Storm Clouds over Dartmoor   11 comments

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My Birthday treat was a weekend away in Cornwall for some fine dining, walking and wave based fun in Cornwall. A heavy cold put paid to entering the water so plans were amended slightly but we kicked off as before (for TBF’s birthday weekend) with a fine lunch at the Cafe on the Green in Widecombe in the Moor and a walk on Dartmoor. Thanks to the writings of the excellent blog over at Treks and Tors I have an endless list of very fine walks on Dartmoor to experience and this one was based on one of the more recent posts. Its a great blog and well worth checking out.

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The forecast had looked promising with mention of sunshine and “isolated” showers. From up on Dartmoor they were a lot more than isolated! We had a Tor-tour planned and first was Rippon Tor. The views across to Haytor, Dartmoors most famous tor derw us onwards

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First we passed over Saddle Tor, appropriately populated with wild ponies

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All the while the storm clouds gathered, thunder rumbled and lightning flashed

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Haytor was always a favourite spot when I was a kid. We spent many family holidays up at Westward Ho! (only place name in the UK with an exclamation mark) and often came down to Dartmoor for a day out. I always insisted we come up here so I could climb to the top

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I love granite tors with their weathered shapes and weird formations

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Haytor looked especially dramatic today backed by dark storm clouds. I rekindled childhood memories by climbing to the top but decided not to linger, feeling rather like a lightning rod on the exposed summit

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As we passed Haytor quarry in bright sunlight the dark clouds provided an amazing contrast

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The clouds all around were bubbling and boiling and we seemed to be just yards from a soaking

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We found a fine sheltered spot on Smallacombe Rocks for a cuppa and a slice of cake. We didn’t hang around as our luck was running out and spots of rain were in the air

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We walked over one of Dartmoors numerous and very quaint clapper bridges over the Becka Brook

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And then up towards and past Greator rocks.

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As we passed into Holwell Lawn we came across one of the most stunning displays of bluebells I’ve ever seen

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All across open hillside they carpeted the floor in a swathe of purple-blue. Its rare to be able to catch the real sense of colour in a photo. They never seem to be as dense through a lens as they are to the naked eye

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Here, that task was easy

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We pressed on for more tors over at Bonehill Rocks

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Leaving them behind we set off for our final tor, Top Tor

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We got a proper soaking in a heavy rain and hail shower that dusted the hills we’d walked on earlier in drifts of white while thunder rumbled and crackled around us. Short-lived, and sunny spells returned for the top and while we finished our fine 6.5 mile back to the car

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My second Dartmoor walk in the past year and its wonderful, packed with interesting stuff and a huge variety of landscapes. It deserves a full weekend or holiday all its own or a wild camp to appreciate its austere charms

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Satisfied and in need of a little luxury, we headed off to the Althea Library for our weekend stay, with same wonderful room and warm welcome as before

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I took a brief stroll around Padstow before our evening out to clear my head (I had a bit of dizzy spell when I arrived) and to enjoy Padstow without the the crowds when it reverts to a peaceful fishing village rather than a tourist fleshpot

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Ending the day with a fine curry at The Journeyman restaurant was the perfect finale to a fine first day of my Birthday treat 🙂

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11 responses to “Storm Clouds over Dartmoor

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  1. Wow some great cloud shots there, they are dark looking beasts for sure. And the bluebells looked great, even better than when I saw them. Many thanks for the link and kind words.

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    • It was a hell of storm that sat just a mile or two away for mots of the day, even though we were in the sun. The combination of the clear light on the tors and the dark clouds behind was amazing. We could see the blue in Holwell Lawn from Haytor but it was just stunning close up, never seen anything quite like it. It would be worth a day trip to see it again!
      I thought a shout out for your blog seemed only fair seeing as you’ve given me some great ideas for walks as well as this one. Always look forward to your posts now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Incredible shots of the tors and skies. It’s rare to capture that fleeting quality of light, both beautiful and menacing.

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    • Thanks Geoff, the contrast was amazing. I always try to get out for walk after heavy rain when the sun comes out as I love dramatic skies and clouds almost as much as a clear blue sky – almost! 🙂

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  3. Great atmospheric photos Andy. Took me right back to my youthful bouncy days as I had a long trip down there in the early 1980s doing the Devon and Cornwall coastal path ( the best bits anyway) and Dartmoor with its incredible tors plus the Valley of Rocks and the Ilfracombe to Lynton coastline plus Exmoor were real highlights I still remember vividly. The best Cornish pastie I’ve ever tasted came from a tiny shop in Padstow, Fell in love with Devon cream teas too on that trip despite not drinking tea much before or since- I just loved the jam and cream scones that went with it.

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    Blue Sky Scotland
    • Thanks Bob. The north coast of Devon you mention was also a family favourite from my childhood. Hunters Inn, Combe Martin and Lee Bay were also fond memories. Best pasty shop in Padstow is the Chough bakery. Just remember to put the jam and cream on the right way round on a scone depending whether you are in Devon or Cornwall 🙂

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  4. Those bluebell fields are amazing! I know, it’s so hard to capture the grandeur of the flower fields with a camera. Happy Birthday! What a great way to celebrate.

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  5. Incredibly atmospheric photos! Hard to pick a favourite, although the first is very striking. Looks like a brilliant start to your luxury weekend. My own experience of Dartmoor is extremely limited; so many places to see, so few trips left in me!

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    beatingthebounds
    • That’s why its the first photo – get the post off to a good start 🙂
      I should spend more time on the SW moors rather than just the coast. Its a fine combination of pretty villages, rocks, moors and industrial relics slowly being reclaimed by nature, disappearing one by one, less and less as the years go by. You know where this is going……

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, those storm clouds look very ominous! I don’t know if I would want to be standing on that big rock waiting to be struck by lightning!

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