Posted 23 July 2018 by Beverley Fuller
Here's a secret: it's one of my favourite day trips in Cornwall. You'll be rewarded with a lovely walk and spectacular views. But it's also an adventure, with a brooding romance that's a complete contrast to the Roseland Peninsula's gentle beaches and wooded coves. Tempted?
I'm talking about Rough Tor (pronounced 'Rowtor'), the second-highest point on the wild expanse that is Bodmin Moor. Brown Willy is the highest, and there is a splendid circular walk that takes in both, but for me Rough Tor has an unrivalled atmosphere. I have walked up it in glorious sunshine and seen its breathtaking views, with light glinting off the historic china clay pits below and the horizon stretching endless miles. I've walked it on overcast days when the atmosphere of its bronze-age settlements and stone circles really draws you in. I've walked it with the wind and rain lashing my face and still loved it, and I've watched, in the distance, a horseback roundup of the sheep and cattle that graze the moor. Magical. I'm embarrassed to say I've even walked Rough Tor in fog, which I strongly advise you not to try. It was drizzling when we set off but the fog descended within minutes. Luckily we had a compass - I wouldn't walk on Bodmin Moor without one, for this very reason: the weather can change in moments, you could get seriously lost and there's a real danger of falling down a disused mine (and you've read Jamaica Inn, I'm sure?!). Bizarrely, my friend's reactorlight spectacles turned completely dark, which didn't help at all. Pick your day carefully!
The easiest access to Rough Tor is from a small car park that gives you a walk of about 1.5 miles to the top. You follow a sheep track, albeit one trodden by many human feet, across open moorland and it isn't especially steep, though the long hill is unrelenting and can be tough. Take it easy, take a picnic and enjoy the views. It's a scenic trip and when you return to your Roseland holiday cottage you'll wonder if it was all a dream.