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Autumn Walks

CaptureTake a look at this wonderful ‘Walking Map’ to find some great autumn walks in the UK!

kind-of-herbs‘Herbs are used for two purposes:

a. to add a flavour that isn’t there but should have been;

b. to take away a flavour that is there that shouldn’t be.’

William Rushton ‘The Alternative Gardener’ (1986).

David Bryson reviews this book on Amazon and in it he says :

‘It is quite a few years now since Willie Rushton died from a heart attack, aged barely 60. He had been a prominent figure among the British satirists of the 1960’s, appearing on the BBC shows That Was the Week That Was and Not So Much a Programme. He also contributed in a major way to Private Eye in its effervescent early manner, and continued to grace it with occasional cartoons more or less until his death. He was an exceptionally gifted artist, with a distinctive and unmistakable style, and it is a great and sentimental pleasure to find so much of his drawing in this amusing little volume. As a humorist he was quirky, sometimes a little bit mechanical and indeed occasionally downright unintelligible, but at his best very funny indeed, again in his own very personal way. To my own dying day I shall treasure the memory of a cartoon following outrage among the Conservative government in 1964 that Harold Wilson, then leader of the opposition, had stepped in and settled a strike without saying by your leave or with your leave to the government. Rushton depicted an elderly newspaper vendor in a muffler and cloth cap handing a customer the Evening Standard bearing the headline WILSON ACTING AS IF HE IS PRIME MINISTER. To this Rushton’s old newspaper-seller added `More than you could say for some.’

Old School Gardener

Pallet to Bench

pallet garden bench

This looks like a simple and strong creation using wooden pallets – and some other timber?

Old School Gardener

LogoGardenParty2-1My fourth offering from a book I bought in a charity shop recently…..

Rain-making recipes:

1. Get the lawnmower out.

2. Water the garden.

3. Light the barbeque.

4.Throw a garden party.

Dry-up spells:

1. Go abroad for a holiday.

2. Decorate the lounge.

3.Plant out seedlings.

4. Seed the lawn.

lawn seed

From : ‘Mrs. Murphy’s Laws of Gardening’ – Faith Hines (Temple House books, 1992)

Old School Gardener

 

wall plant art

Old School Gardener

My old friend Richard has built himself a great little shed from pallet and other ‘skip wood’. Here it is, along with a picture of his allotment in Bristol. Just shows what you can do with a recycling turn of mind!

Old School Gardener

kale-at-the-chateau-villandry

Kale at the Chateau- Villandry

Pew Tor- an old friend
Pew Tor- an old friend

Our final walk. We returned to an old favourite, Pew Tor, just a short drive from Tavistock. It has a wonderful rock formation, remiding me of a dog’s head (see the picture above). It’s an old favourite because this walk has become bit of an institution in our family. We have done it many times with our children at various times in the past. Perhaps the most memorable occasion was when our, then young, son raced back down the slope with the call ‘running down the mountain, with some shouting!’

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The walk today, another sunny afternoon, was easy. On previous occasions it has been a bit of a puff, but I guess our training on the previous five days was enough to make it a breeze. But this time something else was different. On previous occasions I’d looked around at the views and not known many, if any of the other tors and land in view.

But today, this felt like my space- I don’t know if it was the euphoria of having walked 20 tors in six days, or more the fact that I could look around, name the tors we could see, and more significantly, say we went there on…..

Water action has created a pool in one of the Tor's top stones

Water action has created a pool in one of the Tor’s top stones

We’ll be back- maybe for another 20 of the 160 plus tors, so that we can gradually come to know this wonderful moor even better.

Old School Gardener

 

happy city birds project recycled

Wonderful  ‘Happy City’ for birds!

Old School Gardener

WP_20140905_019

Day five on our Tor Challenge involved heading out towards Princetown once more. Our start point was a small car park near to one of the tors we would be visiting and which is also home to a tall TV mast- north Hessary. A little cloudier than previous days but still dry and warm, so it looked like it was going to be a pleasant afternoon walk. and what’s more, we were aiming to cover 6 tors, which would bring us within reach of a total of 20 for the week.

As we set off we noticed an elderly couple just heading off in the same direction as us – towards Hollow Tor, and from here to the fairly indistinct Rundlestone Tor.

Hollow Tor

Hollow Tor

From there it was short walk long a road to the TV station and tor at north Hessary, the mast of which you can see for miles around, but which despite many years visiting the area I had never got close to. The mast is an impressive, albeit man- made intrusion in the landscape. The tor itself is rather tangled with the mast and surrounding walls and fencing, but is nevertheless and distinctive shape. I also found a small plastic box containing a stamp and notebook (see picture at the head of this article), an effort by a couple of local youngsters to place a ‘post box’ for visitors to leave a message and read those put by earlier visitors. It was a modern-day example of the Dartmoor Post Boxes, I suppose an earlier form of ‘Geocaching':

‘A small pot (the letterbox) containing a stamp and visitors’ book is hidden on the moor, and a clue is written to lead others to its position. Clues may be as simple as a map reference and list of compass bearings, or may be more cryptic.

When a letterbox is found, the letterboxer takes a copy of the stamp, as well as leaving their own personal print in the visitors’ book.

Letterboxing began on Dartmoor but is now popular in areas all over the world.’ (source: Dartmoor letterboxing.org)

Travellers from Muenster, Germany logged into the 'post box' on north Hessary

Travellers from Muenster, Germany logged into the ‘post box’ on north Hessary

Taking a bearing to our next tor, ‘Foggintor’, we set off, but a little wary, because we had a walk guide which suggested that Foggintor was in fact an old quarry and one which you come across suddenly – beware 100 foot drops! We trudged down and then up bracken-strewn valley sides, heading for a group of rocks on the horizon which the bearing suggested was our target. We reached the edge of what looked like an old quarry but somehow the map and what we saw weren’t the same; where were we?

We pressed on thinking the rocks in front were what we were looking for and then looked back – in the distance and to the left of the route we’d taken, was an obvious old quarry with some apparently deep sides. We’d obviously not been accurate in our bearings and missed the quarry (I was sort of relieved, given the look of it). This is a ‘tor no more’, as the quarrying seems to have removed all evidence of the sort of rocks or peak that we’d come to expect.

Foggintor- quarrying has removed the tor?

Foggintor- quarry has removed what was there?

 So, we were actually standing next to our fourth tor target of the walk, Swelltor, also an old quarry, but with a more discernible peak and tor like appearance.

Swelltor- more quarrying

Swelltor- more quarrying

 From here it was a simple, fairly level walk across moor to our final target of the day, King’s Tor, which had some remarkable rock piles- see the pictures below.

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The views from King’s Tor were also good, though a mist lay over the horizon so we couldn’t see as far as had been possible earlier in the week. We looked across the valley to Yellowmeade Farm, which gave us our target for the return walk to the car. This looked to be straight, fairly short walk, but the map and walk guide advised that it would be marshy ground, so wer were prepared for wet feet! But apart from a few soggy areas, the lack of any heavy rain for a week seemed to dry out the peaty conditions underfoot, so it was more a case of hopping form grassy clump to grassy clump than wading through water!

So that was it, we got back to the car only to arrive at the exact moment the elderly coupe we’d seen early did too! They were over for the weekend from Somerset and were looking for letterboxes and had apparently found quite a few.

The day had brought 6 more tors (well nearly if you count our skirting of the tor no more) and we looked forwards to our last day, when we would climb an old favourite and bring our tally up to 20 tors.

Old School Gardener

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