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Published: October 13th 2021
The (at that point) unnamed tor.
Just before the dreaded lock-down started in early 2020 I went on a fantastic photography workshop to Rannoch Moor in Scotland (see The Most Photographed House in Scotland
). Now that that lock-down is finally coming to an end, I took the opportunity to go on another photography workshop to another moor, but this time in completely the opposite direction to Dartmoor.
It was a long way, but nowhere near as far as the remote highlands as Scotland. Having recently experienced the nightmare that is the never-ending roadworks on the M4, I decided to go on the M3 (although that is not immune - see Love Life Despite Cluttered Beaches, Closed Motorways and Seagull Crap
) and the A303. The journey was largely uneventful, with the highlight being a drive-past of Stonehenge. We had visited there earlier this year, although that was one such example of the M4 nightmare due to the weekend closures - if only we had known to go on the M3/A303 then. Note for the future.
There is deliberately no where for cars to pull over anywhere near Stonehenge, so I later pulled over somewhere that looked reasonably picturesque to eat the sandwich that I had bought earlier.
After a very short bit of the M5 it was then on
Here's one I took earlier.
to the tiny Devon back roads. I was doubting the route my satnav had taken me as the road was too narrow and winding to be the main road into Dartmoor, but compared to most of the other roads, it probably was.
The other thing about Dartmoor roads is that they are largely unfenced and completely open to all the sheep, cows and horses that wander carelessly around in no great hurry to make way for the patiently waiting cars. They're either completely oblivious or just don't care - probably the latter.
I followed my satnav to the hotel where we were all booked in for the duration of the workshop, only that is not where it sent me. I arrived at a small pub (the Warren Inn) literally in the middle of absolutely no where. Given that there was no mobile signal, I had to go old school and use a map, which I had fortunately bought with me. The hotel was about five miles away.
At least I've now got a whole new line of argument when my technophile daughter tries to tell me that maps are obsolete.
My hotel room was amazing, with
A sad, lonely fourposter bed for one.
a four-poster bed. It's just a shame that I have come here all sad and lonely on my own. I'll be meeting the rest of the workshop group later though.
I had about an hour before we were due to meet in the bar, and given that I had spent the whole day in the car, so I decided to go for a walk.
I headed-off along a path for a leisurely walk, but in the distance I saw one of the tors, which will feature quite heavily in our photography. These are naturally formed granite outcrops that rise above the surrounding landscape. It didn’t look too far so I headed off in that direction.
Most of the tors seem to have names, however this one didn't judging by my map. It was extremely unlikely that I was the first person to have discovered it, but I thought I would name it nonetheless. Given that I've not got a great imagination (and naming it after myself would be extremely vain) I decided to name it "Tory McTorface" - although I don't really like the "Tory" bit.
If any non-British reading this and think I'm smoking something
I shouldn't, the name is linked to a running national joke (see https://noc.ac.uk/education/educational-resources/boaty-mcboatface
In reality, it almost certainly has got a name already (although it looks like there are probably thousands of these granite outcomes spread all over Dartmoor), but I can still indulge myself.
When I started walking, the tor didn't look too far away, but it was very deceptive. It took a lot longer than I had expected, so, after the short naming ceremony, it was a very brisk walk to get back to the hotel in time to meet the others.
It was sausage and mash for dinner, which was excellent, followed by a nice, but unusual, hard cheesecake.
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