SW England tors

Tors and structure

  Tor formation

  Tor model

  Glacial Modification

  Periglacial Modification

Other tors in NE Scotland 





A Cairngorm tor that displays no glacial modification







More commonly, Cairngorm tors show loss of blocks due to glacial entrainment









Elaborately weathered tor from Peninnis, St. Mary's, Scilly Isles, beyond the limit of the last ice sheet


Comparisons with SW England

It is useful to compare the tors of Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, south of the limits of Quaternary glaciation, with those of the Cairngorms. The examples of pinnacle tors above show how delicate the superstructures of the tors of SW England can be. Only a few of the Cairngorm tors retain loose blocks like this: these tors are essentially unmodified by the ice that covered them.

Most Cairngorm tors are more massive features, a contrast that reflects the ability of even cold-based ice masses to move tor blocks.

These tors have lost their superstructure and have been reduced to stumps and even slabs. They represent a late stage in a sequence of progressive glacial modification. Perhaps the only other place in the British Isles where such a sequence can be recognised is the Scilly Isles. Here the northern isles have subdued, rounded forms and were over-ridden at the maximum of the last ice sheet. In contrast, the southern Isles escaped glaciation and show a range finely sculpted and delicate tors (Scourse, 1987).