Dartmoor: out with the old!

Vur Tor


Sandy Hole Pass


The Grey Wethers


As it's the last day of the first month of 2009, it seems appropriate to post a couple of shots from the last day of the last month of last year. I took myself off to Devon to visit family and to see in the New Year on Dartmoor. New Year's Eve was a glorious day, a better end to 2008 could not have been possible!

The Grey Wethers are two seperate stone circles adjacent to each other, dating back to the Bronze Age. 'Wethers' is an Olde English term for sheep, presumably the stones looked like sheep grazing on the flank of Sittaford Tor to some olde English person.

Sandy Hole Pass is an area near the upper East Dart with extensive tin mining evidence. There is a tradition of mining and quarrying on Dartmoor that goes back to prehistoric times.

Vur Tor (or Vwr Tor, or Fur Tor) was the spot I chose to camp on New Year's Eve. It looks fairly peaceful in the shot above, but Vur Tor lies within an MoD live-firing range. Consequently, public access is restricted to non-firing days. It was bitterly cold as the sun was going down. There was moderate breeze blowing and the tent soon turned white with a coating of ice when darkness came. Unfortunately, the weather turned quite bad during the night. The temperature rose and heavy fog descended. I packed up at first light as there was no point in hanging around. The visibility dropped to around 10 meters as I crossed Cut Hill on my way back down to Postbridge. I got to the Warren House Inn about 11am. OK, a pint of Otter costs £3 but you also get:
a. A superb pint
b. A friendly welcome from the Landlady
c. A choice of two log fires
d. Good food.

So I made full use of the log fire, had a meal and more than one pint.

I like the Warren House a lot, it rates alongside other great and remote upland inns such as the Tan Hill, the George & Dragon at Garrigill, The Stag at Dufton and the Cat and Fiddle near Buxton. Great beer and atmosphere are the hallmarks of these old inns. Pity I can't say the same for the Wasdale Head Inn. That place has been ruined by ignorant bar staff and appalling management. The only saving grace of the Wassie Inn these days is the good range of ales they offer.

The image above is one of my last views of 2008.
The tent is my Terra Nova Solar 2. I like this tent for winter use, despite the heavy weight (about 2.5kg) It is a two-man tent, so it has plenty of room for when I'm wearing bulky down-filled clothing and storing a big pack.
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