Tuesday, 13 January 2015


After we made our way back from Porthleven, a bit of a celebration was in order.  We drank a bottle of Kentucky rye I brought along and a nice bottle of wine, and then someone brought out some assorted swill and that disappeared.  I know when to say uncle, and it was when the swill was brought out.  It was a jolly fun time, and it seemed like our elite hikers were also the hard-core parties and we rocked the common room of the youth hostel whilst the rest of the group holed up in their bunks.  Bunks, shmunks...there was a full moon out, I was restless, and a nighthike was in order.

The next day brought rain, and the group leaders was headed to the Eden Project, a huge biosphere with different ecosystems.  It seemed worth a trip, but it wasn't sold to us properly and the area was just ripe with more adventuresome pursuits.  

A couple of those in the ride share were feeling rather...hungover, and we had it in our heads that we were going to head to Dartmoor and hike there instead before resigning ourselves to city life.    

We got to Dartmoor in a gale, so we turned right back around and found a pub that was reputed to have a wonderful sunday roast.  It was a little posh for those in hiking gear, but it did not disappoint, and the fire felt awfully nice since Dartmoor is at a higher elevation and much chillier than it had been all weekend.

Stomachs full of roast game and yorkshire puds, we powered on.

Because of our leisurely lunch, we didn't hit the trail until much later in the day than we originally planned.  Um.  As in, the sun was down.  Damn you winter!  The sun is gone when the clock strikes 4.  Really puts a damper on the day.

We headed for Wistman's woods, one of the last remaining ancient forest in Britannia.

The failing sunlight left an eerie afterglow, and the moors were largely empty.

Except for us.

I'm in a group where I'm the shortest.  How odd.

It was just gorgeous.  I fell in love immediately, more so than I did with Cornwall.  It almost reminded me of Scotland, and it seemed to go on forever.

Dartmoor is special.  Grab yourself an OS map and the land is peppered with bronze-age villages and burial mounds.  It seemed like in days of yore, this was the most desirable real estate in all of Britain.

And Wistman's woods....it was really special.  A grove of ancient oaks, twisted and gnarled and bent in the cold winds.  There was no trail through it, but a rocky scramble once you are in the woods over moss-covered rocks.

We did see a couple of Pagans in there, but other than that....we had this enormous stretch of moor to ourselves.  What, no one wants to be out on the cold moors after dark?

The hike got even more interesting as we hiked up from the woods to a tor- a huge mound of bedrock exposed on the hilltop.

These are all over the park, and provide a good chance for a bit of a rock scramble and shelter from the relentless wind.

Oh!  There are wild ponies all over the moors here.  I didn't get to see one up close on this late hour, but they were there.

The light pretty much gone, we started the trek across the high moor back to the car park.  The eerie sound of grouse calling and the wind being the only sound, and the crunch of heather under our feet.

A stop at the really luxe Rock Inn for coffee and we were ready for the long ride back to London.

Probably the best I could hope for in a weekend full of strangers.


  1. No words can say how much your sharing your amazing moments is appreciated...looks like such an enchanting place ~

    1. It was spooky but lovely! I had been told (mostly by backpackers since it's one of the few places in the South where you can rough camp pretty much anywhere) that it was a really special place.