High Willhays in Dartmoor is the highest mountain in the south west of England. It lies in some high moorland which can be bleak in bad weather…lovely in good.
Dartmoor had always conjured up images of bleak moorland, high tors, deep marshes and swirling mists. In my case it was the Hound of the Baskervilles. However I was pleasantly surprised by a bright winters day with very good walking and some wonderful long distance views. Dartmoor ponies added to the tranquil scene. A party of D of E students nearing the summit had the alternative effect, pleased no doubt to find the correct summit. Yes Tor, which for many years was thought to be the highest point, and has an O/S pillar to ‘prove’ it, was recently demoted in favour of the less spectacular High Willhays.
Once I had found the correct road to Meldon Reservoir the route was very straightforward. I took a slight detour to High Willhays and came back via the more interesting Yes Tour. I settled there for 10 minutes and enjoyed the views over North Devon. There is a warning out for the land to the west of the reservoir as it is now private so I therefore enjoyed an up and down over Longstone Hill. Here there are clear paths, at least in its lower slopes. All in all a very pleasant few hours.
As the army use the section of Dartmoor which includes High Willhays and Yes Tor it is worth checking the free phone number (0800 4584568) to see if it is in use.
Do not head north of High Willhays, it is bleak and featureless.
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