Hey guys, I thought I'd share another local point of interest with you, and I'm going to have a hard time finding anything older to beat it. This is Roughtor, or Rough Tor (pronounced 'rooter'), and its about 7 miles from where I live. Incidentally, 'Tor' is an old Cornish word which means hill, in modern usage it has come to mean a sudden rocky structure jutting out of the landscape because of how it was used to describe ancient hills.
It's the second highest point in Cornwall at 1313ft above sea level, and has a long history of human settlement. The oldest archaeological finds have placed first human activity here at about 2700BC in the early Bronze Age, but other layers of finds have also shown later Iron Age structures and medieval remains.
Roughtor is a part of the Bodmin moor, where the landscape is fairly level all around apart from two giant hills which can be seen from virtually everywhere; Roughtor and Brown Willy. Brown Willy is the highest point in Cornwall approximately one mile distant from Roughtor. Scale is difficult to tell on these shots, but I can assure you the slopes are all quite steep.
If you take a closer look at the slopes of the hill, you can see the remains of substantial oval shaped stone works and walls, archaeologists have dated these to the Iron Age and believe they were used as enclosures to protect livestock.
There are two lakes nearby which have now been expanded and made into reservoirs, and numerous streams cut through the land, which is itself very wet and boggy.
Bodmin moor is one of the few places left in the country which is still common land, anyone can use it for their livestock, and many farmers do. I nearly ploughed into a herd of black bulls that were sleeping on the road late one night while driving through it, and its one of the last places in England to still have wild ponies.
I wish it have shown up better, but every approach is steep due to the nature of the hill, and it took me a long time to get up it, I'm not particularly fit and it kicks my ass every time
As it took me several hours to get up and back down the weather changed a couple of times, which played hell with the light / dark setting on my camera.
I love some of the rock formations around here, they always remind me of Wile E Coyote backgrounds.
This is taken from the lower summit, you can see one of the lakes in the background. There is also a very faint line above the horizon, that's the Atlantic.
On the far side of Roughtor is Brown Willy, the only higher point in the county. Higher, but to me its a bit less interesting.
This is near the summit, there are a couple of plateaus near the top that archaeologists believe would have been walled all around in the bronze age, with lots of evidence of wooden huts built in the middle being found here.
There are several areas where channels and chambers have been cut through the larger rocks with hand tools, most are difficult to reach these days, and I had to do a bit more climbing than a guy of my size should to access this one.
If you go around the corner there is a more gradual rise to the summit, but I used it last time and found it very slippy as the entire area is just wet moss covered rocks. It worried me a little last time so I went for a more direct climb up these rocks, the angle was a bit fierce for me, probably forty degrees... it got me to the top but it didn't feel a whole lot safer.
Near the top, I took this on my last trip up when the weather was a bit better. You can make out a few windmills in this shot. There are a large number of windfarms in Cornwall, and we are approaching the point of being energy independent within England. Some people protest them as eyesores, but I quite like them.
Finally at the top, where there is a war memorial to the 43rd Wessex.
As I sat there, I noticed the way the area was constructed and realised I was in the remains of another (quite well made) ancient room.
I stopped up here to smoke a pipe. Even though this is the first clear day we have had around here for a while, and the site usually attracts a lot of ramblers, it was very quiet today. And the air was merciful and not battering me about like last time, which helped. A very nice view to take in with a pipe.
I tried to take these side by side; while I was smoking I noticed that from the top you can actually see the sea on both sides of the land. In the left you can see a bright point on the horizon where the sun is reflecting off the sea on the south coast, and on the right you can see the Atlantic very faintly above the horizon. If you follow a line up from just above the left edge of the lake you can see a couple of specks of land rising from the water.
I get vertigo, so this is as close as I could get to a picture looking down. The boulders are all pretty much the same size as the ones next to me.
I found the remains of several dwellings on the way back down, the better formed ones are Iron Age, the lines of earth with rocks sticking out are earlier, likely matching the Bronze Age settlements. They are quite noticeable when you look for them.
Well, that's about it. If you made it this far I hope you found the pictures interesting. Oh, and if you want a heart attack and you're not sure a strenuous climb will do it for you, bring a husky, they like to pull you at cliff edges when your guard is down.