28 Tors, 4HuMPs, 1 Beacon and Brown Willy

Sounds likes a walkers shopping list maybe? It is in fact the challenge I’ve set myself for 5 days in early March. As with all my walking at the moment, it’s basically preparation for the Pennine Way in May. Last year I put on so much weight and walked much less challenging hills and I found myself somewhat in the walking Doldrums. I need to make sure I’m fighting fit for the toughest LDP in England.

So when the wife heads of on her spring holiday (this year she’s going to Goa), I’m heading off for a long weekend in Dartmoor and Exmoor. I’ve planned five days of walking in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset although how many of those days I actually finish will depend heavily on the weather and my level of “can’t be arsed-ness”. I’m hoping to do all 5 days, but best laid plans and all that…

I’ve selected 5 individual day walks, simply because logistically that’s easier to manage and I’ll camp out of the back of the car – or in it if push comes to shove. The main idea is to do it as cheaply as possible, so I’m trying to avoid B&Bs and I’ll cook as much of my own food as possible – with the occasional pub meal thrown in to supplement the beans 🙂

Day 1: I’ll drive from home in Cheshire to just outside Camelford in Cornwall and from there I’ll walk up to Brown Willy, the highpoint of the county, taking in Showery Tor, Maiden Tor and Rough Tor. The 300 mile drive to the start means that walking wise it will be a short day, so the walk is only about 6 miles. I have then identified a couple of trig points close by to bag and then drive into Devon. I’ll camp somewhere – try and find somewhere for the next three days.

Day 2: I have to avoid walking beneath the bombs on the Merrivale Range on day 2, so I’m off to do the county top of Devon; High Willhays, taking in Yes Tor, Kitty Tor, Great Links Tor and Sourton Tor on the same walk. High Willhays is a Nuttall, a Hewitt and a Marilyn as well as the county top, so it works on multiple tick lists. In total its about 12 miles and 2200 feet of upness. 2 of the Tors are also HuMPs*

Day 3: I can now walk on Merrivale as the bombing will have ceased and I’m walking 13 miles (2300 ft) from Princetown, around the western most fringes of Dartmoor, taking in North Hessary Tor, Great Mis Tor, White Tor, Cox Tor, Great Staple Tor, Hucken Tor and King’s Tor. This walk is the only one with a possible pub stop in the middle, so that should be something to look forward to.

Day 4: Slighly further east, walking from Two Bridges just out Princetown and covering Crocken Tor, Littaford Tor, Longaford Tor, Higher White Tor, Lower White Tor, Rough Tor (another one), Devil’s Tor, Lydford Tor and Beardown Tor. The walk is about 9 miles long, but I’ve left it deliberately short so I can bag a few more lonely trigs and a couple more HuMPs. Fox Tor, Bellever Tor and Hameldown Tor all have trigs with a short walk of about a mile or so to reach them. That’s 28 Tors in 4 days (go ahead, count them). I will then drive north to Somerset and find somewhere to camp for the final night.

Day 5: The main goal of today was the county top at Dunkery Beacon, but I wanted to avoid the short walk up from the car park to the south, so I’ve found a 9 mile walk that meanders around some of the local hills and gives me a feel for Exmoor. There are then three more lonely trigs to visit before I turn the car eastwards and head back home for a shower and a shave.

Day 1 is scheduled for Thursday 11th March and I’ll be blogging along the way – signal permitting and battery life as well towards the end of the walk. I’ve now got a car charger for the iPhone, so hopefully that should keep me going.

* A HuMP is a British hill with a Hundred Metre Prominence, one of the lesser known classifications of British Hills. See the classification website here for more details: Database of British Hills

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