Monday, 9 April 2012

Scorhill, Shovel Down and Kes Tor

Hooray!  First proper walk of the year on Dartmoor and it was just gorgeous!  Like last Easter I was lucky enough to be meeting up with Ellie and Vicky and their dogs, Teddy and Dougal, and as it was only their second visit to Dartmoor, I decided to take them to several of my favourite spots which happen to be very close together.
We parked in the small car park at Scorhill, beyond Berrydown, and walked down hill towards the Teign.  It was the first time my Ted had been off the lead on Dartmoor and he didn't put a paw wrong as long as he had a ball to chase.
Teddy and Dougal were very gentlemanly and allowed the whippersnapper to chase unimpeded while they obligingly carried their own balls.

  
First stop was Scorhill Stone Circle - not at all spooky on a beautiful day but rather different in cloud and mist, I'm sure.  Fragments of charred bone were excavated from the middle of the circle and it is said that horses refuse to cross it.  Ted had no such qualms.  He had a ball to fetch!    
After the Circle we made our way downhill to the where the infant North Teign and Wallabrook converge.  Lots to see here, including the Tolmen stone, through which you are supposed to climb to ease arthritis.  (My elderly mother did this a few years ago, even though it's very close to the river.)  
What's that splodge near the top left hand corner of the photo?  A drop of water?  Or a ghostly orb ... :-)
We also lingered on my favourite clapper bridge of all, the single slab (with added thorn tree) spanning the Wallabrook.  (There was several Wallabrooks on Dartmoor because as the Saxons progressed across it from east to west, naming each feature, the Celts - or 'Welsh' - retreated beyond the next river or stream.  A sort of Here Be Dragons, I suppose.)  



I love this spot. Sometimes I think I might decree that my ashes are scattered here.  Or maybe I'll wreak posthumous revenge on whichever of my four kids are still talking to me and make them trek right out into the boggy middle of the moor ... 


And not forgetting the Teign-e-Ver Clapper over the North Teign - several hundred years later than the previous bridge, being probably 19th century, but still a listed building nevertheless.






By now we had three very happy mucky pups!














On, then, to the stone rows and cists on Shovel Down, which I hadn't visited myself before.  They were pretty impressive.
 

Then we cut across open - and, it has to be said, worryingly dry moorland to Kes Tor.  By now my hated walking boots were rubbing my heels and I wished I hadn't been so mindful of the boggy terrain which wasn't.  I could have worn my lovely comfortable walking shoes instead.
Once on top, my sore feet were forgotten as we picnicked in the lee of the outcrop on chocolate (Lindt Orange Intense in my case) and oranges (in my case) and water.  Ted eschewed his bowl of fresh water in favour of lapping from one of the stone basins - the one with the particularly murky gunk in it, of course.  
Ted almost came a cropper when he unaccountably chased a non-existent ball not thrown by Vicky and went careering to the very edge of the rock, only to stop at the last second.  He didn't seem in the least bit concerned, whilst I was already envisaging a dog with broken paws at the bottom and how-the-hell-do-I-carry-him-back-to-the-car-scenarios.
'Come on, Mum, throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball!'













We also spent some time enjoying the lovely if hazy views over to Castle Drogo in the Teign gorge; Nattadon and Meldon Hill standing sentinel beyond Chagford; and Middle Tor and Fernworthy Reservoir.
 

Lots of interesting archaeological sites on the flanks of Kes Tor, including hut circles forming a substantial prehistoric settlement and stone rows.
Our next stop was Round Pound, enclosing more hut circles and with another thorn tree which verges on the iconic.






Our route then left the moor and took us through the conifer woods of Gidleigh Park.  We managed to go a bit off-piste here, which necessitated a fair bit of scrambling and trespassing, but we eventually arrived back safely  in the car park - and joy of joys, a mug of tea and chocolate cake with cream in Ellie and Vicky's very swish camper van!

The only less than great thing about the day was the state of my poor heels.  Three and a half years and I still haven't broken in my 'new' walking boots.  I miss my old ones so much, I only ever got one blister wearing them once and that on a blisteringly(!) hot day.  I think I'm going to have to save up for another pair in the summer sales.   





1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, Deborah! Wish I could be there in England! God bless Ted!

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