Vur Tor Sunset

Vur Tor Sunset

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Foggintor and Swelltor Quarries

Today started with a Trip to the city centre for a few essentials ready for this weekends camping with Louise, one gas cylinder, and a pair of Patagonia trail shoes (ready for the Cornish coast path in July) purchased it was time to find something to do to occupy the afternoon that didn't involve the temptation to buy more kit.

After a couple of texts to Mary a plan was made, the moors beckoned and a venture round to check out some climbing spots at Foggin Tor and Swell Tor Quarries, as usual with these trips i have started looking into the history of the places visited.

Stone from Swell Tor quarry was used to rebuild London Bridge in the 1890's and from the end of the 18th century stone had been taken from Foggintor Quarry to be used in the building of much of Princetown. With the advent of the nearby Plymouth - Dartmoor railway 1823 to 1953 ( horse drawn to start with) the famous Dartmoor granite found its way further afield. Foggintor granite was sent all over the country, one notable example being Trafalgar Square, where it provides Nelson with his Column. Foggintor Quarry had a total of seven circular crane bases.

Quarry operations were substantial enough to warrant building not only offices, but also cottages, a day school and chapel, all just beside its canyon-like quarry entrance. Little of them now remain except their ground-plans, one of the last walls of any height belongs to the manager's house.

A bimble out past yellowmead farm lead to Foggin Tor Quarry, the first of the two quarries we wanted to check out for climbing, as we worked our way through the workings, we came across a group already climbing and abseiling on the quarry faces having stopped to watch and look at possible climbing routes we meandered on through the quarry following the sawdust trail left by some hash house harrier runners, which i had to explain to Mary are drinkers with a running habit, rather than runners with a drinking habit. Breaking out from the quarry we dropped down onto the old quarry train track that runs in a weaving route winding round the tors from Princetown towards Yelverton, crossing the track we then headed on off to Swell Tor Quarry with its ruined buildings at it's entrance making it an interesting spot to stop and look round before entering the quarry itself, working our way in between the two narrow faces that lead to the bowl of what appears to be the main quarry face.
Having thought the quarry would offer shelter from the wind we were disappointed to find the wind whistling around in circles within the bowl of the quarry, so a short stop was had before deciding on a short scramble up on of the faces and onto the top before heading back to Foggin Tor Quarry where we skirted the top of the quarry faces checking out the ample offerings for setting up top ropes for climbing, all that was left after this was the short bimble back to the car to pitch the hex and fit the half hex inner and allow me to cut the elastic tie outs to length.
Having pitched the hex and fitted the inner the bathtub looks good tho i think i will add two rigid supports to the front corners as they don't match up with any of the bathtub hanging points on the fly, one other modification is needed to add tension to the back fabric to stop it sagging so much, this probs won't be the most tidiest of jobs but will make for a usable and comfortable half inner, i shall have to work out where my measurements went wrong i have a vague idea, so next time i think a paper model will be used before production to ensure lengths and angles are correct. I was going to take some photo's but will wait till these modifications are completed.

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