By: Blonde Two
Mr Blonde Two is a vulcanist. By this I don’t mean that he has a passion for aliens with pointy ears and wicked death grips: don’t be silly, Mr Blonde Two is interested in all things volcano related.
Which is why, on Sunday, we took ourselves off to visit Brent Tor on the Western side of Dartmoor. Most of Dartmoor’s tors are granite and have been formed first by intrusion and then by erosion (excellent words). Intrusion is the slow oozing of magma (molten rock) from deep inside the earth up to just under the surface. Erosion refers to the processes which wore away the surrounding softer slate and sandstone. It is a bit more complicated than this but I, being Blonde, am not complicated, so we will go no further. The National Park have an excellent fact sheet that will help if you want to know more http://bit.ly/ZylVKB.
Brent Tor, on the other hand, is not granite and was formed by basaltic (underwater) lavas which exploded on contact with sea water. There are lots of long words which describe the matter that Brent Tor is made of but I will just call it under-water-volcano-stuff. It looks a bit like a normal Dartmoor tor but is much more pointy, has cliffs and has a church on top of it.
You might think that finding a distinctive pointy tor with a church on top would be an easy task for a Blonde who can navigate her way around Dartmoor in the mist and dark. But no, put me in a car without a map and my navigation skills desert me completely. We spent a fair while driving round villages looking for Brent Tor, him concentrating on the ever narrowing lanes and me poking my head out of the top of the car (open top) and yelling “it’s over there now”. Whilst it was lovely to view the tor from all angles before we actually got there, we did nearly run out of petrol and had to pop into Tavistock for more so that we could get home.
Brent Tor, when we eventually got there, turned out to be worth all of the effort. It is as impressive close up as it is from a distance. There is a steep little walk up and then suddenly, you are at the gate of the tiny St Michael de la Rupe church. You can go in and have a look around which was a welcome surprise as the wind on Sunday was truly chilling. There are steep drops all around the church and some really interesting rock formations (does that sound middle aged?) I would recommend a visit and have every intention of returning to enjoy the amazing views when it isn’t so cold.