Sunday’s walk to Fur Tor and back was all about the location.  ‘The Queen of the Moor’ is one of Dartmoor’s most remote places and one the group had long wanted to revisit.  Although there are easier routes, the leader chose to start from Lane End just beyond Horndon.  

Ten members and one dog completed this challenging nine-mile linear route setting off across rough boggy ground to climb Ger Tor perched majestically above Tavy Cleave. The river zigzags through twists and bends it has carved out of the granite and tumbles down cascades in the valley.    

After a brief stop to marvel at the view the group continued walking high up on the ridge to Cleave Tor which was yet another stunning vantage point to look down to the spectacular river and the rugged moorland beyond.    

This was no easy Sunday afternoon stroll.  The terrain was difficult throughout with steep inclines and descents littered with clitter. 

Much of the route was on twisting narrow sheep tracks or on soft spongy blanket bog which seemed to move beneath their feet.  

Between the bog were tussocks of purple moor grass and every step had to be taken carefully to avoid hidden dips, rocks and holes which might catch out the unwary walker. 

 The steep descent down from Cleave Tor to Deadlake Foot, the first of two tricky water crossings, was taken slowly.  

The walkers knew there were two unavoidable rivers to negotiate but the hope was that the dry weather of the previous two weeks would make these crossings relatively easy.  For some, they were not. No one crossed the Tavy without getting wet boots. Some removed socks, others tried plastic bags to cover their feet and one member just strode through the water up to his  ankles. They made it through, albeit slowly for some, and continued on their way around the side of Amicombe Hill to reach their next challenge at Sandy Ford. 

 Lessons learned from the previous crossing and with a rough set of stones this time some were able to cross easily while others still found themselves sitting on the opposite bank of Amicombe Brook with boots turned upside down to allow the water to drain out.   

 Undaunted they continued on their climb up to Fur Tor.   

Walking on the  spongy bog here was as hard on the calf muscles as walking on sand.  The final stretch was quite steep, but they finally made it for a well-earned rest and lunch. 

 They discovered a Dartmoor letterbox and after signing and stamping this they returned to their cars following the same route back.  Inevitably, different sheep tracks were followed, the river crossings seemed less daunting, and the return did seem easier.    

A walk like this demonstrates the support and strength of the group.  

Although a relatively easy walk for some, others of the group faced their own challenges, be it health issues, fear of river crossings, or just being plain leg weary.   It was a great day out. 

As ever, new walkers are always welcome. Meet at the post office in George Street, Okehampton on Sundays ready to leave at 9.30am promptly.   Next week’s walk is from Brentor. 

 We share cars and car drivers with spare seats are encouraged to meet at the post office to offer lifts.  

Please be there in plenty of time so the group can leave promptly.  

You should be suitably attired for all weather conditions, including sturdy footwear and bring a packed lunch.  Should you wish to bring a dog, please check with the walk leader that the route is suitable.