Walking in a little snow in eastern Dartmoor

January 17 2013

Rippon and Saddle tors from Heytor

Grabbing the opportunity of a walk we decided to head towards the Haytor (or Heytor) area on the eastern edge of the moors.  It has a wealth of easily accessible tors but lacks the openness of the central moors for extended walking.  However we decided it would be possible to do a reasonable circuit and parked at the base of Rippon Tor.  As soon as we got out of the car we realised what sort of day it was going to be.  It was very cold and very grey – not the most interesting weather for either walking or photography sadly.  Starting off towards Saddle Tor we realised that there snow or sleet in the air.

The top image is taken on Heytor looking back south towards Rippon and Saddle tors.  While the sky looks rather grey it is as much white as grey with steady flurries of sleet and snow passing horizontally in the wind.  We continued north on to Black Hill.  The ground was really quite wet with only small amounts of ice so the sleet and snow was not lying generally.  We dropped down into the valley of the Becka Brook and were glad to stop somewhere sheltered for a drink and a snack.

 

The walk up from the Becka Brook to Hound Tor is very steep!  We walked past Greator Rocks and the Medieval village below Hound Tor and up to the summit.  Looking back towards Heytor gave us a good view however from time to time the visibility was very poor with the sleet becoming more intense.  We walked on past the bluebell area which I blogged here in 2011 – it looked very different today.

Making the walk a little longer we headed west towards Honeybags and Chinkwell Tors.  Reaching the top of Chinkwell we realised just how sheltered we had been on the climb up the tor – it really was very cold on the summit and other than a photo or two looking towards Hameldon where some of the snow was lying we headed down towards Bonehill Rocks fairly quickly.  At no time during the walk did the temperature get above zero degrees so we were happy to shelter in the lee of the rocks for a bite to eat and a break.  Not a day to hang around so we moved on walking along the ridge that is to the east of Widecome-in-the-Moor and reached Tunhill Rocks.  From there we headed back via Top and Pil tors to the car.  A good walk if rather cold.

Looking south from Chinkwell

As a postscript – the snow in this part of Devon was quite extensive on Friday 18 January.  On Saturday it was obvious that there was still quite a lot of snow on the moors though it had cleared at lower levels.  I’d planned to go up with the camera on Sunday 20 January but was not able to get the time to do so – the snow is still there, rather patchy and temperatures are sub zero.