The Sharp Tor Tree is one of my favourite trees. As long as I’ve been to Dartmoor it’s been there, clinging on improbably to a saddle among the clitter in the middle of the tor, where the soil and roots must be just deep enough to hold it in place. Sharp Tor always seems to be in the midst of a gale and the almost horizontal hawthorn bears witness to this. I love it. I check in on it very time I go past. I swear it hasn’t grown in 30 years, but it survives and deserves a bit of respect for that alone.
We usually drive past but today the forecast was shaky and we made a rare stop at Bel Tor Corner and took the easy stroll to the top. We came up the leeward side and as the drizzle started the boys took shelter in a ‘cave’ formed by an overhanging rock. The shower was brief and we came to the top, the boys thrilled by the excitement of a strong wind that they must have thought would sweep them and The Tree away. Showers and sunbursts whizzed past, and not for the first time I was sorry that my camera couldn’t capture it all.
After retreating behind a rock for a well-earned coffee and cake, we crossed the road to take in Yar Tor. It had been a while since I was up there. Again we came up the leeward side of the hill and into a strong wind, and the boys had their first ever experience of sitting in a hilltop cairn to have their lunch. They loved it. What a place to imagine yourselves as heroic explorers, huddled against a winter blizzard, with only one another to rely on for courage. Once in a while they stood up to reassure themselves that the wind was still there and ferocious as ever. the only disappointment was that I had brought coffee instead of hot chocolate.
With another patch of drizzle heading our way we abandoned our mountaintop refuge and headed back to the car via the Penney memorial on Corndon Down. A tremendous adventure.