24/09/2012 - Started from Rough Tor car park on a walk in one of the best places I've been for a while. Bodmin Moor is wonderful. We made our way via the fantastic Showery Tor and it's cairn to Brown Willy. Great summit cairn but the one just south of the top was my favourite. Looped back over Rough Tor with it's brilliant stones and horses grazing just below. I'm not that good with words and I just can't think of enough of them to describe how much I liked this place. A must visit.
Well, if you've got as far as Catshole and still want some hard walking you might as well bag the highest point in Cornwall, Brown Willy.
And from the east side of the fence on Catshole Downs it is pretty easy to get to, if a hard slog. Carry on North, close to the fence / old field wall. Cross into the next field. After 1½ kms a rocky outcrop will be visible on your right. Continue by the fence for 100m and a stile lets you into the field on the east side of Brown Willy. A recognisable (but unmarked) path takes you across the field and straight up Brown Willy to its highest point. This 'path' is just a boggy lumpy track but it is obvious that people / livestock have used it, and its direction straight to the northern cairn on Brown Willy is useful. It's a very steep climb to the top (only about a 75m rise but all steep!). As I made the last step onto the plateau at the top I surprised several sheep that dashed past me. I bet they weren't as knackered as I was!
Even on an intermittently dull and drizzling day like this the views are not surprisingly amazing, across Rough Tor to the north west and Colliford Lake several kilometres south east.
Note - this is very much the unofficial and (probably) much harder route to Brown Willy. I did it this way so I could get Tolborough, Catshole and Brown Willy all in one long walk. The real 'permissive' route seems to be the path on the map that enters Brown Willy from the north, from the Fernacre track (circa SX148797)
28 Nov 2003
Five months since my last trip I am on top of the world again. Little bit colder today but still a good view. It is actually busier today then it was at midsummer. The five telescopic stick waving regatterd up hikers passed by with a quick glance up at the trig point but a big Cornish well done to the three student types (including the one with the wild mohecan) who had traipsed up there from Codda through bog and stream. The fact that we had to tell them where they were isn't important, they did it (I am also going to forgive them for calling us professional ramblers just because my mate had a GPS)
I have reached the top of Cornwall, this is my second time up here, the first being in thick mist about 16 yrs ago. What a difference 16 years makes! The views are fantastic, Morwenstow to the north, Rame Head to the south, Dartmoor to the east and looking in to the wind most of Cornwall to the west. I wonder how many TMA sites can be seen from here?
There are two barrows up here though I would guess the one on the summit is modern in its construction (though many of the stones possibly belong to an older structure) The southern one though looks to be original with a shallow depression in the centre.
My plan to walk back via Loudon Hill has been cancelled as the track from Fernacre looks barren and windswept, I shall return via Butter Tor.
But before that I have a birthday lunch to eat.....with the best view one could ask for.....the wine list please waiter....waiter?
The Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould knew a lot about folklore but I think he made this story up for his novel 'Mrs Curgenven of Curgenven' (1909). It sounds as if it could be based on the discovery of the Rillaton cup. If you look at my notes on that page, you'll see that Mr Grinsell had an inkling he'd made that 'famous folklore' up too. But still, what's folklore anyway. Someone's got to make it up sometime (unless the fairies really do exist..).
Here rises an immense cairn above some ancient Cornish king. Here the dead man lies with a golden goblet in his hand, and he turns his cup from side to side. When he is thirsty, he turns the bowl to the west, and thereupon the wind blows from the ocean and brings up rain that pours through the chinks of his grave and fills the cup. The dead man holds it till full, and then drinks. If his tongue be slaked, he turns the bowl downward and the wind shifts, the clouds disperse, and the sun shines. But he has his thirsty fits full often, and when they are on him rain falls incessantly, and the fire that consumes him seems unquenchable.
Mentioned by Craig Weatherhill, in “Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly” (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000) – “At 420m the summit of Brown Willy (the northern peak) is the highest point in Cornwall. On this northern peak is a Bronze Age stone cairn 25m across and 3.2m high, topped by a recent cairn and the Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar. To the south, half way along the hilltop ridge, is a second cairn 19m in diameter and 1.8m high.”