Leaving London an early, dreary Saturday morning I kept an open mind that the clouds would stay centered where they were and as I traveled southwest they might dissipate. My hopes turned to reality; as I neared Exeter the clouds had cleared and the sun was making its way through. With the sun still shining, I made my way to my first round driving on what I know as the passenger side of a car
|My transport in Dartmoor|
One lesson learned: GPSs (or Sat Navs in England) suck for getting around in the country. I should have known better, I'd seen them not work away from urban areas before. But, an extra £20 got me a SatNav that got me to my destination--the lovely little Devon village of Moretonhampton--via the little back windy country roads...there was surely a more direct way.
|The local church in Moretonhampton|
|High Street, Moretonhampton|
Upon arrival and settling I immediately set out to see what I had traveled all this way too see...the vast beauty I was sure the Dartmoor contained. I arrived at the first Tor, undoubtedly the most well known, Hay Tor. Needless to say I was a bit inspired:
I sit by the rocks, out of the moor
With the rushing of the wind
And many grazing sheep.
Blue sky, gray and white, the ceiling
Green grasses, purple and yellow, the floor
I hear the sheep, the birds, never a Hound.
But the jutting rocks and rounded mounds,
Easily tell a different story.
As far as I see, the scene amazes me,
Days of discovery are ahead.
|A scene that inspired|
|A windy day on Dartmoor.|
|Rock formations around Hay Tor|
|"The road in front of us grew bleaker and wilder over huge russet and olive slopes, sprinkled with granite boulders."-description of Dartmoor by Dr. John Watson in The Hound of the Baskervilles.|
|The major formation on Hay Tor. A rock climbers delight.|
The moor continued to be an experience the following days. At Hound Tor the rocks seemed to jut out of the ground from every direction. The wind continued to blow making me wonder why I bothered to brush my hair that morning. I wonder if it ever calms down. I look around and decide to pull out one of the main reasons I came--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes--and read passages from the great Dartmoor adventure, The Hound of the Baskervilles, over 100 years ago. It was then sitting in the place about which he wrote and seeing what he was describing. Every word still describes the moor and it gives Dartmoor a sense of timelessness.
Part 2 to follow...