By: Blonde Two

They (I am not sure who, but they are probably French) say that you can see the Eiffel Tower from every window in Paris.

The North Hessary Tor transmitter stands at 510 metres above sea level and, if Dartmoor was its own wild world, would be the axis around which the moor would spin.

At least it would be if you were a walker. A bit like a right-of-passage, it is the first tor name that we teach our youngsters. In the world of Dartmoor navigation training, if you can’t name North Hessary, you are unlikely to ever be able to make it safely home on your own. You can often hear our Young Leaders asking, “What is that?” of newbies as they point in the Princetown direction.

There is a reason for this; “The Mast” as it is affectionately known, can be seen from a considerable distance in 360 degrees of direction. It is so high that its top often sticks out above the cloud that haunts Princetown and its distinctive red lights have led many a weary traveller home as night creeps across the moor.

Wild campers too, feel reassured by the presence of the red lights as they zip up for the night, home is just over there, if one needed to leave suddenly, one would just need to head for the light.

After a couple of year’s walking across Dartmoor, you come to love “The Mast”. It is a sign of home, an indicator of the end of a long day and a reminder that you aren’t as on your own as you might feel.

Yesterday marked the 60th anniversary of The Mast’s first venture into regular transmission. It deserves to be congratulated. It is functional and serves its purpose, but it is not beautiful. Unless, of course, you are a weary traveller on your way home. Then it can seem the most beautiful thing in the world!