Dartmoor wondering + High Willhays G/DC001

Dartmoor 23/09 to 25/09
Just the one summit of High Willhays to be had and was not actually in the original plan as it was more of a history trip with a side of wilderness radio to be had. First objective was Nack Mine ruins, then on to a recently discovered and unmarked stone circle near Sittaford Tor.
However I did have unfinished busines with High Willhays as my last attemp to operate from the summit ended in me soaked to the skin, cold, zero visibility and a very wet dog!
Friday afternoon and I arrived at Nack Mine. Not a lot to see but there is a fair amount of history on the web about it.
Nack Mine
Then on to Wild Tor for the night picking up water on the way.
Radio set up for the evening

Worked a bit of FT8 and some SSB on 40 and 20. Notably S51DX who’s signal was crashing in as usual and M0ICR Carl.
Evening Operation
Saturday broke and looking out the tent it was misty and light rain. Hmm not good but within an hour it had cleared and bright and sunny.
I made my way to Hangingstone Hill with not a sole to be seen. This was decision point. If I continued to Sittiford Tor and look for the unmarked stone circle I would not make it back to High Willhays. If you have walked this part of the moor you will know its either ankle twisting tusock grass with hidden deep holes or bog so slow soggy work even in summer with few paths and even those on the map a dubious.
Decision made and I turned West to Cranmere Pool leaving the stone circle for another day. High Willhays to finish business there.
Cranmere Pool. Not much to see and no view either as its in a dip but one of the remotest places you can get to in Southern England so worth a soggy trip. Oh and you can sign the book if so inclined.
From there I ambled along not in any hurry and decided on camping Saturday night just short of High Willhays at Dinger Tor picking up more water on the way.
Sunday morning was glorious and I didnt rush to pack up but switched on the radio again making a qso with an OE special event station and listening to some JA’s. After the third cup of tea thought I should really move on, but it was so peacefull and stunning that morning, I just couldn’t or had no reason to rush.
It was a short half hour or so walk up to High Willhays summit and the weather perfect.
The summit was quite busy as there was an event on so I moved away and found a quiet spot but still in the zone. A self spot on 40m 9 calls including M0ICR again and one contact I made after the run dried up.
20m had another 4.
The band were very busy and strong signals from most stations.
Time to retreat as I had about an hours walk back to the car and a three hour drive home.

On the route back is Nine Maidens Stone circle that I had passed by on the failed High Willhays trip last time as I was just to wet and cold to stop.
Its only small but one I had not seen.


Sounds like a suitable training ground for Galloway, if you ever get up to Scotland to activate some summits. Thankfully the ground is quite benign around High Willhays, especially when accessed from the nearest point that you can get a car to. Well done on dealing with what Dartmoor has to offer… my grandson told me about it after he walked the 10 Tors Challenge. :wink:

73, Gerald

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Ahh yes you can take the military road to the summit from the north, but thats easy and not that challenging. Ill be in the Hebrades next month but SOTA will most likely not be possible. More stones to look at and dogs to walk with the XYL.

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Great report Cris with photos too. A great read. Thanks.

Geoff vk3sq

Great report, I used to escape to Dartmoor often when I lived in Plymouth.

I have been walking Dartmoor for around 30 years and find it just as captivating today as when I first went there. Living in the south it is the nearest wilderness area within reach but still a 3 hour drive. I try and get there a coupe of times year but not in the past few years for obvious reasons.


A brilliant report for which many thanks. I’m a member of the Dartmoor Radio Club and we are always after new members! You don’t have to live on Dartmoor to join, we even have members living in Cornwall!

I must confess I tend to use the easy route from the military camp road and hopefully I will manage an activation this winter. It’s our only summit down here with a winter bonus.

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I did try to progress the recording of visiting the 365 miles of Dartmoor

I never new there was a club devoted to Dartmoor. How cool. I’m not good with clubs and have an on and off membership of the RSGB.
Found a few pics of the last time I tried to activate High Willhays. You can’t see the rain or feel the cold but if you’re local you will know. Only used the military road for decent as always come from the south side out of the central high moor on my way back to Belstone.

This was 2013. How time goes by. My dog didn’t come on this trip as he’s getting older like the rest of us!


Wow wonder how many I have visited… Mind you not spent much time on the South Moor.