records in terms of height above sea level; neither are they shrouded in spooky legend, as are so many, but I found all three particularly special. The weather was glorious, the company good, and the views spectacular. And on the previous day I had walked a 14-mile circuit nearby in continuous heavy rain, dense hill cloud and nil visibility. That’s Dartmoor for you!
If you want to find out more about the tors of Dartmoor, this database shares both the lesser and well-known rocks and outcrops.