By: Blonde Two
The Two Blondes have camped at the foot of Brat Tor many times. Year after year, I have watched youngsters set off up it to appear waving at the top but for some reason, until Sunday, I had never walked up myself. I should have done it a long time ago because the views down across the River Lyd to Exmoor proved to be long and beautiful.
It was, however, quite a pull up to the top from the West side (well it was for this Blonde). I challenged myself to get there without stopping and I did, albeit looking a bit silly with my zigzagging across the hill and my tiny steps. In order to prove to myself that I was as fit as a fiddle (rather than as fat as a fiddler), I recited the names of the plants that I passed as I climbed. If you had been there, you would have maybe been a bit puzzled to hear the shout of “Tormentil” as I reached the top but I was relieved that my lungs were still in working order.
Once at the summit (I feel this hill deserves a summit but only if climbed from the West), I was greeted by Widgery’s Cross (nobody likes a cross widgery!) Despite being built out of blocks of granite (a feature which is unique amongst the many other Dartmoor crosses), Widgery’s Cross looks as though it has grown out of the top of the tor. It has, in fact, only been there since 1887 when it was built by Mr Widgery Senior to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. I imagine that she didn’t climb the hill to visit it herself, all those skirts and it is quite windy up there.
As I have mentioned before, by far the best place to gather Dartmoor information is the Legendary Dartmoor website (thanks Tim). More details about Widgery and why he left his cross up at the top of Brat Tor can be found on this page http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/widg_crss.htm