Saturday, 1 November 2014

Dr Blackall's Drive and the Double Dart Gorge

My plan was to amble up Sheepstor and enjoy far-reaching autumnal views over south-west Dartmoor and Plymouth Sound, but the fog which descended upon us at Princetown showed no signs of dissipating even as we descended the B3212 towards Burrator Reservoir.  We couldn't even see the tor let alone climb it.  So it was back to Dartmeet for a rethink.  





Then I remembered Dr Blackall's Drive, a former carriageway high above the Double Dart Gorge.  At that moment it was clear up at Sharp Tor and even if the mist encroached, the track was sufficiently well delineated - and far enough from the edge of the gorge - for us to walk back to the car park at Bel Tor Corner in safety.  


It wasn't long before we had our first glimpse of the white waters of the newly united East and West Darts powering through their rocky channel.  

And we could hear it too. As the story of Jan Coo tells us, the Cry of Dart is loud in these parts.  





Additionally, there was the lowing of cattle being herded from one field to another ... 


... and the occasional chomping of a hill pony ... 


... but the evocative cronks of half a dozen ravens patrolling the valley were my favourite sound.  


Here's a closer look. 





Looking back to Bel Tor and Sharp Tor. 


After the greyness of coastal Cornwall the day before and the thick fog just the other side of the moor, the brilliance of the autumnal colours in October sunshine seemed heightened. 


Hawthorn and rowan berries, bracken and gorse.  


Looking ahead to Buckland Beacon with the tower of St Peter's Church, Buckland-in-the-Moor in the middle distance.


On the return leg to the car it became obvious that the mist on Down Ridge was beginning to creep a little closer.  


We arrived back just as the clouds came down.  






By the time we reached Widecombe, it was getting quite thick.


There was nothing for it but to adjourn to the pub, eh, Ted?  






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