Sunday, 11 August 2013

Black Tor and the Upper Meavy Valley


You probably can't see it clearly, but this foal is in the process of losing his baby fluff and very fetching he looks too.  Also, in the distance to the far left is the 13th century Church of St Michael de Rupe atop Brent Tor. And not so far away, Great Staple and Middle Staple Tors and Kings Tor.


Rather clearer is Black Tor, the starting point of our second short walk on Dartmoor.  (This is the Black Tor in the south-west part of the moor, as opposed to Black Tor in the north near High Willhays, and Black Tor in the south-east near the Avon Dam reservoir.  And definitely not to be confused with Blackadon Tor and Blackalder Tor, the several Black Hills, and - heaven forfend - Black Dunghill.)


Here's a closer look at that interesting outcrop with its a logan stone, which, until recently, rocked.  


Also to be seen, a wondrous view of Sheeps Tor, Leather Tor and Sharpitor, nestling above the conifers of Burrator Reservoir (as opposed to Sharpitor near Lustleigh. And the Sharp Tors at Dartmeet, in the Erme Valley, near Lydford and above the Teign Gorge respectively). (OK, I'm going to stop playing this game now.) 


There is only one North Hessary Tor and here it is, distinguished by its FM radio and television transmitter.  


Our route was taking us down into the valley, where we crossed the Meavy at the Black Tor ford.  

On the opposite bank, a pair of stone rows converge on a couple of cairns on the slopes of Hart Tor, our next destination.  

(That's Hart Tor, not the Hartor Tors, Hartland Tor or Heltor Rock ... )


As is customary, I am lagging some way behind Son the Younger and Ted, who can be made out on top of Hart Tor ... 




... which, when I get there, offers a lovely view of South Hessary Tor, which doesn't have an FM radio and television transmitter. 


 We then negotiated tin workings to reach and follow the Hart Tor Brook as it tumbled most picturesquely on its way to meet the River Meavy.  Our starting point, Black Tor, is prominent on the horizon.  
Look, so beautiful! ... 


... and yes, as usual, lots of death too.  


Downstream the water gets all complicated.  Here the Meavy subsumes Hart Tor brook, and flows off to be gobbled up in turn by Burrator Reservoir.  Meanwhile, part of the Meavy is diverted into the Devonport Leat which is itself rattling down Raddick Hill, to be carried over the Meavy/Hart Tor Brook by aqueduct.  


I love the word aqueduct.  When I was seven and learning about the Romans, our teacher told us that aqua was Latin for water, but that we weren't to get all clever and think that aqueduct had an a in the middle of it because it doesn't.  And I never have, though it's been a pretty close run thing at times.


Ted has no appreciation of the finer points of etymology. He just wants an illicit dip in the leat. 


In my novel, Dart, the hero, Tobias, finds himself at a loss in this landscape:  

He heaved himself onto Oke and the two horses picked a path down the clitter-strewn hillside and over the river. He was in unknown territory now – a stranger in a strange place. He looked about him for a sign that might point him on his way, but the hills turned their backs in a huddle and the tors supporting the sky were grimly indifferent. 

Not us, however: we had to climb back up to Black Tor ...


... and home. 







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