Black Tor

Black Tor Walk


Black Tor

This is an amalgamation of two trips to the same place and a dream I had.

It was the best of times and the worst of times. We were all free but the Tories were running things. CH turned away from his computer and reached for his drink. With disgust he found it was empty. He started to get up to reach for the bottle. The room spun and he sat down again quickly. Shit. He was drunk. He hated how that happens. One minute you are fine and the next you have crossed the boundary. Not just with drink, he reflected bitterly, but with life itself. He thought about tomorrow. He needed to be on top of things. He wondered if Rosie would be there. RH had warned him she was a tart but they really seemed to have bonded.

And what of RH. What had he been doing down in Southern Spain? All those flights. He had to be up to something. "A holiday" he had said but of course no one believed him. And for that matter what was behind SB's runs to the Totnes Triangle? CH was a South Hams man as well. He knew what went on down there. His mind drifted to MP. We would still be a man down. He had 5 years of his sentence to serve. He got out occasionally and made a bolt for Wigan but he always ended up back inside. If only they could get him out permanently. He remained cheerful but things were different now. The Govemaster was in charge and he could make a saint despair. Ben was a safe pair of hands. He was a master of scouting ahead and could always find cover when needed. Cooper loved nothing more than the challenge of a climb. It had been rumoured he trained with Chris Bonnington.

Suddenly CH felt overwhelmed with tiredness. It had been a long day. People didn't realise the pressure of being part of the organisation. All those fine details that made the difference between a successful mission and a failure.

Next day as he pulled into the rendezvous point CH regretted his behaviour the night before. His mouth was dry and his eyes gritty but he was ready for whatever the day might bring.

JS leaned nonchalantly against his car. "Where have you been CH asked?"

JS narrowed his eyes and spoke one word from the corner of his mouth in the way that reminded CH of Foyle.

"Family" he said. CH knew better than to pursue the matter. A tall figure slowly stood up from the other side. Tink! It had been a year but he always found his way back.

Then he cheered up. They were all there and he could feel it would be a good day.

Right. Enough of this drivel. We had an important issue to discuss.

Would the car stand the weight of all those people if there was a fire? What would happen if the car caught fire? Was it just a competition to see how many people could squeeze into a car? Car

For a change we stopped for our usual coffee intake in the Plume of Feathers at Princetown. It gave us an early chance to check out the menu although we already knew what we would have.

Arriving at Black Tor we were disappointed to find that the Logan stone wouldn't rock and the basin wouldn't hold water. What would Holmes have made of it? Black Tor is featured in chapters 10 and 11 of "the Hound of the Baskervilles".

Leaving the Tor and walking down the valley side we found the first of four short poles in a rough alignment.

We knew MP was doing something with small poles so we assumed it was something to do with him.

cheese We were thrilled to find the ancient rock carving in honour of the cheese gods
In prehistoric times the valley contained a large community and the enclosures, cists, cairns, huts, and stone rows are still to be seen. RH tried out a bit of dousing as we walked along the double stone row. The grin on Ben's face is unmistakable. bob-ben
SB and JS discuss their favourite knitting techniques.

Moved by the beauty of the small waterfall JS feels like trying out some of the moves he has been reading about in his ballet magazine.

Sadly he slipped and caused major damage to his shin.

The team looked around to see where the air ambulance might land but ever resourceful Cooper leapt over a 20m wide raging torrent to take a stick to his best pal.

We were delighted to stumble upon the ruins of a mediæval water driven muffin factory. The burnt oven can be seen to the right of the lintel in the picture on the left.

Below we can see the discarded muffin moulds. These would have been filled with the cake mix and then lifted into the ovens. The moulds were made obsolete by the invention of Teflon and the enterprise closed when Sainsbury's terminated their contract.

We watched the Devonport Leat tumble down the hill and across the aqueduct. SB contacted a latin scholar to find out why it is aqueduct and not aquaduct.

Here are his conclusions:-

In the OED aquaduct does not appear! Where aqua forms part of a name e.g. aqua regis, aqua fortis the parts are always separate words. A structure which carries water is an aqueduct.

Originally the Latin phrase was "aquæ ductus" meaning "a conduit of water", "aquæ" being the genitive singular case.  I can only assume that the diphthong has become corrupted in the passage of time as our language has evolved.

I will not repeat the conversation we had about dipthongs but hope my use of one above will be noticed. Wearing corrupted dipthongs is not pleasant.

Devonport Leat.

This begins near Wistman's Wood and winds its way around Princetown and Whiteworks. It then disappears through a tunnel near Nun's Cross Farm and comes out the other side of the hill before making its way down the Meavy Valley where t crosses the afore mentioned aqueduct.

Drake's Leat

Read the account in Wikipedia. We knew Drake was a pirate but I didn't know that he was a big time crook.

Leats were built all over Dartmoor for various reasons. This is a good account. I liked the story that the leat used to bring water into Dartmoor Prison was built below a channel that carried sewage away from the building which surely meant a risk of pollution.

Cassie is a small creature who gamely follows us in all we do. She is easily overlooked but has to be admired for her fortitude and tenacity.
After a splendid walk we hastened back to the Plume of Feathers for Liver and Bacon washed down with Doom and Tribute.