No updates for a while, cos we’ve been working and gardening…! But Torbagging season is now in full swing, so to get you in the mood, here’s one I did back in March…. Carkees Tor!
One of the more overlooked tors on Bodmin Moor; surrounded by more impressive ones, and somewhat harder to get to… Sootika and I have tried to get here twice before; the first time was via Hawk’s Tor, to be scuppered by extensive barbed wire; the second was after doing Garrow Tor, when we nearly got there but weather and faulty OS map reading sent us slightly the wrong way!
So, third time lucky!
The thing with Carkees is that’s it’s VERY easy to lose sight of it, if you’ll excuse the pun… especially in bad weather, and it’s very, very easy to take a slightly wrong turn and then end up way off course. There are a couple of points where you’re confronted with an almost Gandalf in Moria type of situation… no, don’t be silly, we’ve never seen a Balrog on Bodmin Moor… but there are moments when you’re confronted with three paths, all seemingly going in the same direction – choose the wrong one and although you won’t end up shouting “fly, you fools!” it will scupper your chances of climbing Carkees Tor…
Anyway, having an afternoon to kill by myself, I was determined to cross this one off the list; despite it being a mere 2 degrees with a 30 mph north-easterly wind. Sootika had sent me off with a flask of home-made lentil, carrot and leek soup (the latter two being home grown), so I was ready!
I parked at the same spot that we did earlier in the year for Butter’s Tor – just up the road from De Lank Waterworks. Here’s the maps again to help you get to this spot.
Once you’ve parked, walk down the hill keeping the De Lank Waterworks on your left. You’ll hear strange industrial noises coming from here; which actually seems quite eerie on the wild, open moorland that surrounds it.
Follow the road to the end. You’ll come to gate; open or go over, whichever seems best to you. Go down the hill, and you’ll cross a small bridge over the De Lank river. You’ll now follow the lane briefly in an East-South-Easterly direction, going back uphill – after about 60m or so, you’ll see the lane go off ahead of you, with turnings to both left and right. IGNORE BOTH. Go on for about another 40m, and you’ll see a gate in front of you. Go through/over. Now it gets seriously weird, and we come to the Gandalf moment.
DO NOT take the path to the right; the paths to the left and centre are however both do-able. I took the centre one, but I think in hindsight the left is better. There’s a barbed wire fence that you need to be on your right hand side; if you take the centre path, you’ll see a gate that will get you through, but I think the left fork will take you directly onto the open access land.
Once you’re on the right bit of the moor, it’s then an easy trip up to the tor. I kept the wire fence close to me on the right, as the OS map showed a couple of shafts on the northern (Left) part of this moor so I didn’t want to take any chances.
I didn’t expect much from Carkees Tor to be honest; having seen it from a distance, I thought it to be one for completists only – WRONG! Though a relatively easy climb, there are two reasons that make this a must-visit tor; firstly, there are some great outcrops here, and a real feeling of isolation; secondly, the views are amazing. Gaze north-east and Roughtor, Garrow Tor and Brown Willy all dominate the horizon – don’t take my word for it, do it yourself and prepare to go “wow!”
After spending some time on the tor, and then sheltering from the howling wind and drinking my soup, I just retraced my route back.
In sight of the car, I ventured onto Emblance downs, trying to get a look at the Leaze Stone Circle – managed to get a pic of it with my zoom lens, but alas it’s not on open access land.
Back to the car now, with the heaters on full blast and some more soup!