Day 6’s 15.8 km route with 452 mtrs ascent and 742 mtrs descent. (click for full-sized imaged)
Day 6 was the final day of the walk and one that was officially counted as the ‘spare’ day.
I always limit the distance that I walk on the spare day so as to introduce slack into the plan.
Normally the upper limit for the spare day is around 10 km, but given that public transport from Okehampton is so frequent, I could afford to stretch this one up to around 15 km and still have a lot of additional slack.
As usual, the last day is always a day of mixed emotion. There is a sadness that the walk is at an end, but this is also tinged by the excitement of being able to get back home and enjoy some creature comforts once again.
As usual I’ll let the photos take you on a virtual walk….
I awake to a gloriously sunny day – not a cloud in the sky! Shame this is the last day of the walk
Despite the sun, the morning is still relatively cold, hence the second layer and wooly hat!
The last breakfast of the walk is put on. I decide to skip the cheese as it wasn’t smelling too good by this stage of the walk 🙂 So it’s just muesli, a scone and a cup of coffee.
The tent is soon packed up. There is no real pressure for today’s walk as public transport from Okehampton is very frequent.
The first task of the day is to climb to the top of Steeperton Tor at 532 mtrs elevation. There isn’t much of a climb to do as I had camped at around 490 mtrs elevation.
It takes just a few minutes to get up there.
The top of Steeperton Tor looking Northward.
*Zoom On* To the west on the hill opposite I see this military outpost. At the time I didn’t know what it was as the sun was too bright to enable me to see the camera’s screen properly. It wouldn’t be until I walked there that I would see the feature for what it actually was!
Further to the West in the far distance I can see Yes Tor, one of the destinations for today’s walk.
This is the view to the Southwest toward the River Taw. I follow this route downhill to get to the main fording point of that stream.
I soon reach the main fording point for the River Taw. Luckily the rocks allow me to get across without having to take my boots off.
Across the other side I’m straight onto the main track headed Northward. This one ultimately goes to Oke Tor, but I will be turning off to the West long before then.
Here I have turned off on a Westerly heading up a smaller track. Most of today’s walk would be on roads and tracks, which made for quite a contrast when compared to the previous five days.
I soon get to the military outpost – now I know what it is! The whole area is littered with various outposts just like this one. At least they are not too much of an eyesore…
Once past the outpost I follow the main trail to the South West. This trail should ultimately take me up to the top of Okement Hill at 564 mtrs elevation.
The view to the East from the direction I had broadly come from. Steeperton Tor can be seen in the distance to the right.
‘Just a little closer…. Perfect… Say Cheese!’
The trail up to Okement Hill is deceptively long at around 2km in length.
As I approach the hill itself, the trail starts to resemble a proper road. A further signal that civilisation is just around the corner…
Despite being relatively early in the morning the sun is now really beating down – perfect weather for the last day. There had been a prediction of rain for the last day, so this was a pleasant surprise. That’s one of the issues with hikes that last more than a couple of days, ones weather reports soon become outdated.
The road up to Okement Hill has a sharp 90 degree turn in it. I’m so desperate to get off of the track that I take the opportunity to shortcut the corner by going cross country for a few hundred metres.
But I’m soon back on the track – I guess I have been spoilt by the previous five days
After getting to the top of Okement Hill, I start to follow the track to the North West. This will ultimately take me toward High Wilhays which can be seen in the far distance a little to the left of the road.
Rather than following the rather convoluted track all the way there, I once again decide to head cross country on a more direct route. This time I will be off road for around 500 mtrs – not much, but at least it provides a welcome diversion from track walking.
I soon link back up with the main track. This one goes up the side of High Willhays Hill and ultimately hangs a left toward Dinger Tor. However, I will be leaving it as it makes that left turn so that I can continue Westward cross country up to the top of High Willhays.
As I proceed up the track, I note that it is obviously an Army Landrover track. In my minds eye I can kind of imagine the troops being drilled up and down this hill with full kit. Better them than me! 😛
I’m finally off of the track and heading cross country up hill to the top of High Willhays. This is the view over my shoulder to the North East toward East Mill Tor. I’ve not managed to climb that one yet, but alas it is not on this route, so it will have to wait for another walk.
By the standards I’m used to, the climb is a relatively shallow one, though quite tussocky and boggy.
I soon get to the rocks marking the top of the Southern extremity of High Willhays.
This rock structure on High Willhays marks the official highest point on Dartmoor at 621 mtrs. It just pips Yes Tor by a mere 2 mtrs. Of course I clamber up top!
The view Eastward from the top of the highest point on Dartmoor!
This is the view Northward from the top of High WIllhays. This is the direction that I will be headed in so as to get to Yes Tor.
I climb the rocks on High Wilhays Northern set of rocks to get a better view Northward. In the distance one can see Yes Tor my next destination. It should be an easy walk to Yes Tor as there is a trail that will take me all the way there.
The view behind me to the South toward the highest point on Dartmoor at 621 mtrs elevation.
I now start heading down the rocks toward Yes Tor in the distance.
Yes Tor directly ahead! There should be a Trig Point on there for me to visit.
The rocky trail makes for very rapid progress to Yes Tor.
As I get nearer I can spy the Trig Point on the left!
The Trig Point on Yes Tor. Many people still incorrectly believe that this to be the highest point on Dartmoor, but at 619 mtrs elevation it just falls short of High Willhays.
The plan now is to head Eastward toward a road that will take me to West Mill Tor which can be seen up ahead.
I soon get to the road. It is here that I top up water supplies for a final time at a nearby stream. It is also here that the Garmin 62s GPS finally complains that it is low on batteries. Extremely impressive given that it is powered by just 2 AA batteries that have lasted nearly 6 days!
The track I’m on starts curving Northeastward around West Mill Tor. Time to leave it and head directly up to the Tor.
It’s quite boggy on the way there, which involves a little bog hopping to avoid the worst of it.
As I get nearer this crow/raven (I don’t know!) was eyeballing me suspiciously. Eventually it flew off at the last minute. I was quite surprised at how large the bird was.
The top of West Mill Tor at 541 mtrs elevation. From here on in the rest of the walk will essentially be downhill.
West Mill Tor has quite an extensive rock structure on it which I spent a little time exploring.
To the North I can see the edge of the Moor – looks like my walk is nearly over
Another shot from the top of West Mill Tor.
I now start the descent down in a Northeastward direction. To the right of this picture something catches my eye…
*Zoom On* Another Military outpost, although this one is much larger than the others that I have seen so far. To the left of it there looks to be some kind of target range.
The descent from West Mill Tor is quite a rocky one necessitating that I pay particular attention to my footing. Most falls happen on the descent.
I soon get eyes on Rowtor which is now directly ahead. This will be the last Tor that I will be visiting on this walk.
I soon get to the bottom where I have a quick ford to do – though luckily once again there are rocks to ensure that my feet stay dry.
I’m now following a track Northeastward that will take me part of the way up to the top of Rowtor.
The track soon starts to bypass Rowtor which necessitates leaving it for a short blast up the hill!
The view from Rowtor to the East toward Okement Farm and its copse.
I start to make my descent to the Northeast, but before I go I take this photo behind me. Nearest to us is Rowtor, in the far distance is West Mill Tor. Time to say goodbye to Dartmoor’s famous Tors.
Up ahead is an unmarked hill at 427 mtrs elevation. It will be a quick jaunt up there, then I will practically be off of the moors.
There is a track on the top of the hill which makes it a nice easy stroll.
I’m now on the downhill portion. All I can see directly ahead is farmland, a ominous sign that my time on the Moors is coming to an end.
I soon get to the boundary wall of East Bowden Farm. It is now a case of handrailing this to the left.
With a heavy heart I soon get to the gate which marks my official departure off of the Moors
I doesn’t take long before I have to pas through the farm itself. I always feel like I’m trespassing when I do this, even though it is a public right of way.
One for the wildlife experts…. I’m guessing this is a swift?
I have passed through the farm and I now find myself on a minor road. This one could take me all the way into Okehampton, but I have other plans as I want to visit the Trig Point on the top of East Hill before making my descent to Okehampton.
I’m always a little wary on roads like this one. All it takes is for a nutter to come haring around the bend then things can get really interesting really fast…
As the road opens up I notice that the nearby land is full of Dartmoor Ponies! I don’t think I have ever seen so many!
These ponies seem to be a lot smaller than the wilder ones that I have seen in the interior of the Moors – I wonder if these are specially bred like this?
It’s soon time to head cross country and Northward up to the top of East Hill. I try to pick a route where I’m not disturbing the grazing ponies too much.
I’m soon rewarded with the tip of a Trig Point!
The Trig Point on East Hill at 349 mtrs. From here it is one big descent into Okehampton.
As I descend I can see Okehampton sprawled out below me. The descent is a relatively steep one over some pretty rough terrain – I guess this would get classed as a ‘non-standard-route’ 😉
I soon spot the boundary marking the bottom of this part of the hill. I just need to hang a left there and handrail the boundary to the bridge crossing the A30 main road.
I’m now at the bridge. Next stop is Okehampton!
It’s now a case of following this road all the way to my bus stop in Okehampton.
I soon pass the old railway station where a number of old steam trains and their carriages are kept servicable.
I’m now feeling like a fish out of water in the urban jungle. It’s at times like this that I wish I could suddenly hide my kit and be freshened up by some kind of virtual shower to clean away nearly 6 days worth of grime from the wilds.
Up ahead is a steeple that I actually recognise. My bus stop is just around the corner!
The bus stop! It seems that my timing is impeccable as I only needed to wait around 10 minutes for a bus to appear. So ends my 2015 walk on Dartmoor.
As walks go this one was a pretty good one. It had decent weather throughout and for the most part ran like clockwork. The only real fly in the ointment was my hip injury on day 4, but that was soon relegated to the memories of the past.
I don’t have much in the way of spare holidays for the rest of this year, so blog updates will become infrequent and limited to when the walks occur. That said I am hoping to get a walk in sometime in July so that I can finally get to climb Tryfan in North Wales.