Sunday 3rd October – The Abbots Way

Long, long ago, in the reign of Edgar the Peaceable, the region of Dartmoor was ruled by a great chief named Ordulf, the brother-in-law of the King.

One bright starry night, as Ordulf was standing on top of one of the Tors, he saw a column of fire shining in the valley of the Tavy.  He read this as a sign that he should build a monastery to the glory of God in that particular place.

A Benedictine monastery was founded there, known as Tavistock Abbey.

Between the already established Buckfast Abbey and newly built Tavistock Abbey lay a wide stretch of wild bleak moorland with areas of treacherous bog, high tors and fast flowing streams but across this stretch was a well worn track winding between the tors, fording the streams and skirting the bogs.  This track was the one trodden by the monks on their frequent visits.

After four of his Monks were lost on the moor, rumoured to have been snatched by the Devil, Abbot Walter ordered a number of granite crosses to be erected marking the path between the monasteries.  He also issued a command that every monk journeying along the track should stop at each cross and pray for the peace of the souls of the four who had perished crossing the moor.  To this very day, that track, which can still be followed, is known as The Abbot’s Way.

In 1962 an annual fundraising walk was started and this year was no exception for the Abbots Way Walk. On the day the weather was not dissimilar to that which could have befallen the unfortunate Monks, heavy rain, some mist, hailstorm and high winds, interspersed with occasional sunshine.

A band of brave Torbay Rambling Club Walkers undertook the walk from Buckfast Abbey, ably led by Phil Watson. The early part was quite steep, leaving the Abbey to Cross Furzes, then on to the Avon Dam before the climb to the track running past Red Lake, to Princetown. From there they climbed to North Hessary mast and were grateful of the downward stage, past Merrivale, over Walkham and into Tavistock. The pasties have to be tasted to be believed – enhanced undoubtedly by the efforts of the journey.  They made excellent time and despite the conditions we understand, unlike the not-so-merry Monks –  all returned safely.

Well done!

Many thanks to Phil for his leadership and to Emma for the pictures to mark this achievement on behalf of our Club.

Karen H