This was a bit of a last minute decision, a bit of a scrabble around, grabbing the sleeping bags, torches and a dash to get some food we headed out for our first camp of the year. I looked at the time and realised I would need to not walk far from the car, if we were to put the tent up before dark. I decided on Holming Beam as a quiet place, both to park and camp. These past couple of months have seen swarms of people coming and camping on Dartmoor. Most with the excellent leave no trace attitude, however some not so. Holming Beam is a good starting spot for a walk into the wilderness and is a quiet area, just 2 other cars when we arrived and one of those left as we put the tent up. So we didn’t venture far from the car, which is a bit of a shame but the camp was more important than the walk there this time.
We got the tent up just in time, had some food, made a brew and settled down to a Start Wars question and answer game. This was a set of questions/cards that I have had for a few years (probably a Christmas present) but hadn’t opened. Well these cards lasted us for an hour or two and made for a fantastic evening, once the tent was shut the laughing continued well into the early hours. It was a good spot to camp and the views in the morning were excellent, it was a bit nippy in the night but I hadn’t forgotten anything so we weren’t cold. Once we had got up we packed up and headed to the Fox Tor cafe for breakfast, before leaving I got talking to Russ, who’s partner Maria (from the Walk Dartmoor 365 facebook page) had set off to collect a few of the remaining Dartmoor 365 squares that she has to bag. We both put the world to rights, and it was good to meet a like minded walker who dislikes out and back routes as much as I do!!
After a decent feed at the cafe we headed for a short bimble along the good track to South Hessary Tor, nothing too far but a chance to take in some fine views in the sunshine. All in all a great night under canvas and hopefully I can get another in over the next few weeks.
The sun is starting to set as we pull along the lane to Holming Beam
The parking spot at Holming Beam, we will be camping down that way just past the sheep. The last light is casting across the Cowsic Valley with Devils Tor and Lydford Tor in the distance
Final part of the sunset as we get the tent up
All done, fed and a brew done. We now started playing a game of question and answers Star Wars. My eldest read all the questions and me and my youngest came up with about 90% of the right answers
Still laughing and joking, this is about midnight and I need my beauty sleep
After a decent nights sleep I woke to this view. In the night the mist dropped and the outline of the moon was visible through the clouds, the tent was a little damp from the mist
Dew on the ground as I look into the sun which has risen over Bellever forest direction
Beardown Tors on the hillside across the Cowsic Valley, the wooden footbridge over the Cowsic can be seen below
Our camp spot, not bad for a last minute decision. We packed up after I took this, well most of it and then a pack of Dartmoor ponies came for a look at what we had. I was up in the car park chatting to Russ who had dropped his partner here for a walk, when I heard a yell from my eldest as a pony stuck his head into our rubbish bag. It looks as though they were after the used tea bags or something. But eventually we managed to shoo them off and finished packing up, to leave no trace.
Our breakfast spot, it has changed hands and they have opened up the cafe. Difficult to say if it is a Covid thing to put more space in the cafe or a decision to make it different, either way the food was pretty good and I needed the coffee!
Erm, don’t ask. Maybe he’s trying to be an undercover whippet owner
Breakfast is served, two smalls breakfasts and a bacon sarnie. Juice/tea for the boys and coffee for me. Yummy
We wanted a quick walk afterwards, possibles were Wistmans Wood or North Hessary Tor, but instead we decided on a walk out to South Hessary Tor
South Hessary is dead ahead
Peat Cot is behind the trees, with Ter Hill and Ryders Hill at the back. Fox Tor Mires will be in the dip in front of those back hill
We’ve reached South Hessary Tor after no more than 15 minutes walk. Looking back towards Princetown and the mast on North Hessary Tor
Sheeps Tor and the tors around Burrator are behind the boys
Cobra’s head spike on South Hessary Tor, this tor also had a name of Lookout Tor, this could be as a lookout place for escaped prisoners from the nearby Dartmoor prison or was it a lookout for the nearby firing range? Who knows
Climbing on South Hessary Tor, it was here I realised I’m not as lithe as I once was as I tweaked a muscle just trying to climb up (digs out exercise and yoga videos to become lithe again!!)
Back down the same path, now I know this contradicts what I said in the opening to this post, but if the walk is only to one tor and 30 minutes long its tough to get a circular. This is an old sign for the pub that was here in Princetown until 2009.
And here is the back of the old pub. The pub was bought by the owners of the Plume of Feathers which sat opposite this pub, they closed it in 2009 and turned it into a B&B thus halving the competition in the town and providing a place for customers to stay. This is the end of the walk and a fantastic camp on Dartmoor, chomping at the bit to get out again and do another before the end of the month.