Saturday, 3 April 2010

#96 - Bleak House

The BBC promised a brighter afternoon. What I got was unexpected and it made the walk all the more interesting.

My objective for the day was Kitty Tor. I parked at the Fox and Hounds pub near Shortacombe, and headed out onto the north moor through Nodden Gate. I was concerned that the ford across the River Lyd might be impassable, but while it was above boot height, the gaiters performed brilliantly and I was across easily.

As yesterday, I was struggling with the ascents as I made my way up onto the higher ground, following the stream that runs between Arms Tor and Bray Tor. I eventually reached the deep cut bridleway that heads east to Dick's Well. As I reached here, the weather turned. At first, it was sleet, but it soon escalated to snow and I headed for Bleak House to take what shelter I could.

Bleak House was once the home of the manager of the Rattlebrook peat works, but is now a ruined shell. Testament to the harsh environment the moors can be. I love this building, to me it is a reminder of what a lonely place Dartmoor can be.

After a cup of hot chocoloate and a bite to eat, I left the ruins and headed the short distance up to Green Tor, where I would be able to see the terrain to Kitty Tor; well, I would on a better day! The snow was getting heavier, and now starting to settle. Aware of the dangers of walking solo in this scenario, and with no idea of how long the storm would last, I retreated. I made my way back across the Rattlebrook to Dick's Well, keeping an eye out for Great Links Tor, hidden in the mist to my right.

Bearing set, I reached Great Links, and the snow storm vanished as quickly as it had appeared. To my annoyance, Kitty Tor was visible and seemingly unaffected in the distance. Oh well, I hadn't visited Great Links before, and it's a fine tor (pictured above right).

The walk back was in dry conditions, along a track that was once the railway to the Rattlebrook peat works, before taking a left junction towards Nodden Hill. Once I reached the bridge by the River Lyd, I left the track and made my way down along the river, across the scars of the mining industry that was once here.

I eventually reached the ford again, and to my surprise, it was higher than before, but once again, I crossed it with dry feet.
  • Date: 03/04/10
  • Region: Dartmoor National Park
  • Status: Solo
  • Description: Nodden Gate – Arms Tor – Dick’s Well – Bleak House – Green Tor – Gt. Links Tor – Coombe Down – River Lyd – Nodden Gate – Snow, Rain, 11.7km, 4.5hrs
  • Type of Walk: Personal Walking