Friday, 31 May 2013

Oldies Challenge Day - 25th May 2013 - Sponsored with thanks by Skinners Brewery on behalf of the Cornwall Blood Bikes

Well, we did it again! Another year and another challenge completed and this year was one of the toughest!

Above: The Oldies at Rough Tor

So the route was set, we would follow part of the the 'Smuggler's Way' path across Bodmin Moor; a long path that starts in Looe way to the south and ends in Boscastle in the north. It was a route that had been suggested before but because of time constraints (and a residing memory of the stress such an extended walk can do to middle aged people - see 2010 Challenge) it was decided this year to concentrate on the middle section of Smuggler's Route.

The morning part of the route

So we started at Rough Tor and purposely started the walk following the training route we had taken in 2010 in preparation for our first big challenge in that year. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies, minimal cloud cover and a fresh wind. Fortunately, the rain that had covered Cornwall in the previous few days didn't turn the Moor into a bog so the ground surface was firm.

Our navigator - John steered as brilliantly as the day wore on, although I still think his 'shortcut' to the summit of Rough Tor was a mistake. Instead of doing the easy - but long - route he opted for the more direct approach and before we knew it we were climbing amongst the steepest granite boulders!

Despite a few aches and pains that some of us were suffering from (hey, we are 40+  !!!) the summit was reached quickly. For myself, this is one of my favorite spots in Cornwall, the view is staggering.

After a short break and still full of confidence we crossed the wide valley between Rough Tor and Brown Willy. An isolated and wind swept valley our only company at that stage was a lone young deer that appeared lost. There was no way we could do anything about the poor beast and last we saw it the deer was in full sprint along the fence line

Brown Willy was an effort, though not as bad a Rough Tor. Again a rest, and this was where we had to contemplate which way to go. In 2010, we made a mistake and followed the ridge line, getting lost in the boggy valley at the end of the ridge before finding out way up to Catshole Tor.

This time, we found the right path, it dropped steeply into the following valley.

The valley floor reached properly this time, we made our way towards Catshole Tor. Much flatter area of the Moor it gave us a chance to see for miles in either direction. Very few walls and hedges and no buildings or trees, this is part of the Moor rarely visited by most people.

Catshole Tor is a bit of an anti-climax after climbing the preceding two hills but it's still one of the highest points on the Moor. Despite this, the Tor was quickly climbed and passed, leading us onto the last Tor of the morning - Tolborough Tor.

While view from Tolborough was staggering - what was more impressive was the queue on the main A30 road that cuts through Cornwall. A bank holiday weekend, the poor holiday makers were stuck in the long car park in Cornwall!

We were slightly more fortunate, and we walked slowly down towards Bolventor and our lunch at Jamaica Inn.

The afternoon followed this route:

The sun had almost disappeared, meaning a lot of our afternoon photography would be hit and miss. However, we marched on, narrowly avoiding holiday makers going way too fast down the lanes that lead towards Colliford Lake - gotta love them holiday makers!

Passing by the legendary Dozemary Pool, we made our way to probably the most isolated part of the Moor - Browngelly Tor.

It's a shame that so few people visit this part of the moor, for the view were amazing from the top :

From Browngelly we crossed a small piece of land that wasn't public right of way (sorry is you're the land owner - but promise we didn't break anything and all gates were closed safely!)

Our last high point would be Draynes Common, from there it would be downhill all the way....

Golitha Falls was finally reached - and not before time. The Oldies were footsore and tired but upbeat on completing such an unusual challenge in terms of terrain.

Golitha Falls is a beautiful spot in Cornwall and at the end of May the woodland was littered with bluebells (thanks Steve, I mean Spanish Bluebells!)

Met by Neil's wife Cass and friends we finished!

Oldies Challenge Day - 25th May 2013 - Sponsored with thanks by Skinners Brewery on behalf of the Cornwall Blood Bikes

All pictures and content (c) Penair Oldies 1980 - 2013. C.Stocker, J.Brinkhoff, N.Jones, S.Varker.

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