Staple Tors and a sunset

There are a few walks I look forward to every year. The bluebell walk (tick on that for this year here), a snowy walk in the winter (all the snow on Dartmoor was in lockdown so I missed all of that) and a sunset walk. Time to tick that last one off for this year. I always head towards the western side of the moor and in particular the Cox Tor/Pew Tor area. I decided on this walk to head over the Staple Tors to Roos Tor, then on to Cox Tor and back to the car. That way I could watch the sun setting as I descended Cox Tor. As it was, when I arrived, there was a bank of cloud to the west making a nuisance of itself. The whole drive there had been in sunshine, surely I couldn’t be so unlucky.

For a week every night had been great sunsets, however I couldn’t walk any earlier than I did as I needed to wait until at least a week before the solstice, because that’s when the sun sets right on Brent Tor. On reaching Roos Tor, I changed my route because of the cloud, instead heading for Merrivale quarry to give the cloud time to clear and see a different view. Did it work, of course it did and then some. Normally I don’t like having too many people around me on walks, but at the end of this I stood amongst people saying wow, over and over again, loving sharing a simple experience with strangers. Talking to them on how around the 21st June the sun sets on the tor from this angle. I always say every year not to spread the news about this too far, but after this last year of being chained to our living rooms, tell the world, get everyone out here for their mental health, its fantastic.

Start – Merrivale parking

Route – Little Staple Tor – Middle Staple Tor – Great Staple Tor – Roos Tor – Merrivale Quarry – Car park sunset

Distance – 3.5 miles    Start time – 7.30pm    Time taken – 2hrs Highest Point – Great Staple Tor 455 metres

Weather – Cloudy to start and then the sunset

© Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey FL 2021 SF
Starting out and I’m heading up there to (from right to left) Little Staple Tor, Middle Staple Tor, Great Staple Tor and Roos Tor back left
And the other way, the bump of Sharpitor on the right, Vixen Tor is the nearest tor middle left. With Ingra Tor behind to the right and Leeden Tor back left
On Little Staple Tor now
Just a short bimble up the hill to Middle Staple Tor and the views south beyond
Looking across to Cox Tor, as you can see there is a persistent bank of cloud to the west which is threatening to ruin the sunset
The avenue tor of Great Staple is next
Great Staple Tor is one of the most photographed on the moor, mainly due to the stacks which are just fantastic
The focus of the sunset should it happen will be this. Brent Tor in the distance. There appears to be a gap widening between the horizon and the sun, fingers crossed
From Great Staple I look to Roos Tor. Behind that is White Tor and more western tors of Dartmoor including Great Links Tor above White Tor
Roos Tor looking to Brent Tor
Roos Tor military flag pole looking back to Great Staple Tor
Behind Roos Tor looking to White Tor
Mighty Great Mis Tor is across the Walkham river valley which you can see wriggling into the distance
A bit of zoom from Roos Tor picks out the River Tamar
The hamlet of Merrivale is below with Kings Tor above and behind. I’m heading that way next towards Merrivale quarry
In the Walkham valley with Great Mis Tor up on the right
As I reached Merrivale quarry I heard a tell tale shriek and a large bird took off and landed on the other side. A Peregrine falcon
Merrivale quarry
Vixen Tor, bottom left with Plymouth Sound in the distance
Forbidden Vixen Tor, out of bounds thanks to the landowner
After the quarry I went looking for the Sett makers bankers, were the granite stone (setts) were chipped away on these benches (bankers). The Sett makers would have their feet under the banker and face into the hillside
Cornwall, Kit Hill on the left and Bodmin Moor around Caradon behind
You will have noticed that the clouds have cleared, things are looking good
Here it is, around the solstice from the car park the sun will always set on or around Brent Tor and is one of my favourite things on the moor
Dartmoor ponies and the sunset
Just stunning. There were a fair few people in the car park, and more cars that were driving past had stopped to watch
Nearly there now
Brent Tor with the church on top, loving this
Setting on the hillside
Nearly gone now
A wider shot with the sun now gone. The time here was 2 hours but to be fair I was stood taking photos of the sunset for at least 20 minutes. Its a nice little walk and you could head up Cox Tor instead of the quarry if you wish after Roos Tor

6 thoughts on “Staple Tors and a sunset

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